ibiza island | historical
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ibiza island | historical

Ibiza island - Historical

Ibiza, how it all began

They were Phoenicians in 654 BC, who founded a port in the Balearic Islands, by the name of 'Ibossim' (dedicated to Bes, one ancient Egyptian deity, first worshiped as protector of households, mothers, children and birth and later as defender of all that is good and enemy of all bad), later known to the Romans as "Ebusus" and to the Ethiopians as "Yebisah" and now widely known as Ibiza.
The name Pityusen, for Ibiza and Formentera, comes from the Greek, which called the two islands 'Pityűssai' called, Greek for "pine-covered islands".

The cave of Es Cuieram contains a sanctuary where in those days sacrifices were offered to Tanit, a Punic and Phoenician goddess, and main deity of Roman Carthage, beside her husband supreme god Ba`al Hammon.

The Phoenicians build cemeteries on the island for their dead and at Ses Salinas, the salt production was realized, Ibiza's former main commercial product, the white gold, or salt, together with the production of garum (fish sauce), wool and an important dye for those days, Ibiza quickly grew into an important trading post for ships on the Mediterranean.
With the invasion of Assyrian troops the Phoenician domination crashed and Ibiza came under the rule of Carthage, formerly a colony of Phoenicia, and the island  fortified its Balearic market position even further, by supplying mercenaries to Carthage, the widely acclaimed effective, Balearic stone slingers.
The island preserved excellent examples of this late Carthaginian-Punic civilization in its territory.

Later in history of Ibiza was dominated successively by the Romans, Visigoths and Muslims.
After domination consecutively by the Romans (which terminated Ibiza's important position in the Mediterranean), the Vandals and Byzantines, the island was conquered by the Moors in 990, and the last remaining islanders converted to the Islam.
The Muslims left an important and recognizable imprint on the distinctive architecture and the traditional costumes of the island, but were driven out during the Christian reconquest  in the 13th century where the islands became Catalan colonies and lost their importance for the region.

In 1110 Ibiza was invaded by the Norwegians, on crusade to Jerusalem, in an attempt to undermine the Islam, and in 1235 the then king of Aragon ended the Moorish domination, deported the last Muslims, and brought the island back under Christian rule.

In the 16th century, Ibiza was frequently attacked by pirates and because Spain did not act against that at the time, the islanders in return took control by scouring the waters themselves as pirates to protect the islanders against attacks by other pirates in this way. 

Until 1715 Ibiza had its own administrative law, which was terminated by King Philip V of Spain's abolition of the autonomy of local government.
For most of the 18th century, Ibiza was, under the control of the Spanish Bourbon monarchy.

It was only in 1976, with the death of Franco when the Franco dictatorship in Spain turned back in a parliamentary democracy, the Statute of Autonomy of the Balearic Islands was   established.

Find out all about the repression and the violent past of Ibiza:

World Heritage

Throughout the island of Ibiza you can find, the mostly, well-preserved archaeological remains of various civilizations that inhabited the island.
Because of its biological diversity and culture, large parts of the island of Ibiza, were declared culture and natural heritage site by UNESCO on December 14th, 1999, and are now protected in national parks and marine reserves.
Such as the fortified upper town Dalt Vila as a prime example of the military Renaissance architecture, the first Phoenician settlement in Sa Caleta and the necropolis at Puig des Molins, the oldest (Moorish or Phoenician?) settlement in Balafia, the Moorish irrigation system in Ses Feixes, and the Posidonia Oceanica, an important native seagrass species that is only found in the Ses Salinas Nature Park, located in the strait between the salt fields of Ibiza and Formentera.
Some of the once 180 windmills in Ibiza, have been restored, and that also goes for the defense and watchtowers that were part of Ibiza's effective defense system against pirates and enemy raids.
The charming white churches of the island have been restored to their former glory and form a stunning backdrop for wedding photos, video or film and are a nice destination for a day of touring.
The once life-providing water springs and wells were built under Arab and Roman architecture, but still today have a traditional meaning for the locals, who gather there at special occasions and celebrations, to dance their traditonal 'Ball Pagés', the folk dance of Ibiza.

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