The island of Cabrera in Majorca
|From 1916 the island of Cabrera belonged to the Spanish Ministry of War, and was sometimes used as a field of action, but the military presence has avoided Cabrera to be overrun by tourists and helped preserve its unique ecosystem.
Since 1991, the Cabrera archipelago became a National Park land and sea, unbuildable, Cabrera Island is the smallest inhabited island of the Balearic Islands and has only a residual population and a small military garrison. You need a permission from the military authorities to stay beyond one day.
|Etymology and toponymy
|The name of Cabrera ("goatherd") comes from the large population of goats who lived there since the ancient times. The Romans called themselves the "Capraia", the same name as the island of Capri in the Bay of Naples in Italy island. The goat population was removed from the island in the twentieth century because goats prevented the development of any vegetation, grazing seedlings.
|The Cabrera archipelago is separated from Mallorca by the channel of Cabrera, 5 nautical miles offshore. Cabrera Island is located about 16 km south-east of Mallorca, the Cape of Ses Salines.
However Cabrera belongs to the municipality of Palma distance of about 50 km. Cabrera long depended on the Holy Cross parish in the district of St. Catherine (Santa Catalina), the fishing district of Palma.
The port of Cabrera is about twenty kilometers (10 nautical miles) from the port of Colónia de Sant Jordi, the nearest port that serves the archipelago.
Contact Port of Cabrera: latitude 39° 08’ 43” N, longitude 2° 56’ 13” E
|The island of Cabrera
|Cabrera Island is the largest of the nineteen islands and islets that make up the archipelago of Cabrera and has a length of 5.53 km in the north-south direction from Cap Ventós, northeast until the Punta de n’Ensiola, southwest and has a maximum width of 5.29 km in the east-west direction, from the Cap de Llebeig, northwest to Cape of Imperialet, southeast. Its area is 15.69 km², and the length of its coastline is 38.3 km. Cabrera is the fifth largest island of the Balearic Islands (after Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera) and the largest uninhabited island in the Mediterranean.
This coast is highly indented, so the coast of Cabrera represents 3% of the coastline of the Balearic Islands, while its area is only 0.2% of the area of the Balearic Islands. This coastline has beautiful cliffs, impressive headlands, coastal rocks, deep coves, several caves of great beauty and sandy beaches as the three public beaches of the Bay Port (Sa Platgeta, Platga Es Pagès and S’Empalmador), where you can sometimes cross the Spanish royal family.
|The territory of the island is quite flat but with three parallel chains of hills that stand in the island in the north-west / south-east, and separate deep creeks:
- the first of these chains is strongest: it starts at the Cap de Llebeig at the northwest end of Cabrera, and ends at the island of the Imperial at the south-east. This chain has the highest hills of the island, with Na Picamosques (172 m), and Penyal Blanc ("White Rock") (161 m). South-west of this chain is the Serra de Figueres, which ends by towering cliffs in the region of Na Picamosques and Red Cap (Cap Vermell / Cabo Rojo) in the extreme southwest tip is Punta Enciola and the lighthouse, with cliffs 99 m high at the southern end the string ends with the island S’Estell de Fora. On the north-east of the chain are only slightly fertile land Cabrera, known under the names of "Sa Vinya" and "ses quatre quarterades". Northwest, the first string is separated from the second chain’s Cove port of Cabrera.
- the second line of hills began to Punta des Revellar, northwest and ends at Punta des Codolar and the Illa de ses Bledes, southeast. Its hills are smaller in height than the first chain, peaking as Na Bella Miranda (158 m). At the northwest end of this chain of hills is the imposing castle of Cabrera. Northwest this second chain is separated from the third one by the deep cove Cala Santa Maria - where is located the famous Cova Blava ("Blue Cave") and southeast by the creek of L’Olla (the " pot ").
- the third of these chains of hills begins in Cap Morobutí at the north end of the island, and ends at Cap Ventós (the "Cape of the Winds"), at the east end. It is the smallest of the three alignments, but it still reaches impressive heights near Cap Ventós, with an altitude of about 150 meters, and cliffs 120 meters high.
