The Balearic Islands (English / /; Catalan: Illes Balears [iz as]; Spanish: Islas Baleares [islas aleaes]) are an archipelago of Spain in the western Mediterranean Sea, near the eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula.
The four largest islands are: Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza and Formentera. The archipelago forms an autonomous community and a province of Spain, with Palma de Mallorca as the capital. The co-official languages in the Balearic Islands are Catalan and Spanish. The current Statute of Autonomy declares the Balearic Islands as one nationality of Spain.
The official name of the Balearic Islands in Catalan is Illes Balears, while in Spanish they are known as the Islas Baleares. The term “Balearic” derives from Greek (/Gymnesiae and /Balliareis). In Latin (Baleares).
Of the various theories on the origins of the two ancient Greek and Latin names for the islands Gymnasiae and Baleares classical sources provide two.
According to the Lycophron’s Alexandra verses, the islands were called /Gymnesiae (/gymnos, meaning naked in Greek) because its inhabitants were often nude, probably because of the year-round benevolent climate.
The Greek and Roman writers generally derive the name of the people from their skill as slingers (/baleareis, from /ballo: ancient Greek meaning “to launch”), although Strabo regards the name as of Phoenician origin. He observed it was the Phoenician equivalent for lightly armoured soldiers the Greeks would have called /gymnetas. The root bal does point to a Phoenician origin; perhaps the islands were sacred to the god Baal[original research?] and the resemblance to the Greek root (in /ballo) is accidental. Indeed it was usual Greek practice to assimilate local names into their own language. But the common Greek name of the islands is not /Baleareis, but /Gymnesiai. The former was the name used by the natives, as well as by the Carthaginians and Romans, while the latter probably derives from the light equipment of the Balearic troops /gymnetae.
The main islands of the autonomous community are Majorca (Mallorca), Minorca (Menorca), Eivissa (Ibiza) and Formentera, all of which are popular tourist destinations. Among the minor islands is Cabrera, which is the location of the Parc Nacional de l’Arxiplag de Cabrera.
The islands can be further grouped, with Majorca, Minorca, and Cabrera as the Gymnesian Islands (Illes Gimnsies), and Ibiza and Formentera as the Pityusic Islands (Illes Pitises officially in Catalan), also referred to as the Pityuses (or sometimes informally in English as the Pine Islands). There are many minor islands or islets close to the biggest islands, such as Es Conills, Es Vedr, Sa Conillera, Dragonera, S’Espalmador, S’Espardell, Ses Bledes, Santa Eulria, Plana, Foradada, Tagomago, Na Redona, Colom, L’Aire, etc.
The Balearic Front is a sea density regime north of the Balearic Islands on the shelf slope of the Balearic Islands, which is responsible for some of the surface flow characteristics of the Balearic Sea.
Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, the Balearic Islands unsurprisingly have typical Mediterranean climates. The below-listed climatic data of the capital Palma is typical for the archipelago, with minor differences to other stations in Majorca, Ibiza and Menorca.
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Balearic Islands – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia