Cabrera, Balearic Islands

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Cabrera (Latin: Capraia) is one of the minor Balearic Islands belonging to Spain, just south of Mallorca, in the Mediterranean Sea, at approximately 39° 9' N, 3° E.

It is the largest island of a small archipelago that includes (from south to north) the islands of Estells de Fora, L'Imperial, Illa de ses Bledes, Na Redona, Conillera, L'Esponja, Na Plana, Illot Pla, Na Pobra, and Na Foradada.


Cabrera was used to house French prisoners during the Napoleonic Wars. Of 9,000 sent to Cabrera, only 3,600 survived.

Late in 1916 a malfunctioning Austro-Hungarian Navy submarine remained at Cabrera for several hours, and the Spanish government subsequently decided to expropriate the island for defense. It is alleged that Juan March Ordinas, avoiding the blockade, had been selling supplies, including fuel, to submarine personnel, from the area of Cala Ganduf and S'Olla. There was strong international protest, particularly by the British Admirality, as Spain was officially neutral during the First World War.

Cabrera remained a military zone until the 1980s, although from the 1920s some Mallorcan civilians rented out their Cabrera land for agriculture.

In 1936, during the Spanish Civil War, a Republican Dornier Wal D-1 airplane fell near the island. The crew were captured by military nationalist forces, but two Republican submarines (a B2 and B3) sent by order of Pedro Marqués Barber (an old officer and former military Minorca governor) came immediately and the small Cabreran force surrendered. Facundo Flores Horrach (the chief military officer), Mariano Ferrer Bravo (a retired Spanish officer) and three civilians (males of the Suñer Mas family) were taken to Minorca and executed in harbour place named S'Hort d'en Morillo (Mahón). After the failure of Captain Alberto Bayo Column landing in Mallorca, from 15 August to 4 September, the Republicans left Cabrera. Bayo's plan was for the CNT column, stationed in Cabrera, to appear at Dragonera Island just southwest of Mallorca and simulate a false landing. But the anarchist CNT command refused this tactic and later went to Mallorca. A bloody battle destroyed them in Porto Cristo. The rest of this column, fail before arrive and was death on Sa Cabana, just one of Manacor outside point entry.

In 1944, during World War II, a German airplane crashed into the sea close to Cabrera. One of the crew, Johanes Blocher, died.

Cabrera is administratively grouped with Mallorca, and belongs to the municipality of Palma de Mallorca a former Santa Catalina district.

Tourism and ecology

The whole archipelago is a Spanish national park (Parque Nacional del Archipiélago de Cabrera). Cabrera is a cruising destination, and boats may anchor only in the island's natural harbor. Many species survive on Cabrera that are rare around the Balearics, such as dolphins and sea snails. Diving is strictly limited and a license allows for a one day visit only. Excursions to the island are a rare event and are treasured by the diving community. Hiking is available, and there is a tourist information office, a museum, and a 14th-century castle as well as a gift shop and café. The park covers 100 km² (13 km² land) but attracts few visitors due to its remoteness. The permanent population is under 100.

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