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The Balearic Islands include Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza, and Formentera, plus numerous small islets.

The Balearic Islands' archipelago is situated south-east of Europe, in the central part of the western Mediterranean basin. Palma, the capital of the Balearics, is located in Mallorca, on the largest of the Balearic Islands.

Western Mediterranean Sea, off the eastern coast of Spain

Latitude and Longitude:
39° 34'N, 2° 39'E

Time Zone:
GMT +1

Total Land Area:


The islands enjoy a warm Mediterranean climate, with many sunny days per year. High temperatures are moderate due to the cooling influence of the sea, and winters are mild and dry. Mediterranean islands show some characteristics present in the Balearic Islands, caused by factors as insularity -space between islands and the mainland -, own climatology -moderate temperature, torrential rains in spring and autumn, and long, dry summer periods-, salinity - and other sea conditionings-, and the extinction of species that sometimes evolve, due to isolation, in a different way from other similar species in nearby continents

Natural Resources:
The Islands have limited natural resources. There are, especially; three limited resources in the Balearic Islands: water, land and energy (wind and combustible material)


Total GDP:
2001 12,358,863.00 USD
2002 12,481,456.00 USD

Per Capita GDP:
2001 15,271.00 USD
2002 15,086.00 USD

% of GDP per Sector:
  Primary Secondary Tertiary
2002 212259000% 2144647000% 9479322000%
2001 201779000% 2075054883% 9496032000%

% of Population Employed by Sector
  Primary Secondary Tertiary

External Aid/Remittances:
The European Commission has decided to participate actively in the development of the Autonomous Community of the Balearic Islands by co-financing the Objective 2 programme for the 2000-2006 period. The Structural Funds will provide EUR 90.5 million out of a total budget of EUR 186 million. The aim of this financial assistance is to diversify the Balearic economy and move away from its dependency on the tourism sector.

The expansion of tourism has created a hyper-dependence on a sector largely subject to seasonal variations and where employment tends to be precarious. The industrial sector, which occupies only 12.5% of the workforce, is characterised by fragmentation and under-qualification. It is handicapped by the discontinuity of the region, which limits economies of scale, and by the limited size of the regional market. And in agriculture, the working population is ageing and output is low.

Labour Force:
2003 424,100
2004 431,000

Year: Unemployment Rate (% of pop.)
2001 5.9%
2002 7.3%
2003 9.3%
2004 6%

Tourism on the Balearic Islands is the most important industry and it has been only measured in terms of GDP contribution and number of tourists. The services sector is about the 80% of the total economic activity where tourism is the engine of the economy. Balearic industry is based on small, family-run companies.

Niche Industry:

The Balearic Islands have been recognised world-wide as one of the most important tourist phenomena. According to an international division of land uses, and therefore economic and functional activities, the Balearic Islands become the recreation area for the European workers. Tourism tends to be considered as a “soft industry” (e.g. non-contaminating industry) when comparing to hard industry as for instance steel industry and other factories. Therefore, tourism does not provoke hard environmental impacts, at least in its origin and it demands high quality environmental conditions to be held. Nevertheless, the idea that tourism does not provoke impacts is false, tourism might create high environmental, social and economic impacts that should be valued and measured. The Balearic economy got into tourism in the late fifties and it supposed the entry of that economy in the World Economy and the relations with Europe start to increase. That economic push had a positive impact related to the quality of life of local people. Nevertheless, that process lacked of any sort of planning and tourism create high social and environmental impacts on the islands. The social ones are related with the entry of non-local workers and tourists that provoke an important impact on culture, another important socio-economic impact was related with the unequal distribution of wealth. The environmental impacts were related especially with the urbanisation of the islands and the threat on natural areas. 2003 Night stays: 48,567,730 % of Spain: 21.29% 2004 Night stays: 47,984,377 % of Spain: 20.43%


Imports and Exports:

Tot. Value of Imports 0.00 ()
From Eu:
Import Partners (EU:)
Partners Outside EU:
Import Partners:
Tot. Value of Exports ()
To Eu:
Export Partners:
Partners Outside EU::
Export Partners:
Main Imports:
Main Exports:



Number of Airports:
The Balearic Islands enjoy excellent air links with Spain and the principal cities in Europe and in the world. Over 200,000 planes pass through the airport facilities of Majorca, Minorca and Ibiza every year. Palma de Mallorca is the main airport of the Balearics and in summer leads the ranking of Spanish airports in terms of nº of passengers.

