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History

History

The interaction between humans and nature over centuries has written the history of this area, which mixes culture, traditions, aesthetics, spirituality and identity.

The first human settlement of the area dates from the Archaic period (4800 B.C), when we find the first signs of human life in the cave of Son Matge. Around 2200 B.C. was when the first pre-talayotic settlements appeared (Son Matge, Son Gallart, Son Olesa and Son Mas). These were human groups that lived in caves and rudimentary constructions and they knew about agriculture and livestock farming. Around 1300 B.C. the Talayotic settlements of Son Matge, Son Olesa-Son Ferrandell and Son Mas were settled.

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In 700 B.C. sailors from the eastern Mediterranean arrived in search of new trading routes. First there were the Greeks, and then the Phoenicians for 350 years, and later on the Carthaginians, interested in extracting salt and reddish earth.  When the Carthaginians clashed with the Romans over dominion of the western Mediterranean, the famous Punic Wars broke out, in which Rome ultimately defeated Carthage.

In 123 B.C.., Quintus Caecilius Metellus conquered the Balearic Islands and founded important port cities for sea trading, Palma and Pollentia being the most important ones.

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The 4th century, witnessed the start of the decline of the Roman Empire, and raids by Vandals, Byzantines, Visigoths, Muslims and Normans.

In 902, the Balearic Islands were integrated into the Emirate, and subsequently, the Caliphate of Córdoba. The Arabs, great experts in agriculture and water management, built a complex system of hydrological engineering, and reorganised the territory into family clans which led to new names for the conquered lands.

The 10th century, saw the establishment of the farmstead of the Mosque, the current municipality of Valldemossa. This place was named Wadi Muza, or the valley of Musuh, lord of these fertile lands. With the Christian conquest of 1229 of the Balearic Islands by James I, this place name was maintained and this is accredited in the El Llibre de Repartiment. So, the farmstead of valley of Mussa, is the name that would later derive into the current Valldemossa.

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Between 1276-1349 the Kingdom of Mallorca, was created with James II as the reigning king. Then, Alfonso the Liberal incorporated Mallorca into the Aragonese crown. In 1298, James II of Aragon returned the inland estates of Mallorca to his uncle, but the kingdom disappeared between 1343 and 1349.

In 1309 James II commissioned the construction of the Royal Palace (which was given the name of his son Sancho) and later the Casas del Teix, as his hunting residence. In 1276 Ramon Llull, who as a young man had worked as a majordomo in the court of James II, founded in Miramar the school of oriental languages for missionaries.

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In 1399 the King of Aragón, Martin the Humane, donated the Palace of King Sancho to the order of San Bruno in order to found the Charterhouse of Jesus of Nazareth. The church was consecrated in 1446.

In 1474 the marriage of the Catholic Monarchs took place: Isabella I Queen of Castile and Fernando II King of Aragon. Bad harvests and successive epidemics (1402-1443-1467-1475-1497) and royal taxes (1450-53) caused hunger and a drop to five hundred inhabitants.

In 1450 the Gutenberg press was invented. In 1485, just 35 years afterwards, Bartomeu Caldentei started up Mallorca´s first printing press in Miramar. The Guasp printing press was used to publish books by Bartomeu Caldentei, an artist mechanic in the town of Valldemossa. On the other hand, new sea routes were opened up following the discovery of America in 1492. The Mediterranean Sea stops being the epicentre of trading routes.

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Between 1521-1523 there was a revolt between artisans and country peasants in order to eliminate tax pressure, the Revolt of the Brotherhoods.

On 1 May 1531, Saint Catalina Thomàs was born in Valldemossa, she was beatified on 3 August 1892 and canonized on 22 June 1930. At the age of 21, following the early death of her parents, she entered the convent of Santa Magdalena de Palma as a cloistered Augustine nun.

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In the 16th century there were constant pirate raids and watchtowers or coastal surveillance towers were erected and monks had to fortify the monastery with towers; Torre dels Hostes (1555) and the Torre de l’Obediència (1553) date from that century, and they were built to shelter residents in the event of new pirate raids. It was a difficult century marked by droughts; the Revolt of the Brotherhoods, the plague and contributions to the war in order to preserve the empire of the bellicose King Charles I. The number of land sales increased, with them passing into the hands of lords from the capital and thus consolidating the organisation and working of the land on large estates (possessions).

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In the 17th centuryBaroque prevailed as an architectural and artistic style. A bubonic plague epidemic unbalanced the demographic. The Inquisition organized several acts of faith and rival family clans would hire groups of bandits that hid out in the mountains in order to carry out acts of revenge for them.

In the 18th century Valldemossa had a population of 1200 inhabitants. The War of the Spanish Succession took place between 1701-1715 and ended with victory for Phillip V. In 1715 the Nueva Planta Decree was enacted, eliminating secular institutions from the kingdom of Mallorca.

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In 1801 Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos was exiled in the Charterhouse. The former minister of Charles IV was deported to Mallorca for political motives, and during his stay there (1801-1803), he wrote the work Treatise on Public Education.

In 1833 the province of the Balearic Islands was created.

1835 saw the expulsion of the Carthusians as a result of the disentailment Law of the minister Mendizábal. The property passed into private ownership. In 1835, Eliseu Canut purchased the monastery and rented the rooms, where Chopin and George Sand stayed in the winter of 1838-1839.

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In 1867 the Archduke Ludwig Salvator of Austria arrived in this region, he purchased a large number of estates between Valldemossa and Deià, and built an extensive network of paths and viewpoints. The Archduke created studies, drawings and writings about the islands, such as Die Balearen.

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Industrialisation reached the agriculture, fabric and footwear sectors. The worker’s movement was organised during the Six Revolutionary Years (1868-74), a period that began with the overthrow of the Monarchy of Isabella II. Bourbon Restoration in 1875 and despotism. At the end of the 19th century, landownership caused economic stagnation and the population had no other choice but to emigrate.

In 1905 the Fomento del Turismo de Mallorca (Board for Encouraging Tourism in Mallorca) was created. In 1931 the 2nd Spanish Republic was proclaimed, and lasted until 1939, the end of the Civil War, which resulted in the Francoist regime (1939-1975).

During the 20th century Valldemossa was modernised, the urban layout was extended and a new road was opened, connecting the town with the city of Palma. The myth of picturesque Valldemossa grew. The intense light and the beauty of the landscapes and the town, helped to attract a large number of poets and writers, including Santiago Rusiñol, Miguel de Unamuno, Rubén Darío, Azorín, the politician Antoni Maura, and painters such as Coll Bardolet, Eliseu Meinfren, Joan Fuster, Zupan, Burwitz, Carlos Mogueria, Torcigliani. Many of these creators stayed at “Hotel del Artista”, run by the Estarás family. It was here that the Parado de Valldemossa was formed in 1925, founded by Bartomeu Estarás, the hotel owner. During the 50s the musical group Los Valldemossa, was established, which helped to stimulate the recovery of Mallorcan folk dancing.

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The 50s and 60s were the years of the tourism boom. In 1975 Franco died, democracy was restored and in 1978 the Spanish constitution was passed. In 1983 the Autonomous Statute of the Balearic Islands was passed.

At present, Valldemossa is a modern municipality and an important benchmark in terms of tourism, the environment and culture which continues to attract tourists and celebrities from all over the world.