Excursion to the black history of Cabrera

May 20, 2016
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It is very frequent between tourists that visit Mallorca to spend a day on the island of Cabrera. This little island has an area of about 17 square km and it’s located about one hour away from Mallorca by boat. Not too many years ago, Cabrera was inhabited by mallorquin families that were in charge of cultivating the agricultural land. One of these families, the most well known, is the Feliu family, who started cultivating the vine on the island. A reminiscence of that is the cellar that they built and that is now a part of the Museum of Cabrera.

In 1916, the islands became property of the Army, in other words, it was taken from the Feliu family. The reasons were that the island was required for national defense causes. Back then it was already known that it was located in a very strategic region. The Spanish government was suspicious as some reports informed that some German submarines with Austro-Hungarian flags had been spotted around that area. If we take into account the historical context, the accusations to the well known banker Joan March, make a lot of sense.

After many years under the Spanish Army’s domain, finally in 1991, the archipelago of Cabrera was first designated as a Natural Park. Maybe tourists that visit it aren’t aware of the dark history hidden behind it, as before the Feliu family moved over there, very spooky things happened.

In 1808, the Independence war in Spain starts, in which at the Bailen battle about 18000 french soldiers were captured and made prisoners with the aim of taking them to Cádiz. However, somewhere along the way there was a change of opinion which changed the destiny of 9000 of those prisoners.

Those 9000 prisoners were taken to Cabrera where the first Spanish concentration camp in history started. The island served as a prison without bars. The hunger, the disastrous hygienic conditions and the delays in the food deliveries from Mallorca resulted in deaths by starvation, by eating venomous plants and even cannibalism. It is known that from all the soldiers that were sent to Cabrera, only 3600 survived.

We suggest you make the visit with a guide that can tell you the extended version of all the facts while you pass through the spots were they all happened. It will be like travelling in time.

There are many different options to arrive to Cabrera, though obviously all of them are on a boat. Among these options, there are longer or shorter tours that even stop on other interesting places along the way or some that offer more services than the others. We suggest that you don’t pay more than the strictly necessary which is normally between 35€ and 45€. When paying this, you get a ticket to visit the island of Cabrera and the unique opportunity to swim in the famous Blue Cave (Cova Blava). We strongly recommend for you to choose this extra, as it is well worth it. To swim in the crystalline water of such a beautiful cave is an incredible experience that you must enjoy at least once in your life.

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