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Archipelago (pop., 2001: 841,669), western Mediterranean Sea, constituting an autonomous community and province of Spain. It occupies an area of 1,927 sq mi (4,992 sq km); its capital is Palma. The most important islands are Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza, Formentera, and Cabrera. Long inhabited, the islands were ruled by Carthage in the 6th century BC, by Rome from c. 120 BC, and by the Byzantine Empire from AD 534. Raided by the Arabs, the area was conquered in the 10th century by the Umayyad dynasty at Córdoba. It was reconquered by the Spanish and united with the kingdom of Aragon in 1349. After territorial challenges in the 18th century by the British, the islands came under Spanish rule in 1802. The present-day economy is fueled by tourism.
Variants of BALEARIC ISLANDS
Balearic Islands Spanish Islas Baleares
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Balearic Islands, visit Britannica.com.