The most important book about Mallorca and the Balearic Isles ever was written and compiled by the Austrian Archduke Ludwig Salvator (Luís Salvador Archiduque de Austria), under the title Die Balearen (The Balearic Islands). The book was published in German in five volumes (with 9 tomes) between 1869 and 1884. The mighty edition is as amazing as the man himself seems to have been; I am sure you have heard about him and his prolonged stay in Mallorca. If not, you can read about Ludwig Salvator Maria Joseph Johann Baptist Dominik Rainer Ferdinand Karl Zenobius Antonius von Austria in one of my earlier blog entries. An abbreviated 2-volume edition of Die Balearen was published in Spanish in 1887 (Las Baleares), as well as a German popular edition in 2 volumes, in 1897 (Die Balearen. Geschildert in Wort und Bild).
Die Balearen is available in modern editions in Spanish, German and Catalan. I don’t think the title was ever translated into or published in English.
If you would like to feel, smell and admire the original 1869 edition, you can do so at the Fundación Bartolomé March in Palma (C/ Conquistador, 13). I was totally proud and in awe when I had the privilege of browsing one of the rare copies a few years ago. If you don’t live in Mallorca or you are more of a lazy person and don’t much move away from your desk or your laptop, you can read a facsimile copy of the complete edition of all 9 tomes on your monitor, courtesy of openlibrary.org. You will have to know some German though to get the most out of the pleasure of studying the 488 pages and, sadly, you won’t be treated to any of the colour plates of the First Edition.
In case you are interested, I have just been offered a dedicated version of the Erstausgabe, signed by the Archiduque himself. The asking price is ever so slightly beyond my capabilities but, there is always Once. No, I did not win the Big One last Saturday; the 15,000,000 € First Prize went to somebody on the mainland.
Would you like to buy Die Balearen? I may be able to put you in touch with the seller.
Today, there is no credit for the image. I stitched two photos together that I had received from my friend Ita.