SÓLLER, A PIECE OF HISTORY
Sóller is possibly the place where one of the oldest settlements of Majorca is found. This is the Cova de Muleta site, which according to radiocarbon analysis could date back to year 4,000 B.C. Here, remains of the endemic goat from Majorca and Minorca Myotragus balearicus were found, which died out about 5,000 years ago. From the Talayotic Culture (1,200 – 650 B.C.), characterized by its stunning stone structures, the Sa Roca Rotja talayot outstands.
Port de Sóller was a strategic trading port during the Roman occupation (123 B.C.). Here, several archaeological remains have been found, such as a Roman anchor that is exhibited in the Museum of Sóller.
Soller’s name comes from the Arabic place-name Sulyar, dating back to the 10th century, which is a sign of the Islamic background of the municipality. The landing in Santa Ponça of the troops of king Jaume I from the Catalan- Aragonese Crow, which occurred in 1,229, gave way to the end of the Islamic period when the Christian conquest of Majorca was accomplished.
During the 15th century and up until the 18th century, several disembarkations occurred in the territory, making a tragic impact that still today remains in the memory and culture of the sollerics (lacal people). They were incursions of pirates from the north of Africa who attacked villages close to the Mediterranean coast. In order to prevent and warn of these attacks, the entire islands was set up with a defence system based on watchtowers, like the ones found in the Port: Torre Picada and Port de Sóller castle (commonly known as Sa Torre). In May 1561, a terrible incursion took place, whose Christian victory against the pirates is commemorated every year in May through a very popular celebration known as the Moros I Cristians battle.
The municipality’s geographic isolation with respect to rest of the island, considering that reaching the Coll de Sóller pass used to be a real handicap for the municipality’s communications, motivated a great commercial activity with France through Port de Sóller, established during the 19th century, where the reputable citruses of the municipatily were exported, as well as almonds, figs… and French products along with certain French features were acquired. This fact invigorated the economy in an extraordinary way and caused diverse migratory movements (in 1835 and 1865). Once the 20th century arrived, and with the aim to avoid the municipality’s isolation, a railway line communicating Sóller with Palma going to through 13 tunnels across the mountains was created, which allowed both of the cities to intensify their commercial relations. This infrastructure is nowadays an important tourist attraction and is without a doubt the most fascinating way to reach Sóller. The appearance of the city at the present time, a cosmopolitan city with modernist influences, is the result of the blooming times of solleric economy.
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