Many hiking trails allow you to discover the landscape, including the Castle of Cabrera, one of the flagship or who joined the cave Cova Blanca. The ecosystem is extremely fragile, some of these paths need to be accompanied by a guide or seek permission from the authorities of the park, such as paths to the lighthouse of N’Enciola (4 hours walk) the southern part of the Serra de Ses Figueres (2½ hours) or the highest point of the island, the Picamosques (3 hours).
|The Port of Cabrera
|The island of Cabrera and the large islands of the archipelago of Cabrera were visited by the great Mediterranean civilizations: Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans and Byzantines.
Sailing, subject to the vagaries of currents and winds, was largely limited to a series of specific roads. Some of these roads passed very near the archipelago of Cabrera were among the busiest in older browsers. It was the first sea route since the strait separating Sicily from Carthage, passed through the south of Sardinia and the southern Balearic Islands and along the south of the Iberian Peninsula, was to Strait of Gibraltar. Another shipping route east-west which was very important, leaving the Italian peninsula, passed through the Straits of Bonifacio, then back to the south of the Balearic Islands to the south of the Iberian Peninsula, reaching Gibraltar. This second route could be borrowed in reverse. Therefore, when sailors passed south of the Balearic Islands, all islands of the archipelago of Cabrera was an excellent reference point for navigation. In addition, on some north-south or south-north from the center of the western Mediterranean routes, could also see sub-archipelago and calling at its port.
The port of Cabrera is a natural deep water harbor, one of the best ports in the Mediterranean, sheltered from all winds. Cabrera met the ideal conditions for a stopover. This is mainly due to two factors: the presence of drinking water throughout the year and its port, conveniently located, protected from winds and storms, which is characterized by a large Draught. In addition, it was also possible to use the wood from the region and enjoy the food resources provided by the animals of the island - mainly goats - circulating freely on the island, or the abundant fish in the region.
The only difficulty for browsers who decided to go through the archipelago of Cabrera, was, as Pliny says, the danger of its waters. We want the largest number of boats ran aground near the port, including Carthaginian and Roman times for evidence.
|Cabrera Castle (Castell de Cabrera / Castillo de Cabrera)
|After the Catalan conquest of Majorca, in 1229, Jaume I attributed the island of Cabrera to the Bishop of Tarragona, who transmitted his usufruct to a knight in exchange for an annuity. Most of these first lords - as Bernat Claramunt, Guillem Huguet and Pere de Malbosc - are known from the literature: it was nobles living in Palma and operated Cabrera, like all their other properties or possessions of Majorca. Lords of Cabrera had the right to rent pasture for cattle brought from Majorca and land to plant vineyards, and the right to fish, they had the monopoly of transport and that of the tavern, and did not operate directly the stately reserve hawks.
However, during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries after the Muslim defeat, the island of Cabrera and its natural harbor was used as a base for attacks against the Majorcan coast by Barbary pirates. Moorish pirates - that population called "amorros" - imbed their vessels in the bay during the day Cabrera and Cabrera crossed the channel at night to attack the ports and villages of Mallorca, hackers also used the port of Cabrera as a basis to intercept merchant ships headed for the Bay of Palma or emerged, including vessels which supply Majorca wheat Sicily.
At the end of the fourteenth century, a lord of Cabrera, Guillem Saragossa, built a watchtower on the rocky promontory overlooking the harbor, a small garrison of guards could warn the villagers of the south coast of Mallorca in the imminent an attack by means of signals from smoke and fire. The fortified tower was built on the "Puig Es Castell" to 72 m above sea level, and from there dominated Es Port, Cape Punta de Sa Creueta and Cap Llebeig that close the harbor mouth. The first document that mentions the existence of a castle date Cabrera 1407.
