Deià. Set in a valley populated since prehistoric times because of abundant springs, caves and game, Deià aquired its name ad-daia (“hamlet``) during the Islamic occupation (X-XI centuries) during which time as prosperous agriculture was established thanks to the terracing of the land and a sophisticated irrigation and drainage system, still in use today. After The Christian conquest, Deià was awarded to the Count of Rosselló as part of Valldemossa, and in 1239 a Cistercian monastery (whose symbols persist in the Deià shield) was built at ca l’Abat, and another at Son Rul•làn, close by Miramar where the philosopher Raymond Lully (Ramón Llull) founded his missionary school.
In 1583 Deià gained independence from Valldemossa; during the Midle Ages the olive cultivation, established by the Moslems or perhaps earlier by the Romans, expanded enormously, and the terraces extended up to almost 2000 ft above sea-level. The village grew with its back to the sea, protecting itself from the north wind and the attacks of the Barbary pirates, dedicating itself to fishing, olive oil, citrus fruit and sheep farming. In the high oak forests, among the lime-kilns and charcoal-burners huts, pigs were fattened on acorns; even on the mountain top wheat was cultivated and, in winter, snow packed to form blocks of ice for medicinal purposes. The population grew to 1,500 inhabitants.
As from the end of the nineteenth century, thanks to its natural beauty and cheap and simple way to its natural beauty and cheap and simple way of life, Deià began to be frequented by romantics, bohemians and artists such as the Archduke Ludwig Salvator, the composer De Falla, the illustrator Arthur Rackham, the poets Robert Graves, Laura Riding and James Reeves and countless others. Many stayed here forever, as a visit to the churchyard will attest. Today Deià has over 700 registered inhabitants, working mainly in construction and tourism but also in agriculture, crafts and fine arts.
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