150 years after the Muslim conquest of the Balearic Islands, there is still an important Mozarabic population that conserves their churches and their Christian faith, and that practices it freely.
On December 26, 1057, the King Ali Iqbal al-Dawla of the Taifa of Denia granted the bishop of Barcelona, Guislabert, a legal document , in which he gave jurisdiction over the dioceses and Christian faithful of his kingdom, which included the Balearic Islands, Denia and Alicante.
Probably not only they kept their faith, but also their language. But not only Mozarabs (Christians), they kept their language.
That part of the indigenous population converted to Islam does not mean that they also abandoned their language (jarchas). In addition they could perfectly have spoken their Romance language and the Arabic language, in the same way that during so many years the Majorcan and the Spanish language have been spoken.
Documents about the life of the Mozarabs of the Iberian Peninsula, indicate that although they could freely practice their religion, they lived a kind of ghettos where they also had their churches. The condition imposed by the Muslims was that they could not build new churches or reform existing ones, besides paying a tax ( yizia ) for practicing their faith, something that Muslims did not have to do.
If this happened in the Iberian Peninsula, it did not have to be different in the Balearic Islands.
As happened in the Iberian Peninsula, the Muslim conquest did not mean the displacement of the native population to repopulate with the population of the conquerors, but the change of the lords who ruled at that time, in the case of the Balearic Islands the Byzantines, by the new lords, the Arabs.
As it is to be assumed, the native population would continue using their own language to communicate , although over time, Arabic words and expressions will be integrated into their language.
It is estimated that the contribution of North African and Arab population in the Iberian Peninsula could be at most 10%, so it is to be assumed that in the Balearic Islands this percentage was much lower, and concentrated mainly in the capital, Medina Mayurca (Palma).
While in the rest of the island, it was in its immense majority autochthonous population, who practiced their Muslim, Christian or Jewish religion, freely or in privacy, and spoke their own Romance language, as it happened 100 years ago in Majorca with Spanish language and the Majorcan language.
Why come to some islands in the middle of the sea to 2 or 4 days of trip in the boats of that time, when they had so fertile and rich territories as Valencia, Murcia or Andalusia?
Let us think that the most fertile area of Majorca is the one that surrounds the Sierra de Tramuntana, which is where more rain is recorded, and where the Majorcan Muslims created terraces to take advantage of even the smallest fertile land of the Sierra, while the rest of the island, except for a few exceptions, was an area of garrigue and pine forest that was not very productive agriculturally.
Probably life went by without too many conflicts between communities. Recall that in addition to Muslims and Christians (Mozarabic), there was also a Jewish community, which like the Christian, lived in their own ghetto.
One of the practices that was most harshly punished was Christian proseletism, that is, trying to convince a non-Christian to adopt the Christian faith.
Being a Muslim had advantages and privileges that caused many Christians to Islamize, real or in a feigned way, without having to be forced.
During the centuries VIII to X, when almost the whole Iberian Peninsula has succumbed to Islam, the Balearic Islands remains outside the Arab domain and retains its Christian faith, although according to some historians has some kind of vassalage with Muslim Hispania. However there are documents that confirm that in the year 799 receives the protection of the Carolingian Empire, and throughout the ninth century will be part of it, along with the Catalan counties and Occitania, and will remain within Christianity.
At the beginning of the tenth century (year 903), the Muslims conquer the Islands. An important number of Balearic population flees towards Christian territory, mainly to the county of Empuries, with that maintained political and religious bonds.
However, as we said at the beginning of this work, in 1057, after more than 150 years of the Muslim conquest, there are documents that prove that in the Balearic Islands there is still an important Christian population that conserves its churches and practices its faith freely.
Life had to pass peacefully, until in August 1114, a Christian fleet composed mainly of Pisans and Catalans attacked Majorca, taking control of the islands.
