How Did the Balearic Islands Get Their Name?

The ancient Greeks used to call the islands of Mallorca and Menorca the Balyares Islands, while the islands of Ibiza and Formentera were known as Pityusic Islands. According to historians, the Romans finally named the cluster of these and outlined islands as the Balearic Islands.

The Balearic Islands archipelago is a cluster of islands off the eastern coast of Spain. They’re located in the Mediterranean Sea and have been around for many centuries. They’re gorgeous and carry a mix of many cultures and histories.

When it comes to tourism in the Balearic Islands, many history buffs visit these parts of the world due to their historical significance in the Mediterranean. So, if you’re thinking about how the Balearic Islands got their name and what’s their history, you’re in the right place.

In this article, I will talk about the Balearic Islands, their history, the Spanish grip on the Balearic Islands and surrounding areas, and how the Balearic Islands got their current name. 

So, without wasting any time, let’s get started with this guide. 

How Did the Balearic Islands Get Their Name?

History of the Balearic Islands

Formed by a geological uplift, the Balearic Islands have been in existence for more than a few thousand years. Many civilizations have left their mark on the islands. With a rich history going as far back as the Tayalotic people and their stone towers, the Balearic Islands have changed governance quite a few times.

The earliest recorded history of events relating to the Balearic Islands tells that they were conquered by the Roman empire in the year 123. For a long time, they remained under Roman authority; however, after the fall of the Roman empire, they were taken over by the Vandals in the year 526 for the first time.

After that, the Balearic Islands then were taken over by the Byzantines in the 530s. The entirety of the Balearic Islands was occupied by the Muslim empire till 903. After that, the Muslims governed the lands for quite a while.

In fact, James I of Aragon conquered the Balearic Islands against the Muslims around 300 years later, between 1229 and 1235, when the islands of Mallorca and Ibiza were taken over. After that came the declaration of the Balearic Islands as an autonomous kingdom in 1298.

The Balearic Islands rejoined Aragon in 1349. They stayed a vital part of Aragon for quite a long time until the British captured Mao in 1708, and the combined treaties of Utrecht ceded Menorca to the British in 1713. The Islands remained under British jurisdiction until 1833.

So, when it comes to history, the Balearic Islands have been conquered several times by many empires and now are an autonomous part of the Spanish lands. Now, people can freely come and go from there and witness the splendid beauty of the history and the different architectural flavors left by varying captors from around the world in awe.

When Did Spain Get the Balearic Islands?

The Balearic Islands became an integral part of Spain in the year 1349, when they were completely under Spanish control. However, they were then conquered by the British but eventually came back into the hands of Spanish control.

The Balearic Islands were established as a Spanish province in the year 1833. This solidified the inclusion of the Balearic Islands into the vicinity of the Spanish lands as a part of it.

However, even then, the Balearic Islands weren’t considered an autonomous part of the country of Spain. In fact, in the late 19th century, a regionalist movement was initiated but failed to achieve any success at all.

Ultimately, a statute of the autonomy of the Balearic Islands was proposed in the year 1931, but it wasn’t approved until 1983. Finally, in that year, the Balearic Islands became an autonomous region of Spain, and to this date, it is considered an autonomous part of Spain where tons of tourists come every year and have the time of their lives.

What Did the Romans Call the Balearic Islands?

In the time of the Roman acquisition of the Balearic Islands region, the Romans used to call the currently known as the Balearic Islands “Hispania Balearica.” This was considered a province of the Roman empire encapsulating the Balearic Islands off the coast of eastern Spain.

The main reason for the Roman acquisition of the Balearic Islands region was that the Islands were infiltrated by pirates that were escaping and fleeing from the Roman empire in Transalpine Gaul in 126 and Sardinia in 125 BC. The Islands were the last places for them to hide in the Mediterranean Sea.

When the Roman empire came to know of the location of their enemies, and they realized the immense riches and economic benefit lying within the cluster of the Balearic Islands, the Romans decided to conquer the Balearic Islands and succeeded in doing so.

To conserve all the economic resources of the Islands, over 3000 Romans were placed on major islands of the Balearic region, and the Romans ended up taking up most of the islands’ resources before the Roman empire fell to the Vandals in this region.

Now, all the impressive historical monuments you see and the amazing tourist attractions you can witness in the Balearic Islands are the fruits of the labor of all the conquering countries and settlers. So, as tourists, all you need to think about is having a great time there since there are no conquests scheduled any time soon.


The Roman and Spanish history of the Balearic Islands is incredibly rich and worth learning about. As amazing as the name of the Balearics is, the tourism experience and attractions are just as good, so planning a visit isn’t going to hurt you at all.

Want to know how the weather is on the Balearic Islands? Check this article: Balearic Islands Weather – When to Visit!

Grabbing your friends and family and visiting the Balearic Islands is the perfect decision for your next vacation. I hope you learned a lot from this article and that you’re going to have a wonderful stay when you’re there.

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