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Menorca: geography and history

by Santiago Fabré de Balanzó

   Menorca is an island, situated in the Mediterranean Sea. It is the most northern of the Balearic Islands. Its superficies are about 702 km². It has the form of a parallelogram, which is stretched from east to west. It consists out of a flat and stony geography and is formed of chalky grounds in grand parts, which originate from the Miocene epoch. In the center of the island, there stands out a small mountain: the mountain Toro (el “Al-tour”, “the height” for the Arab s) with only 350m of height.

   The geography of the territory was formed during the times of Kaenozoiko: the rainwater built deep and narrow gorges, which formed bays by reaching the sea. In some coast areas, there were built, due to the pressure of the tectonic slabs and the composition of the grounds, high bluffs or wide and flat zones, which transformed into beaches and lagoons with time.

   Menorca has a mild Mediterranean climate: with mild and humid winters and warm and dry summers. The average temperature changes between 14 and 23 ºC. The measurement of rainfall reaches 650mm per year. During some weeks in the winter, the north wind is blowing, the Tramuntana, cold and dry.

   The history of Menorca participates on the historical changes, which happened in the middle age. In the prehistoric epoch, the first population formed small tribes, which built the talaito culture. This culture is characterized by the construction of big cyclopedia structures. In the second century before Christ, Quinto Cecilio Metelo conquered the island. Earlier, there have been many invasions of Teutons and Vikings, which did not leave big signs. During the middle Ages, the Islam has played the leading role on the island, until, in the 13th century, it was conquered by the Catalan-Aragon crown by Alfonso III. The Spanish reign was interrupted in 1714 while given to the British crown due to the convent of Utrecht. During the 18th century, there were following reigns by the British, the French and the Spanish until, in 1802, the Spanish crown could convince with the convent of Paz de Amiens de 1802.

   Nowadays, Menorca enjoys the council, which is leading his destinations within the general Balearic community.

   To deepen in this topic, I recommend you the following bibliography:
   Ravella, Josep Maria (2000): „Atles de les Illes Balears“ Edicion, 62;
   Rayo i Ferrer, Miquel (2008): „Baleares“ Guide;
    AA.VV.(2006): “Historia de las Islas Baleares” (20 tomos). El Mundo-El Día de Baleares.

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