However, this conquest could not be consolidated, due to the Almoravid attack on Barcelona, which caused the Catalan troops to leave the islands precipitously. What caused that in 1116, the arrival of an Almoravid fleet to the islands, the remaining Christian troops (Pisans) fled, but not before taking away all the riches they could.
The Almoravids were stricter in religious matters and more intolerant of Christians, which surely made life harder for the Mozarabs.
We must bear in mind that in the Iberian Peninsula, the Mozarabs, feeling pressured by the Arabs could flee to the Christian kingdoms, however for the Mozarabs of the Balearic Islands, being islands, this was practically impossible.
However, documents found in the peninsula, tell us about the difficult relationship of the Mozarabic (Christians) with the Almoravids, but they also tell us that over time, the strict Almoravid religiosity was relaxing and the relationship with the Mozarabic population was much easier.
In the Almoravid Balearic Islands, in which the Banu Ghaniya family ruled , there were some episodes of instability in which Christian sectors were involved, and in which the Almoravid governor of the Islands was assassinated. Historians have related them to Christian slaves, but other historians like Rosselló Bordoy do not rule out that they are native Christians. The tendency of sectors politically interested has always been to despise any Mozarabic trace of the Balearic Islands, but historical documents and new findings contradict Catalanism time and time again.
After almost 90 years of Almoravid rule, after 3 or 4 generations, the Almoravid population was fully integrated into the islands, and as in the Iberian Peninsula, the Mozarabs of the Balearics, although with difficulty, continued to profess their faith.
However in 1203, the Almoravid domain is replaced by the Almohads, the Almoravid governor Abdala Banu Ganiya is beheaded and his head sent to Morocco inside a box. The Almohads were more radical in their faith and more intransigent with Christianity. We could find a similarity between the Almohads and the current ISIL.
Many Mozarabs of the Iberian Peninsula are forced to abandon their faith, or marched to the Christian kingdoms. The documents of that moment tell us how the Mozarabs under the Almohad dynasty simulated their conversion to Islam, while in private they remained faithful to their Christian faith.
The displeasure with the radical attitude of the Almohads, not only affected the Christians, the Muslims did not agree with this religious fundamentalism.
In the taifa de Murcia we have Muhammad_ibn_Mardanis, the Wolf King, a Muslim who had in his army a large number of Christians, who fought with him against the Almohads.
In the Balearics, the same thing must have happened in the Iberian Peninsula, and the Mozarabs simply feigned their conversion to Islam. We must also bear in mind that the Almohads were only 26 years in the Balearic Islands, since in December 1229, the Christians of James I of Aragon conquered the islands.
Upon the arrival of Christian troops in Majorca. The population of the island was in a situation of great instability, due to the fundamentalist attitude of the new Almohad lords.
The Almohad defeat in the Battle of the Navas de Tolosa in 1212, signifies the beginning of the end of the Almohad power. They are expelled from the Iberian Peninsula, but not by Christian troops but by Hispanic Muslims, fed up with their religious fundamentalism.
Most returned to Africa, but some came to Majorca, as the Muslim governor of the islands, the Vali Abu Yahya, also belonged to this sect. And as it is related to us in the Tariq Mayurka, a document found a few years ago in the Maghreb (Arab version of the Christian conquest of Majorca) , Abu Yahya governed with wisdom until the Almohad refugees put the Vali of Majorca against the Andalusian population of the island.
So we can say that the Almohad repression against the Majorcan population, including Christians, did not really begin until this moment.
In this document he tells us the version of the Muslims in the capture of Majorca, and the social instability that lived the island by the Almohad attitude, we could even speak of pre-civil war.
Abu Yahya suffered at least one assassination attempt by Majorcan soldiers. Soldiers and civilians fled the city to the mountains for fear of reprisals.
Meanwhile, the Christian chronicle relates that upon the arrival of James I, Abu Yahya, vali of Majorca, was about to end the life of 50 notables of the island and upon learning of the arrival of Christians, he freed them.
