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Formentera - history | Ibiza Online
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Culture

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HISTORY

Formentera's history begins in the years 1800-1600 BC, as prove the megalithic tomb of "Ca Na Costa” (near Es Pujols) and the remains of Es Cap de Barbaria.

After a period during which the island was uninhabited, some vestiges of the Phoenician, Punic and Roman cultures become witnesses of other populations. The remains of "Can Blai castellum" on the road to La Mola belong to the Roman period. During the Arab occupation there must have been a stable population in Formentera, since there are various  remains of houses, wells and cisterns of that time.

The Arab occupation of the islands ended in 1235, when the Catalan conquest of Ibiza and Formentera by Jaime I took place. The Romanesque Chapel of  "Sa Tanca Vella”, in Sant Francesc Xavier, built in 1336 belongs to this period. During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance Formentera was only occasionally populated by inhabitants of Ibiza.

Thus, the modern history of the island really starts in 1695. This year the Crown donated the island of Formentera to Marc Ferrer, in payment for services rendered. This is how the last and final repopulation of the island began. Some years later, in 1726, the first church in Formentera was erected, dedicated to St. Francisco Javier, built as a fortress in which to shelter from the pirates. The defensive towers of Espalmador Island, Punta Prima, Es Pi des Català, Es Cap de Barbaria and Punta de La Gavina belong to the same period. Already in the 19th century the churches of El Pilar, La Mola and San Fernando were built. Over time some small hamlets started to emerge around the church although most of the population remained scattered in small cottages.

It is in the second half of the 20th  century and especially in the 60s and 70s that the tourist industry begins to develop in Formentera. Parallel to the burgeoning tourist industry, in the late 60's the hippy movement flourished in Formentera, a fact which has deeply influenced the character of the island. Bob Dylan, King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Kevin Ayers, Chris Rea ...they all visited Formentera, a place which has always attracted many artists who find inspiration for their creative work on the island.

Formentera, over the years, has kept its balance between a developed tourist industry and a personality distinct from that of Ibiza, an atmosphere of relaxation and tranquillity based on small family businesses.

ARCHAEOLOGY
Formentera’s oldest archaeological remains date back to the megalithic era. Between 1800-1600 B.C. the island was populated by people probably coming from the Spanish mainland. The megalithic tomb of "Ca Na Costa” (near Es Pujols) and the remains of Es Cap de Barbaria.

Many remains from the Phoenician, Punic, Roman and Arabic cultures have been found and are exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of Ibiza. In Formentera you can visit the "Castellum" Can Blai, unfinished building from the 5th  century A.D.