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The Battle of Mallorca


Seventy-three years ago today, the Battle of Mallorca began, an attempt by the government of the Spanish Second Republic to take the island back from the putschists.

Twenty days later it was all over. The battle was lost. Hundreds of Mallorcans had lost their homes, their limbs or even their lives.

The Spanish Civil War was declared on July 17th, 1936. Spain’s conservative camp, including Nationalists and the Military, had arranged for a coup d’etat against the elected government. The Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, Melilla and parts of the Spanish peninsula were taken that day and put under the command of the putsching military.

A counter offensive was launched in Mallorca on August 16th, 1936, by Capitan Alberto Bayo with various units of the Republican fleet. A force of 8,000 militia landed in Portocristo and at Punta de n’Amer. Initially, some tactical success was achieved but, the expedition ended in failure when the Nationalists counter-attacked with ground troops and massively superior air power. The Republicans were driven into the sea.


The rest is history. Mallorca, the Balearic Islands and eventually all of Spain fell into the hands of the Falange and the Spanish Fascist Movement under Francisco Franco. By April 1st, 1939, the Guerra Civil was over. The dictatorship under the Generalissimo was now official and would last until 1975, when Franco died.

Tomeu Ferrer Garau is the author of a small book on the Battle of Mallorca. The book (Vint dies de guerra) is quite sombre, if not depressing; it is only available in Catalan. You can read a chapter on the Battle of Mallorca in English in Hugh Thomas‘s massive book (The Spanish Civil War).


The photo (top) was chosen from my archive. It was taken in Portocristo, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: February 4th, 2009. The time was 16:53:37. The photo (bottom) was borrowed from the Internet. Thanks are due to Muchas gracias.

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