In this document, in the paragraph on internal disputes , he tells us about the displeasure of the Andalusian population . It does not speak of Arabs, Maghrebis or Berbers. With the term Andalusi, we can understand that it refers to the indigenous population prior to the Muslim conquest.
In a work by the historian Álvaro Santamaría, he tells us about the ease with which many Muslims, after the Christian conquest, converted to Christianity. Probably, they never really left him.
If we read the different Christian chronicles about the conquest, a very important character appears in this story, although it has not been given the attention it deserves. This is Ben Abet, Lord of Pollença, he and his followers will provide a fundamental service for the triumph of Christians. They will provide supplies and inform about what happens inside the walls of Medina Mayurka. He is described by James I as an angel from heaven.
In the Arabic chronicle of the conquest, it is given the importance it deserves, they describe him as a traitor and an apostate. They are the followers of Ben Abet who arrest and deliver to the Christians to the group of Muslims who leave Medina Mayurka (Palma), to convince the rural population to unite against the Christians, and it is Ben Abet who, according to the Arabic chronicle, deceives the Muslims Telling them that Christianity and Islam are the same, so that they accept the new situation.
We should ask ourselves, who is really Ben Abet, if not the head of the Mozarabic Christian resistance? Forced to convert to Islam by the Almohad fanatics, as also happened in the Iberian Peninsula. Recall that in the chronicle of Bernat Desclot , Ben Abet invites Nuño Sanchez, Count of Rosselló, to spend the Christmas holidays in his house in Pollensa (North of Majorca). And when the conquest has triumphed, he and his whole family converted to Christianity by adopting the Bennassar family name, and receiving important possessions both in rural areas and in the capital.
Once Christianity took power on the islands, the Christian natives were able to freely practice their faith again, and drew their Christian images and symbols from the place where they had been hidden.
It is said that the Virgen de Lluch (the original was a Paleo-Christian carving), was unearthed after the Christian conquest, the current virgin is a different Gothic image than the original, the original could be a seated virgin, similar to the Virgin of Lloseta or the Virgin of Sant Llorens, who belong to the Romanesque. Both were also found after the Christian conquest.
The central pillar, which supports the main altar of the cathedral of Palma, of Byzantine origin, was also found after the Christian conquest.
Lluch was already a Christian holy place long before the arrival of the Muslims. Lluch in Latin means sacred forest (Lucus).
It is documented that 35 years after the Christian conquest, in 1265, Valentí Ses Torres, in his testament, cedes the image of the Virgin of Lluch to the chapel of Lluch. Shortly after, in 1273, one Guillen Sacoma, tired of the inconvenience caused by the large number of pilgrims arriving in Lluch to adore the Virgin, returns the piece of land that surrounds the original chapel to its former owner, Bernat d 'Olm.
In the area of Lluch-Pollensa it is proven that there were caves where Christian rites were performed during the Muslim period.
Throughout the Muslim period there is a background sound, like a rumor, that although it is not clearly seen, it is perceived to be there. It is the Christian aboriginal population, it has been despised and even ignored, especially by some politically interested sectors.
It is as if we submerge a float in the water. It is not seen on the surface, but it is glimpsed through the water, with a distorted shape. But as the force to keep it under water decreases, the float rises, and its image, as it approaches the surface, becomes less distorted until it floats.
In the same way, as the Catalanist forces are losing strength, as reason and common sense are imposed, We will see how the true history of the Christian population of the Balearic Islands will be revealed to us through the 300 years of Balearic Al-Andalus.
In the summer of 2015 were discovered in the ruins of the ancient Pollentia, north of Majorca, Christian tombs (translation) dating from the time of Muslim rule. Something that frontally contradicts the Catalanist theory about the non-existence of the Christian population at that time, since it not only proves that they existed but they also maintained their Christian rites.
They say that history is written by the winners. But if you are a loser with enough money to buy renegades and traitors, and put them in strategic positions, such as education, politics, media, justice... You can rewrite history at your convenience.