Home / History & Culture / General Franco and the Making of Menorca

General Franco and the Making of Menorca

In the Balearic Sea, the island of Ibiza pulses with music and nightlife, while in Mallorca, holidaymakers putt on lush golf courses next to high-rise apartment complexes. But on Menorca, things are relatively quiet, almost completely unspoilt by the decades of mass tourism that have developed Ibiza and Mallorca. This curious phenomenon can be traced to an unlikely source – General Francisco Franco.

Menorca's untouched natural beauty

Menorca and the Spanish Civil War

In 1936, Spain was plunged into a civil war that was to last for the next three years. Both Mallorca and Ibiza supported General Franco and the Nationalist faction. However, Menorca staunchly supported the Spanish Republican government, until the island was taken by the Nationalists in 1939.

The New Regime

In the aftermath of the war, Franco was determined to punish his former enemies and all who had previously resisted him. The harsh reprisals of the post-Civil War era are still being investigated to this day. On our country oasis, Franco demonstrated his wrath by refusing the island any access to public building funds during his 36 years in power. While Mallorca and Ibiza went through a development boom in the 1960s and 1970s, things in Menorca remained the same.

An Untouched Island

Franco’s grudge was in many ways a boon. While its Balearic brothers have become cluttered with high-rises, bars, and apartment complexes, Menorca’s comparative lack of development has allowed its natural beauty to flourish. In 1993, it was declared a UNESCO biosphere reserve, a designation that brought international recognition to its many and varied ecosystems.

If you visit today, you will find an island unspoiled by mass tourism. Because of Franco’s grudge, this country haven has retained an old-world feel you won’t find anywhere else in the Balearics. If you’re keen to see how the island can take you back in time, get in touch with us to discuss the best time to visit!


Menorca’s Age of Piracy

Menorca and its neighbouring islands haven’t always been the oases of calm that they are now. Find out more about their history of piracy.

Fiesta Season in Alaior

For a small town, Alaior knows how to throw a big party! Find out more about the fiesta season.

Traces of Menorca’s Ancient History

The island of Menorca holds a secret. Find out about the ancient structures that have the key to the island's past.