The Garden Guide

Book: Journey and Embassy to Samarkand
Chapter: Ruy Gonzalez De Clavijo

Formentera and Ibiza Islands

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On Saturday, at daylight, she was off an island called Formentera, which is uninhabited, and in sight of the island of Ibiza; and she was in this place until Tuesday, sailing off and on, and unable to double a cape, so as to reach the port of Ibiza, as the wind was foul: but on the said Tuesday, in the afternoon, they brought the carrack into port, being the 5th of June; and the captain discharged the merchandize which he brought, and got some salt on board. They remained in this port until Friday, as the wind was contrary; but on Wednesday, the 13th, they were under weigh, though the vessel was becalmed until the following Friday. This island of Ibiza is small, being five leagues long and three broad. On the day they arrived the ambassadors landed, and the governor, who was there for the king of Aragon, appointed them lodgings, and sent them men and beasts to convey them to the town. The island is a mass of hills covered with brushwood, and the town is built on a high hill near the sea, having three walls, and a castle on the most elevated part. The church is opposite to this castle, and has a high tower, and the town and castle are enclosed by one wall. In this island there are salt pans, where they make very fine salt from the water of the sea, which flows into them. These salt pans yield a great revenue, as many ships come from the Levant every year to get a cargo of salt. On the wall of the town there is a tower, which they call the tower of Avicena; and they say that Avicena was a native of this island; and on the walls and towers there are engines for casting stones, which the King Don Pedro caused to be used when he held the walls. {The Balearic islands were occupied by the Moors for four centuries. In 1229 James, king of Aragon, took Majorca, and pulled the Moorish king's beard, but his invasion, and subsequent flights of the Moorish inhabitants to Granada, reduced the population one half. James added much to the capital town of Palma, and built the cathedral. In 1232 he conquered Minorca, and in 1256 he established his younger son James in these islands, who became king of them by virtue of his father's will in 1276. In 1285 Alonzo, his nephew, a son of the king of Aragon, drove him out of the islands, and also conquered Ibiza ; but James was restored at the peace in 1291, paying tribute to his nephew, James II of Aragon. His title was James, king of the Mallorcas and Count of Roussillon and Montpelier. He was succeeded by his son Sancho, who governed the islands peaceably, and died in 1324 without children. The king of Aragon then gave the islands to James, son of Sancho's brother Ferdinand, and the young king married Constantia, daughter of Alonzo III of Aragon. The young king James was finally deprived of his islands by Pedro IV of Aragon in 1345, and he died the following year. His son James married Joan of Naples in 1362, and, joining the Black Prince at Bordeaux, went with him to Castille, where he died in 1375. After 1345, and at the time Clavijo visited Ibiza , the islands were governed by officers appointed by the kings of Aragon}