Balearic Islands

The Balearic Islands are an archipelago of Spain in the western Mediterranean Sea, near the eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula. The four largest islands are: Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza and Formentera. The archipelago forms an autonomous community and a province of Spain, with Palma as the capital. The co-official languages in the Balearic Islands are Catalan and Spanish.The official name of the Balearic Islands in Catalan is Illes Balears, while in Spanish they are known as the Islas Baleares.


Little is recorded on the earliest inhabitants of the islands, though many legends exist. The story, preserved by Lycophron, that certain shipwrecked Boeotians were cast nude on the islands, was evidently invented to account for the name Gymnesiae. There is also a tradition that the islands were colonized by Rhodes after the Trojan War.

The islands had a very mixed population, of whose habits several strange stories are told. In some stories, it is said that the people went naked or were clad only in sheep-skins — whence the name of the islands (an instance of folk etymology) – until the Phoenicians clothed them with broad-bordered tunics. In other stories, they were naked only in the heat of summer.