During the sixteenth century, the defensive importance of the Cabrera archipelago was increased because the Balearic Islands became a geographical border between two enemies of the Spanish monarchy of the House of Austria on the one hand, the Empire Ottoman, who controlled Algeria since 1529, and also France. In 1542, the Franco-Turkish alliance was signed against Charles V (Carlos I of Spain), emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Consequently, one could not speak of pirate attacks and privateers against the people of the Majorcan coastline and Minorca, but real acts of war lined the threat of conquest and occupation of the Balearic Islands. Castle Cabrera was enlarged and strengthened. The Turkish attacks - as the population continues to call "amoros" - so many were against Cabrera and permanent: one of the most known attacks, we find that the pirate Barbarossa in 1531, and that of Dragut in 1550. These incursions debouched invariably capture and enslavement of the garrison, and the dismantling and destruction of the castle, it made unnecessary any subsequent reconstruction, because it was only emptied the coffers of the University of Palma - become owner of the archipelago - and those of the Kingdom of Majorca. Thus, Palma authorities refused to build a watchtower on the highest hill of Cabrera at a time when such towers were built all around the island of Mallorca. The pirate threat diminished after the defeat of the Ottoman fleet defeated by the Holy League at the Battle of Lepanto, off the coast of Greece in 1571.
In 1663, the Sureda family became owner of the island and built the castle of hexagonal shape, three stories that we see today. In the early nineteenth century, the castle was used for some time in prison for junior officers of the Napoleonic French army who had been captured at the Battle of Bailen, then served as a hospital for prisoners hit by famine and disease.
|In 1982, the castle was restored and items that do not belong to the basic design were removed.
Today, the castle is one of the circuits tour of the island and is one of its main attractions: after 20-30 min walk on a winding path to the headland where the castle is built, it is rewarded with superb views of the bay of Es Port.
|The Archaeological Site of Ses Figueres
|The site of the Pla de Ses Figueres is one of the most important archaeological sites of the Balearic Islands: it brings together many rare relics of the past Cabrera, grouped into three excavated by archaeologists from Palma areas:
- southwest of the deposit, on the coast near Sa Platgeta, are the remains of a workshop salting fish, dating from the time of the Roman Empire (sixth and seventh centuries), we can see it as a dozen tanks dug into the rock or built of stone jointed with mortar, which were used for the production of meat products.
- north there are the ruins of the barracks of the French prisoners from the Napoleonic army;
- northeast, about 150 m from the shore, are the ruins of a Byzantine monastery cemetery and the ruins of what could be a workshop production of purple used for dyeing, including dyeing robes Roman.
|Ruins of French Prisoners Barracks
|In 1806, Napoleon declared the continental blockade, that is to say the ban on British imports in Europe, only Portugal refused to comply and continued to trade with Britain. After Spain and France had signed the Treaty of Fontainebleau, Napoleon replied by sending three armies to Portugal, through Spain. By this treaty, the Spanish Prime Minister, Manuel de Godoy, hoping to seize Portugal and his fleet, but he was deceived by Napoleon and the French troops remained in Spain, the Spanish king, Charles IV, was forced to abdicate and was replaced by Napoleon’s brother, Joseph Bonaparte.
On May 2, 1808 (el "Dos de Mayo"), the popular uprising in Madrid against the French occupation was brutally suppressed and hundreds of people were executed. Thus began the Spanish War of Independence, also known as the war against the French (1808-1814). One of the first battles took place July 19, 1808 in Bailen, in the south of Spain, the French army under General Dupont de l’Étang was defeated by the Spanish troops of General Castaños.
Of the 21,000 French soldiers and officers involved, about 18,000 were taken prisoner. July 22, 1808, an agreement was signed to surrender Andújar, the agreement stipulated that the French prisoners were to be returned to France from Cadiz on board British ships, she was not respected: the English, Spanish allies, refused to restore an army that could strengthen the enemy ranks. Only officers of the highest rank, such as Dupont, were sent back to France, where they suffered the wrath of Napoleon, who saw the capitulation of Bailen as a cowardly capitulation General Dupont was arrested on his arrival at Toulon, September 21 1808 and removed in 1812. The other prisoners were taken to Sanlúcar de Barrameda near Cadiz and crammed into pontoons (prison ships) - in squalid conditions - during the winter 1808-1809, waiting to decide their fate. But an epidemic fever caused such havoc among the prisoners that the military governor of Cadiz, fearing that the city might be infested, decided to deport the survivors in the islands: 4,000 prisoners were sent to the Canary Islands, where they melted the population.
