Beautiful Africa

Minorca

Minorca or Menorca (Catalan: Menorca [mn?rk?]; Spanish: Menorca [me?norka]; from Latin: Insula Minor, later Minorica "minor island") is one of the Balearic Islands located in the Mediterranean Sea belonging to Spain. It takes its name from being smaller than the nearby island of Majorca. Minorca has a population of approximately 94,383 (2010). It is located 3947' to 4000'N, 352' to 424'E. Its highest point, called El Toro or Monte Toro, is 358 m/1,174 ft above sea level. The island is known for its collection of megalithic stone monuments: navetes, taules and talaiots, which speak of a very early prehistoric human activity. Some of the earliest culture on Minorca was influenced by other Mediterranean cultures, including the Greek Minoans of ancient Crete (see also Gymnesian Islands). For example the use of inverted plastered timber columns at Knossos is thought to have influenced early peoples of Minorca in imitating this practice.[1] The end of the Punic wars saw an increase in piracy in the western Mediterranean. The Roman occupation of Hispania had meant a growth of maritime trade between the Iberian and Italian peninsulas. Pirates took advantage of the strategic location of the Balearic Islands to raid Roman commerce, using both Minorca and Majorca as bases. In reaction to this, the Romans invaded Minorca. By 121 BC both islands were fully under Roman control, later being incorporated into the province of Hispania Citerior. In 13 BC Roman emperor Augustus reorganised the provincial system and the Balearic Islands became part of the Tarraconensis imperial province. The ancient town of Mago was transformed from a Carthaginian town to a Roman town. The island had a large Jewish population.[3] The Letter on the Conversion of the Jews by a 5th century bishop named Severus tells of the conversion of the island's Jewish community in AD 418. Several Jews, including Theodore, a rich representative Jew who stood high in the estimation of his coreligionists and of Christians alike, underwent baptism. The act of conversion brought about, within a previously peaceful coexist

ng community, the expulsion of the ruling Jewish elite into the bleak hinterlands, the burning of synagogues, and the gradual reinstatement of certain Jewish families after the forced acceptance of Christianity and its supremacy and rule in order to allow survival for those who had not already perished.[3] Many Jews remained within the Jewish faith while outwardly professing Christian faith. Some of these Jews form part of the Xueta community. When Minorca became a British possession in 1713, the British willingly proffered an asylum to thousands of Jews from African cities.[citation needed] A synagogue was soon erected in Mahon. [edit]Middle Ages The Vandals easily conquered the island in the 5th century. The Byzantine Empire recovered it in 534. Following the Moorish conquest of peninsular Spain, Minorca was annexed to the Caliphate of Cordoba in 903 and given the Arabicized name of Manurqa, with many Moors emigrating to the island. In 1231, after Christian forces reconquered Majorca, Minorca chose to become an independent Islamic state, albeit one tributary to King James I of Aragon. The island was ruled first by Abu 'Uthman Sa'id Hakam al Qurashi (12341282), and following his death by his son, Abu 'Umar ibn Sa'id (12821287). An Aragonese invasion, led by Alfonso III, came on 17 January 1287; its anniversary is now celebrated as Minorca's national day. Some of the Muslim inhabitants of the island were enslaved and sold in the slave markets of Ibiza, Valencia and Barcelona, while others became Christians. Until 1344 the island was part of the Kingdom of Majorca, a vassal state of the Crown of Aragon. Aragon subsequently annexed the kingdom and was then absorbed itself into the unified Spanish crown. During the 16th century, Turkish naval attacks destroyed Mahon, and the then capital, Ciutadella, before Turkish settlement took place on some of the island. In Mahon, Barbary pirates from North Africa took considerable booty and as many as 6,000 slaves.[4] Various Spanish kings, including Philip III and Philip IV, styled themselves "King of Minorca" as a subsidiary title.