Number of Main Ports:
Major Ferry Ports: Alcudia, Ciutadella, Formentera, Ibiza, Ibiza San Antonio, Palma, Mahón



Road: Number of vehicles 1998 2003 Total 642,648 752,224 Lorries and vans 83,566 105,561 Buses 2,038 2,199 Cars 490,630 567,686 Motorbikes 59,602 65,387 Industrial tractors 853 1,551 Other vehicles 5,959 9,840 By Car: The Balearic Islands have an extensive road network which makes getting about by car easy. By Bus: Regular public buses are of high standard, well maintained and cheap. Most towns have a bus terminal called “estación de autobus”. On Sundays and public holidays, schedules are drastically reduced.

By Ferry: Regular lines link the Balearic Islands with Barcelona, Dénia and Valencia.

Other Forms of Transportation:

Economic Zones:
The exclusive economic zone of 200 nautical miles applies only to Spain’s atlantic coast

Energy Policy:
The exploitation of energy has changed considerably all along the time. The traditional economic systems, kept during many centuries, were based on three sources of energy: animal, for many agricultural and transport tasks; wind, for navigation and some agrarian industries ( in Mallorca they have worked more than 1200 wind mills to take out water from the subsoil), and vegetable (firewood and coal), for domestic uses. Fossil energy (lignites) began to be exploited in the second half of the XIX century. Turnover by type (MWH) - 2004 Total: 4,952,734 Domestic use: 1,861,331 High voltage: 1,196,078 Rest of consumption: 1,895,324 Energy turnover by sector (MWH) – 2004 Total: 2,422,010 Agriculture: 78,703 Industry: 277,070 Construction: 62,525 Services: 2,003,712

Year Total Energy Production (Mwh) Thermic (Mwh) Geothermic (Mwh) Other (Mwh) Total Energy Consumption (Mwh) Domestic (Mwh) Commercial (Mwh) Public Service (Mwh) Industry (Mwh) Public Lighting (Mwh)
0 0 0 0 2,422,010 0 0 0 277,027 0


Official Currency:
The Euro

Banking and Insurance:
Number of Banks and Credit Unions:
Number of Agricultural Credit Unions:
Number of Insurance Companies:

 Banca March Banco de Crédito Balear

Financial Services:

Number of households: 344,662 2004/% of households Television 99.41% Computer 43.99% Laptop computer 10.13% PDA/Pocket PC 1.81% Fixed telephone 89.36% Mobile phone 76.58% Radio 82.14% Fax 5.17% Households with internet connections: 122,479

Public Ownership:
Privately owned land.

Land Use:
Exploited land: 19,788ha Cultivated lands: 222,118ha Forestal surfaces: 79, 214ha Other lands: 73, 495ha Balearic countrysides have been historically modified by the action of human population, since almost five thousand years: the early settlers (Mallorca and Menorca Talaiotic Culture), the Phoenician (specially in Eivissa), the Romans, the Arabs and the Christians have always coveted the Balearic Islands placed in a privileged area in the west Mediterranean Sea. Environmental policy is the responsibility of the insular government (Consell Insular de Menorca), elected by Minorcan citizens, and the Balearic Islands’ government (Govern Balear). The Balearic parliament (Parlament Balear) is the body that develops the laws. In 1991 the Parlament Balear approved a law under which some 40% of the island is protected from changes in land use; this zone includes the 35% of the land that is under more or less natural vegetation. In 1995 the Govern Balear established the Albufera Nature Park covering 1947 ha and protecting a large lagoon and surrounding hillsides and farmland in the north east of Minorca.

A large part of the best cultivated lands in the Islands is found in the area occupied by these woods before the island agricultural expansion just some millenniums ago. Woodlands suffered from recession due to the competition for the land surface., but it was also expoiled -taken to the patches, only in Mallorca there are thousands of kilometres of them- and the same forest has been the most important source of energy (firewood and coal) in the island until a recent time. It has not been always exploited in moderation and with care. This fact explains the forest and land erosion, which has become an irreversible process.

Marine Activity:

The marine sector in the Balearics directly or indirectly accounts for 80 to 85% of their GDP.

Marine Life:

Critical Issues:
The Balearic Islands suffer from a number of difficulties. Many of them are related to the islands over-dependency on a single economic productive activity; i.e. tourism. While this seasonal activity has favoured the islands’ economic development, it has affected markedly their environment, with problems such as water and energy supply, waste processing, preservation of the scenery, safeguarding the primary sector, etc. This has made more difficult the achievement of a sustainable form of development. Another factor to be taken into consideration is the clear limitations which insularity imposes upon the development Balearics industrial sector.