The other prisoners - about 9,000 - were for the Balearic Islands, where they were to be divided between Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza. Their journey began April 9, 1809, from the Bay of Cadiz, transport ships being escorted by warships in the Strait of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean Sea. The journey was difficult because of its duration (4 months at sea), overcrowding and storms; dysentery spread aboard. When the ship finally arrived in the Bay of Palma, the city authorities refused to let them come down, frightened by the possibility of riots or spread of the disease. Even after the prisoners had spent a lot of time in hospital isolation Mahon in Menorca, only senior officers were allowed to disembark in Palma, junior officers, NCOs and soldiers were landed Cabrera.
Until the arrival of French prisoners in 1909, the island of Cabrera was depopulated and had reflected the cardinal Despuig in the late eighteenth century. Junior officers were lodged in the castle, but joined the senior Mallorca shortly after officers, enlisted men created a makeshift town on the south side of the bay. Apart from a few rabbits and goats, the only living creatures were lizards and a donkey they called Robinson, who became the mascot of the prisoners. In addition, there was on the island only source of drinking water.
The supply of prisoners food and water had Majorca every four days, with the minimum of food to survive until the next delivery. A problem occurred when, due to storms in the channel that separates the island of Cabrera de Mallorca, sending was delayed, he spent a week without sending prisoners to the island. When the supply ship finally arrived, prisoners, furious against suppliers, attempted to seize the ship. The attempt failed, but the vendors refused to return. Replacement provider took up to three months and it caused a famine among the French prisoners. Soon the donkey Robinson was eaten, as well as wildlife, but also the prisoners ate plants, many of which proved toxic. Winter came, and the winds and the rain came down on the tiny shelters, which were finally swept away by a flood. Many men succumbed to disease and malnutrition. In the most extreme cases, some came to survive, to practice coprophagia and cannibalism.
Nevertheless, prisoners softened their captive conditions by imposing a certain organization and engaged in various tasks, such as making handicrafts Sabina wood or boxwood (the case of a famous game Chess, owned Quetglas family or household Wooden Feliu family), baskets, cane or various metal tools, they also sowed different crops (potatoes, beans) and raised animals (rats) for their subsistence, they built and lived in small houses, those scholars taught the others they represented parts in a theater built in a cave overlooking the harbor, and so on.
Over time, the prisoners created an internal market where the bean was the currency exchange, and secondary market trading with Mallorca, to which they exported much of their production in exchange for raw materials and utensils diverse. Most of these activities perfectly described in the memoirs of prisoners who survived were confirmed by archaeological excavations carried out in 2003 on a group of French prisoners of houses located in the plain of Ses Figueres. In addition to the architectural structures, we found some remains of melting metals, ceramic pots (pots, pans) very well preserved charred beans and buttons and buckles uniforms. The castle was converted into a hospital and welcomed a large number of patients.
Meanwhile the Spanish authorities did nothing, if it is still pouring more prisoners on the island, another 3,000 in more than six years. Napoleon - who had never accepted the surrender of Baylen he considered a shameful capitulation - refused negotiate the release of prisoners.
The captivity ended in May 1814 - just after the abdication of Napoleon in April 1814 - with the signing of the armistice between France and the Allies. Under the First Restoration, General Dupont was appointed Minister of War by Louis XVIII he did not forget the men who had fought in Spain under his command. The following month, two convoys, flying the white flag of the monarchy in France 3700 men repatriated directly from Cabrera.
Responsible to repatriate survivors, Ensign Louis Pujol left a poignant testimony dramatic living conditions found there.
"Nothing that evoked the novelists approach the awful reality that I have before me"
Cabrera was the first concentration camp in history, where nearly 12,000 people lived for five years in inhumane conditions. About 5,000 of these men - nearly 40% - had died during their detention and were buried in unmarked graves. The desire of the Spanish authorities, with the complicity of the British government, was not only to make them harmless but also to exterminate a slow death. The harsh conditions of his captivity were described by some of the survivors in their memories, among which the most famous are those of Wagré, Gille and Ducor. In 1847, the Prince de Joinville, son of Louis-Philippe I, erected a memorial to the French dead in Cabrera.
