Menorca National Day Date in the current year: January 17, 2024

Menorca National Day The Spanish island of Menorca, which belongs to the archipelago of the Balearic Islands and the autonomous community of the same name, celebrates its national holiday on January 17. Menorca National Day was established to commemorate the conquest of the island by King Alfonso III of Aragon in 1287.

The Balearic Islands are located in the western Mediterranean Sea; they form an autonomous community and a province of Spain. The archipelago was conquered by the Phoenicians in ancient times. The Romans took possession of the islands in 123 BC, the Vandals in the 5th century AD, and the Byzantine Empire about a century later.

Starting from the 8th century, the Balearic Islands were nominally under the rule of both the Byzantine Empire and the Umayyad Caliphate, but they enjoyed a high degree of autonomy and were de facto independent. In 902, the archipelago was conquered by the Emirate of Cordoba, later transformed into the Caliphate of Cordoba. However, the caliphate disintegrated during a civil war in the early 11th century, fracturing into a number of independent Muslim principalities called the taifas.

For the next century, sailors and pirates from the Balearic Islands dominated the western Mediterranean. Meanwhile, on the continent Christian influence was growing. In 1114, crusaders launched an expedition to the Balearic Islands. They conquered most of the archipelago and destroyed pirate bases, but failed to retain control of the islands. Mere months later, the Balearic Islands were captured by the Almoravids.

The Reconquista (Christian reconquest) of the archipelago began in the early 13th century. On the last day of 1229, King James I of Aragon captured Palma (the largest city of Mallorca), and the rest of the island quickly followed. In 1231, James I founded the Kingdom of Majorca. Unlike Mallorca, Menorca remained an independent Islamic state, albeit one tributary to Aragon. It was ruled by Abû ‘Uthman Sa’îd ibn Hakam al Qurashi from 1234 until his death in 1282 and then by his son Abû 'Umar ibn Sa'îd from 1282 to 1287.

In 1285, James I’s grandson assumed the throne of Aragon as King Alfonso III. To cement his power, he decided to reconquer the Balearic Islands, which had been lost due to the division of Aragon between the sons of James I following his death. Alfonso III declared war on his uncle, James II of Majorca, and reconquered Majorca in 1285, Ibiza in 1286, and Menorca in 1287. The anniversary of Alfonso III’s reconquest of Menorca, January 17, is now celebrated as the national day of Menorca.

In 1469, King Ferdinand II of Aragon married Queen Isabella I of Castile, which led to the merger of Aragon and Castile and the de facto unification of Spain. As a result, Menorca and the rest of the Balearic Islands became part of Spain. When the 1978 Spanish Constitution came into effect, the archipelago became an autonomous community of Spain.

Menorca National Day is widely celebrated across the island, but it isn’t a public holiday in the autonomous community of the Balearic Islands.

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Menorca National Day, national day of Menorca, holidays in Spain, holidays in the Balearic Islands, reconquest of Menorca