Palma de Mallorca

Political System:
The autonomous institutional organisation is constituted by the Parliament, the Government and the President of the Autonomous Community. The Insular Councils include the government and the administration of each one of the islands that form the archipelago. The Parliament represents the people of the Balearic Islands, exercising the legislative jurisdiction, approving budgets of the Autonomous Community, controlling government action and exercising all responsibilities defined by the Statute, the laws of the Nation and those of the Parliament. It is formed by deputies of the autonomous territory chosen by universal vote. The President of the Balearic Islands is elected by the Members of Parliament and confirmed by the King. The President nominates and dismisses the members of the Government, formulates Balearic Government policy, and is the highest representative of the Autonomous Community. The Government of the Balearic Islands has both executive and administrative facilities. It comprises the President, the Vice-President, and the Ministers. It has regulatory powers and draws up the Autonomous Community Budget. The Parliament, the Government and the President of the Autonomous Community comprise the Autonomous Community institutions, and the Consells Insulars (Island Councils) are responsible for the government and administration of each of the islands in the Archipelago. The Parliament, elected by universal suffrage, represents the inhabitants of the Balearic Islands, exercises legislative power, approves the Autonomous Community Budget, and monitors government policy, in addition to those competencies attributed to it by the Autonomy Statute, the laws of Spain and those of Parliament itself.

Political Parties:

Important Legislation:
The Spanish Constitution, in its Article 138.1 specifies that the State must enforce the principle of solidarity, and ensure a well-balanced and fair economic development between the various parts of the Spanish territory. In doing so, it must pay "special attention to the island factor". Consequently, the island condition of the Balearics must be taken into account by the State, which has to implement practical policies to correct, or compensate for, the hurdles arising from insularity. Such is the purpose of the Law 30/1998 of the 29th of July, establishing the Special Regime of the Balearic Islands. The adoption of this law coincides with the acknowledgement of the island problems by the European Union through the Treaty of Amsterdam, with the modification of article 158 and the adoption of Joint Declaration N°30. The scope of the law establishing a Special Regime encompasses numerous issues; such as the transport of passengers and goods, energy supply, health and education, the setting-up of specific infrastructure, water and energy supply, waste management, information technology, employment policy and the defence of the traditional industries and rural development as well as certain matters related to tourism. While the law is not necessarily precise on what ought to be done on these issues, it is a first step to making the national authorities well aware of the reality of island problems.

Principal Taxes:

Associated Power:

Balearans hold Spanish citizenship.

Consulate of Austria Consulate of Belgium Consulate of Bolivia Consulate de Colombia Consulate of Costa Rica Consulate of Chile Consulate of Denmark Consulate of the Dominican Republic Consulate of Germany Consulate of Finland Consulate of France Consulate of Greece Consulate of Honduras Consulate of Hungary Consulate of Iceland Consulate of Ireland Consulate of Italy Consulate of Luxembourg Consulate of Mexico Consulate of Monaco Consulate of Nepal Consulate of the Netherlands Consulate of Norway Consulate of Panama Consulate of Peru Consulate of the Philippines Consulate of Sweden Consulate of Switzerland Consulate of Tunis Consulate of the United States of America Consulate of the United Kingdom, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Consulate of Uruguay


(2001) Island Area(km sq.) Population Mallorca 3620 676,516 Menorca 694 71,524 Eivissa/Ibiza 571 88,076 Formentera 83 5,553

Island Area (km sq.) Population % of Total Population
Mallorca 3,620 676,516 80%
Menorca 694 71,524 8.5%
Eivissa/Ibiza 571 88,076 10%
Formentera 83 5,553 1.5%

Year: Resident Population: 1991 709,146 2001 841,669

Year Resident Population

Age of Population: 0-14 15-24 25-49 50-64 65 and up


The Balearic Islands, one of the most important tourist destinations of the Mediterranean,have become a territory of attraction of several immigration flows types. This complex situation transforms to the Balearic Islands into a laboratory of analysis of the type phenomenon of New California. The high economic growth (6% annual), the high business opportunity and its high accessibility index from most of the main European airports have caused the emergency of diverse intermediterranean human mobility flows whose composition, motivation and characteristics present big differences among them.

Crude Birth Rate:

Life Expedctancy:

Crude Death Rate:


Class Division:

The official languages are Catalan and Spanish.



Education System:

Total Pre-schools:()
Total Primary Schools  
First Level:
Second Level:
Third Level:
Total Secondary Schools:
Total Professional Schools


Number of Schools per Island:


Students Enrolled:


Academic year 2001/02 Infant education: 27,642 Primary education: 56,535 Secondary education: 39,807 Upper secondary: 11,168 Upper secondary (night): 288 Intermediate Vocational Training: 3,810 Higher Vocational Training: 2,237 University students (03/04): 20,227

Medical Services:
Physical resources of public health, 2004 Health Centres: 48 Doctor’s Surgeries: 99 Hospitals: 6 Pharmacies: 391