In a historical novel "The Prisoners of Cabrera", published in April 2009 by the Presses de la Cité, Michel Peyramaure describes the forgotten plight of the Napoleonic prisoners.
|The Byzantine Necropolis
"Because we are aware of the fact that the monks of the monastery located on the island of Capria, located close to Maiorica, which is also an island, stained their lives in various crimes, which shows that most that serve God, they fight - and we confess with tears - in the service of the ancient enemy [Satan]. "
Gregory - Epistole XIII (around the year 603)
The letter of Pope Gregory the Great, written around 603 AD, shows unequivocally the presence of a monastic community in the archipelago of Cabrera at the time of the Byzantine domination of the Balearics. The Pope condemns the behavior of monks and sends a "defender" to try to bring back order. Interpretations on the termination of this bad behavior monks Cabrera are many: the practice of piracy, heresy, homosexual behavior, rejection of papal supremacy or directives, and so on. Unfortunately, the document cited is not explicit enough to be sure of the reasons for papal intervention, even if it is obvious that Gregory the Great attempts to control and regulate a large part of the monastic state of West.
The establishment of these monks in the Cabrera archipelago is part of the ideology of the first Christian monastic state, which advocates a move away from the urban world, to escape his vices and thus be able to live more Christian way and closer to God. This is the reason why small islands are an ideal place to install groups of monks who occupy so many small islands throughout the western Mediterranean and the Atlantic, especially those located near roads navigation.
These monks have the ambition to lead a simple life, away from the bustle of the civil society, dedicated to the work and prayer. However, they also play an evangelizing role, which allows them to maintain contact with neighboring populations or passing sailors, which also allows them to practice trade, receive gifts or donations, especially to promote new vocations to ensure the continuity of their community.
Through the work of prospecting and excavations, it was found that in the archipelago of Cabrera, there are a number of fields that appear to be closely related to the monastic community. All have abundant ceramic materials that can be between the fifth and seventh centuries AD, some of which clearly refer to the Christian culture.
The main field of ceramics, by extension and abundance, is the plain Ses Figueres, which lies at the bottom of the port of Cabrera. This is why it seems to be the place where the monastery was where most of the monks lived. The remains collected during the excavations, and the fact that the four bodies found in the graves discovered in the area are those of adult males, suggesting that these are the graves of four of the monks of the seventh century AD.
The Byzantine monastery cemetery is near the remains of the camp of French prisoners.
|The Ethnographic Museum Es Celler
|From 1891, the Feliu family became owner of almost all of the island of Cabrera, it will remain until 1916, when it was expropriated in favor of the army. Jacint Feliu planted vines, carob, almond and fig trees and also forages like sainfoin, because he also introduced cows, sheep and goats. There was at that time a lot of money to be made in wine production since the phylloxera had destroyed the French vineyards and wines of Mallorca reached high prices, because, by its insular position, Mallorca was protected from the epidemic. However the phylloxera epidemic eventually reach Cabrera.
This unfortunate business remains the home of Feliu, Villa Cristina, in the harbor, and the winery built by Feliu to produce wine, called "Es Celler" (the cellar). After Cabrera Island was declared a National Park in 1991, the winery was restored in 1994 and converted to house a museum of ethnography.
Located a few hundred meters (20 minutes walk) from the port of Cabrera, the Museum houses an exhibition "Man and nature Cabrera ’which presents posters depicting the history of the island, ethnography and natural environment of the archipelago, and bric-a-brac of archaeological finds recovered from the islands and surrounding waters. Next to the museum is a botanical garden - poorly maintained - which has 72 species native to the island of Cabrera plants.
|The Memorial to the French Prisoners of War
|In June 1847, Vice Admiral Prince de Joinville, third son of King Louis-Philippe, was in the Mediterranean harbor of Palma aboard his ship, the "Pluto", a short distance from the island of Cabrera, the name struck the young prince, he wondered if it was not on the island, that after the capitulation of Bailen in 1808, poor French soldiers were transported by the Spaniards, he even learned that from along the island, we could see further human bones bleached by time, he ordered to proceed to anchorage of the island. The officers and crew, led by a Spaniard who had witnessed the slow death of the captives, reaped a large amount of bones that lay scattered around the island. Above the ossuary, he draw a granite obelisk with the inscription:
"In memory of the French dead in Cabrera, the squadron of evolution in 1847, commissioned by His Royal Highness the Prince de Joinville"
The memorial is located in a wood, a little west of the Ethnographic Museum, poorly maintained and presqu’indéchiffrable, his ill testify that neither the Spanish government nor the French authorities, are proud of this dramatic episode and inglorious the Napoleonic adventure.
|The Lighthouse of N’Enciola
|The mid-nineteenth century, in 1864, a flagship project at the forefront of N’Enciola was designed by Emili Pou, the first stage of the achievement was the construction of the road from the pier to the top of the tip of N’Ensiola, which was to be used to transport construction materials. Then begins the construction of the building, saw the path then supplemented by a new section between the lighthouse and the port of Cabrera. The work was completed in 1868 and the lighthouse of N’Enciola began work August 15, 1870.
