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The Festa De L’Estendard

You may have wondered occasionally why some streets in Mallorca’s towns and pueblos are called 31 de Desembre (31 de Diciembre). It somehow does not quite feel coherent that a street should be named after the last day of the year, just like that.

Well, it isn’t. The name is given after the date of the capitulation of the last Moorish valí (governor) in Mallorca. Sidi Abu Yahya Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Abi Imran at-Tinmalali was the Moorish ruler in charge of the Almudaina Palace from 1208 to 1229. It was him who surrendered the keys to Madina Mayûrqa, the capital city of the island, on December 31st, 1229. The occasion is celebrated in Palma de Mallorca every year with some aplomb under the epithet of the Festa de l’Estendard, as it will be today. The victorious winner at the time, of course, was Jaume I, as I am sure you do know. The anniversary of the Conqueror’s birth 800 years ago was celebrated all year long in 2008, all over the island.

The winner takes it all, even the historic accuracy. There is more to the story of the Moorish defeat, I am sure, than we are told, but that will be perhaps the subject of some future blog entry. A book written by an Arab scholar, Ibn Amira al-Mahzumi, tells the story through the eyes of the defeated, under the title Kitab Tarih Mayurqa. The book was written in the 13th century and was only recently rediscovered and translated into Catalan as well as, earlier this year, into Castellano. An interesting read.

A Plaça Abu Yahya exists in Palma. My photo shows a detail from an ironplated mural on display at the seat of the Cambra de Comerç (Chamber of Commerce) in Palma, sculpted and forged by Guillem Seguí, commemorating Mallorca’s conquest.

The photo was chosen from my archive. It was taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: June 16th, 2009. The time was 14:17:39.

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December 2009


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