Al Hawlani, a powerful Moor,
first visited Mallorca on his way to Mecca when a storm blew his ships off course. He returned on sundry
raids and incursions and eventually convinced the Emir of Cordoba to conquer the Balearic Islands. He
commanded the fleet himself. As a reward, he was made governor of the Island. Significant changes took
place in the town of Palma, which became known as Medina Mayurqa. The Almudaina Palace was built, as
were mosques and public baths. The Moors introduced new crops such as rice, artichokes and saffron and
built intricate qânats or watering systems to irrigate them. Some of these are still in use today.
In addition, they built dry-stone walls in the mountains to utilise all available land. Medina Mayurqa
became a prosperous trading port and a leading Mediterranean city of culture and wealth. There was complete
freedom of religion, with Moslems, Jews and Christians coexisting side by side.
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The Islands were no longer dependent
on the Emirate of Cordoba and became part of the Emirate of Denia.
The conflicts and squabbles between
the taifas on Mainland Spain led to the Islands becoming an independent Emirate. Mobaxir, (1093-1114)
the second of these independent Emirs built the walls of the town to protect the populace from Christian attacks.
Piracy was widespread. Indeed, it became the Island’s chief source of revenue.
A mixed force of Catalans and soldiers
from Pisa in Italy, led by the Conde Ramon Berenguer III, captured Palma, after an eight-month siege, liberated 30,000
Christians and sacked the town - some of the booty they removed can still be seen in Pisa. They also took the Emir
Burabe prisoner. However, problems In his own lands led to the Conde returning home and the Island reverted to Moorish rule.
The Almoravides, an Islamic sect of Berbers
from the Sahara, who originally came to Mallorca in support of the beleaguered Arabs during the siege of Palma,
established themselves on the Island. Their first Governor, Wahur, attempted to move the capital inland but met such
fierce opposition that he was forced to abandon the idea.
By now, the Almohades, another Islamic sect,
were in power and the Island was undergoing a period of such prosperity that it had begun to attract the attention of the Catalonians.
Abu Yahya became the last Moorish leader of Mallorca.
At this point the town had three important mosques, nowadays the Cathedral, and the churches of Santa Eularia and Sant Miquel.
In addition, there were 3,943 houses, 48 bakeries, 52 shops, 186 gardens and 2 cemeteries as well as several smaller mosques.