A hiking trail leads to the lighthouse of N’Ensiola (duration: 4:00), but need permission to go to the lighthouse.
Below the lighthouse, Es Cocó de l’Ancai there is a large hole where, until recently, salt was collected. A "Coco" is a hole in the sea where the sea salt is deposited.
|The Blue Grotto (Cova Blava / Cueva Azul)
|The Blue Grotto is located on the east coast of the cove of Cala Santa Maria, near the Punta de Cala Santa Maria, north of the island of Cabrera. The Blue Grotto is about 160 m deep, 50 m wide and 20 m high, it is a cave carved by the sea in the limestone of the island.
Cova Blava owes its name to the deep blue waters of which are reflected on the ceiling of the cave, the color of the water is due to the reflection of light on the sandy bottom. This is by analogy with the famous Blue Grotto (Gruta Azul) on the island of Capri (which, for the Romans, also called Capraia, as the island of Cabrera).
The entrance to the cave is oriented northwest: it is the afternoon sun illuminates the cave. So to return the visit to Cabrera as tour boats stop at the Cova Blava, to allow tourists to admire the phenomenon and, sometimes, to take a bath for a few minutes in its blue waters.
|The Visitors Centre of the National Park of Cabrera
|The island of Cabrera being unbuildable, the Visitor Center National Park is located in Colónia de Sant Jordi.
|The access to Cabrera
|The Cabrera archipelago is a National Park and, in addition, a military zone, access to the island of Cabrera is regulated. Cabrera can only be visited during the day: it is forbidden to spend the night. It is possible to dock with a private boat only after obtaining permission from the administration of the National Park, and only in the port of Cabrera (Es Port), the number of vessels may not exceed 50 per day, the duration of the mooring is limited: one night in July and August, two nights in June and September, and up to seven nights the rest of the year. Similarly, the diving scuba may be performed without a permit, but the snorkeling can be done on the beaches. Fishing, including spearfishing is prohibited (but violations are regularly observed).
Therefore almost all visitors come to Cabrera by tour boats, but in order to preserve the ecosystem, only 200 people per day (300 in August) are allowed to visit this very natural protected area; it is recommended to book their tickets at least one day in advance.
Most tour boats depart from Colónia de Sant Jordi, a little more than 10 nautical miles from Cabrera (about 30 minutes), some leave Porto Petro, near Cala d’Or (75 minute crossing). In Colonia two companies offer different types of visit: the company "Excursions a Cabrera" and the company "Marcabrera". Prices - quite high - include entry into the national park law.
Trips arrive at the small port of Cabrera, where there is a tiny information office of the National Park, public toilets, a small cafe (the "canteen fisherman") and a space picnic shelter. Guides National Park are a short presentation of the island and the rules of good conduct.
|Excursions a Cabrera
|"Excursions a Cabrera" offers four different tracks: "Fast" (3 hours, 38 € / 42 € in high season), "Express" (visit Cabrera, 37 € / 40 € in high season), "Classic" (day Cabrera, 10:00 to 17:00, 35 € / 40 € in high season), "Premium" (around the archipelago and Cabrera day, 43 € / 48 € in high season). The longest journey to discover several small islands inhabited by birds before arriving at Cabrera
Tours from May to October.
Ticket sales: Carrer Gabriel Roca s / n - Port de Colónia de Sant Jordi
Phone: 00 34 971 649 034
Site on the Web: www.excursionsacabrera.es
|MarCabrera offers five different circuits with fast boats.
Address: Carrer Gabriel Roca, 20
Phone: 00 34 971 656 403
Site on the Web: www.marcabrera.com
|There is a small cafe in the port of Cabrera, tour companies offer snacks to eat on board or take a picnic (about 7 €).