 Archaeologists have found evidence of human habitation on the Balearics as early as 5000 BC. Prehistoric relics like pottery, tools, jewellery and ruins show that agriculture and animal husbandry freed many a hand for more esoteric pursuits - the hallmark of a successful civilisation. Menorca in particular boasts impressive remnants of these ancient peoples. Enormous slabs of rocks arranged in specific formations litter the island: navetas, caves built with large stones; talayots, mounds of stone perhaps used as watchtowers; and taulus, stone tablets balanced in the shape of a 'T', are all much in evidence. The Balearics were regular ports of call for ancient Phoenician traders. The Carthaginians founded Ibiza City in 654 BC and made it one of the Mediterranean's major trading ports. Next came the Romans, who were eclipsed by the Visigoths, who were followed by Muslims in the 8th century AD. Muslim domination, which lasted longer than three centuries, left a lasting impression on the islanders' culture, from their traditional dress to architectural styles. In 1229, the Christian Reconquista, led by Jaume I of Catalunya, scored its first major victory in the island chain: Palma de Mallorca. Ibiza and Formentera followed six years later, but Menorca held fast until 1287, when Alfonso III finished incorporating the islands into the Catalan world. After an initial boom as trading centres and Catalan colonies, the islands fell on hard times in the 15th century. Isolation from the mainland, famine and frequent raids by pirates made life difficult. Adding insult to injury, Menorca's two major towns were virtually destroyed by Turkish forces during the 16th century. Ibiza added fortifications and managed to fight off the Turks, but Formentera fell completely. The Balearics fared poorly in warfare. After backing the Hapsburgs in the Spanish War of Succession, Mallorca and Ibiza were occupied by the victorious Bourbon monarchy in 1715. Menorca, on the other hand, was granted to the British along with Gibraltar in 1713 under the Treaty of Utrecht. British rule lasted until 1802, with the exception of the Seven Years War (1756-63), during which Menorca was occupied by the French. During the Spanish Civil War, Mallorca was repeatedly bombed by Nationalist forces. Peace has been much better to the sunny isles. With the postwar stability of the 1950s, the Balearics discovered tourism, and the tourists discovered the islands' vast unspoiled beaches. It was a match made in heaven, and the economy got a jumpstart that locals are still enjoying today.

Referendum of the Treaty by which a Constitution is established for Europe. 2005

Recent Significant Events:

Music, Dance, Handicraft and Patrimony:
Balearic Islands have a great richdom of archaical traditions, consequence of their old civilization. Most of their "Fiestas" are very colorful and attractive for the visitor. The folklore of Mallorca is characterized by melodious music and ceremonial dances. And representative for Ibiza are its primitive dances of very old traditions. Among the most important "Fiestas" of the islands are: Mallorca:  The procession of the three Magi, on December, 5 in Palma de Mallorca.  The Fiesta of des foguerons, at January, 6 is celebrated in Sa Pobla, Artà, Sòller andMuro with fire and regional dances. The following day, there is a procession of horse coaches in Muro, and in Pollença a tree is erected at the square Plaza Vieja. People then try to climb to its top.  Typical for the festival of San Sebastian, at January, 20, are the numerous small fires lit in Palma.  Carnival in Palma, in February, is a lively spectacle with colorful masks. During Semana Santa, Easter week, there are processions everywhere. Of remarkable beauty are those of Thursday and Friday in Sineu.  At the second Sunday of May, is celebrated in Soller the mise en scène of the fight between the inhabitants of the islands against the Saracens.  Another historical battle, the one between Joan Mas and the pirates who attacked the island, you can observe in Pollença, on August, 2 during the celebrations of the Fiesta de Nuestra Señora de los Angeles.  In July takes place the Jazz Festival of Palma. Feria of Inca, in November, is an original popular festival, celebrated on three Sundays.  After that, there are more "Ferias" in Santa María la Mayor and Dijous Bo.  At December, 31 Palma says good-bye to the old year with the Fiesta del Estandarte, the "festival of the banner". Menorca:  Carnival of Mahón, in February, is certainly of interest.  The island's most important "Fiesta" is San Juan, on June, 23 and 24, celebrated almost without changes for 600 years. It's climax is the so-called "Jaleo", a spectacular performance with horses and medieval dresses. Also a pilgrimship forms part of this festivity. On June, 29 Verbenas de San Juan, with regional dances and music, take place. The "Fiestas" of San Martin in Mercadal, on the third Sunday in July, and of Nuestra Señora de Gracia, on September, 8 in Mahón, are both of medieval tradition. During the latter you can see another "Jaleo". Ibiza:  January, 17 the festival of the patron, San Antonio Abad.  Santa Eulalia, on the first Sunday in May, is extraordinarily colorful and includes a procession of horse coaches.  Nostra Senyora des Neus, on August, 5, and Fiestas de la Reconquista on August, 8, show the regional folklore at its best.  On August, 24 there are sports and cultural performances in San Antonio to celebrate the Fiesta de San Bartolomé. Formentera:  Most interesting is the festival of the Apostle Santiago, the island's patron, on July, 25, showing all the archaical folklore of Formentera.


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