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The island

The evidence of a stable and thriving population in Formentera is documented back to the end of the third millennium A.C., though the start of occupation on the island remains unknown. This period gave fruit to the megalithic sepulchre of Ca na Costa. With slightly later chronology are the historical sites of Cap de Barbaria I, II and III, also belonging to the prehistoric period. From the numerous archaeological findings proving occupation in ancient times, the archaeological site of Can Blai is particularly noteworthy: a fort from the Imperial Roman period. 

Following the Islamic period, Eivissa and Formentera began to form part of the Crown of Aragon, in 1235. But difficulties in settling new populations on the island were worsened from the second half of the 14th century, due to the effects of the Black Death then later, the threat of piracy. Numerous efforts were made to repopulate Formentera, but none were established until the end of the 17th century. This is when the process was effectively carried through, reinforced throughout the 18th century with people from Eivissa.

The second half of the 20th century was a period of strong and rapid transformations, with a direct impact on environmental, social and cultural levels. From previously traditional lifestyles, marked by a self-sufficient trending economy, there was an evolution towards a system based on the tourism service sector as the key economic driving force, a fact which led to a progressive abandoning of traditional practices in favour of others, more fitting to a globalised world. Tourism radically changed the island’s economy and society. 

To find out more about the history of Formentera, consult the Encyclopaedia of Eivissa and Formentera, as well as the bibliography listed below this text. You may also be interested in the information in our Heritage Catalogue, visiting the Formentera Ethnographical Collection or getting to know the Formentera Image and Sound Archive. 


  • COLOMAR Ferrer, Santiago, Formentera a l’època contemporània (1782-2007). Edicions Documenta Balear (Col·lecció “Quaderns d’història contemporània de les Balears” ; 65), Palma (Illes Balears), 2009. ISBN 978-84-92703-21-0
  • GORDILLO Courcières, José Luis, Un combate naval en Formentera. Editor José Luis Gordillo Courcières, Valencia, 1993. ISBN 84-600-5533-5
  • PARRON i Guasch, Artur, La guerra civil a Eivissa i Formentera (1936-1939). Edicions Documenta Balear (Col·lecció “Quaderns d’història contemporània de les Balears” ; 21), Palma (Illes Balears), 2000. ISBN 84-89068-76-7
  • MARI Cardona, Joan, Illes Pitiüses III. Formentera. Institut d’Estudis Eivissencs, Eivissa, 1983. ISBN 84-00-05362-1