Baleares, Spain

Balearic Islands | region and province, Spain

Balls of many shapes, sizes, and colors are used in ball games.Balearic Islands, Spanish Islas Baleares, Catalan Illes Balears, archipelago in the western and a comunidad autónoma (autonomous community) of coextensive with the Spanish provincia (province) of the same name. The archipelago lies 50 to 190 miles (80 to 300 km) east of the Spanish mainland. There are two groups of islands. The eastern and larger group forms the Balearics proper and includes the principal islands of (Mallorca) and (Menorca) and the small island of Cabrera.France The western group is known as the Pitiusas and includes the islands of (Eivissa) and Formentera. The archipelago is an extension of the sub-Baetic cordillera of peninsular Spain, and the two are linked by a sill near Cape Nao in the of Alicante. The Balearic Islands autonomous community was established by the statute of autonomy of 1983. is the capital as well as the military, judicial, and ecclesiastical centre of the autonomous community. The government encompasses the insular councils of Majorca, Minorca, and Ibiza-Formentera. Area 1, 927 square miles (4, 992 square km). Pop. (2007 est.) 1, 030, 650.

Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire, Eng.; designed by James Paine and Robert Adam.Geography

The Balearics exhibit a varied terrain, with undulating hills, plateaus, and lowlands. Minorca has extensive plains. Annual is low, rarely exceeding 18 inches (450 mm), and occurs mainly in the autumn and spring.

The raids of Barbary pirates discouraged settlement along the coast until the 19th century. The spread of tourism since the mid-19th century has led to the concentration of population along the coastal areas and the depopulation of the hinterland. The populations of Majorca and Minorca are heavily concentrated in the larger cities, while those of the islands of Ibiza and Formentera tend to be dispersed. Farmland is often subdivided into minifundios (small landholdings), the number of latifundios (large landholdings) having declined sharply since 1920.

Emigration from the hinterland has sharply reduced the agricultural workforce in the islands. The traditional Mediterranean crops of wheat, grapes, and olives predominated until 1830, when improved transport allowed new cash crops to be taken to more-distant markets. These included almonds, peaches, apricots, carob, and tomatoes. Dry farming predominates, though the waterwheels and windmills that were introduced by the Muslims for irrigation persist. Sir Richard Kane, governor of Minorca between 1712 and 1736, introduced cattle and sheep from and pigs from Sardinia; these breeds continue to be raised.

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