The oldest town

 

The city of Ibiza is the oldest in the Balearic Islands and one of the oldest in Spain and the western Mediterranean. It was founded in the year 654 BC by the Phoenicians, a seafaring and trading people from the eastern Mediterranean.

Its name is derived from the Phoenician word Ybosym, island of the god Bes, the protector from snakes, given that on this island there are no harmful animals.

Ybosym became an important redistribution centre on the trade routes between Carthage and its Iberian colonies.

During the Punic Wars it opposed Rome, resisting the siege imposed by Cornelius Scipio the African, but it did not miss the opportunity to make a pact with the Roman Senate when it intuited that Carthage was heading for defeat. Although it changed its name, becoming Ebusus, it remained faithful to its Punic past, Romanization being a slow and gradual process. The Necropolis of Puig d’es Molins is one of the best preserved in the Punic world.

 

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After the fall of the Roman Empire there were times of insecurity due to the Vandal and Byzantine invasions. These lasted until 902 when the Balearic islands were annexed to the caliphate of Cordoba, where they were known as the Eastern Isles of Al-Andalus. The Muslim Berbers brought the islands back into bloom. They produced some famous characters, such as the poet Al-Sabini, and left clear traces on the geographical and human landscape.

 

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The Crown of Aragon, in its expansion at the expense of Muslim territories, occupied what it would call Eivissa, on 8 August 1235, dividing it up between the Catalan feudal lords who took part in the conquest and repopulating it with colonies mainly from Catalonia. A government body for the islands called La Universat, made up of those who knew how to read and write, was placed in charge of public assets like the Salinas salt lakes.

 

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We have a multitude of buildings dating from this period: the first churches, like the current Cathedral, which is dedicated to Saint Mary Major, and another four that also served as fortresses. The water mills along the River Santa Eularia, the inland defence towers, etc.