The great transformation of the 20th century

With the loss of the American colonies, the 20th century in Menorca began with massive emigration to the Americas due to industrial crisis, primarily that of the footwear industry.
Early in the century, Menorca took part in political events. At the hand of industrial workers, Menorca joined the republican and union movements.

The Second Spanish Republic was celebrated with great enthusiasm. During the Spanish Civil War, Menorca remained on the side of the Republic until nearly the end. Isolated and under threat of bombings by the Italian Air Force, Menorca experienced its worst period with the occupation of the Franco regime, which saw the arrest of around 5,000 individuals, 628 casualties and hundreds more exiled. The post-war period and World War II led to an extremely harsh economic state.

By mid-century, industry had recovered, especially the shoe and fashion jewellery sectors, which gained international renown. Agricultural operations were also modernised, resulting in the progressive abandonment of many farm operations.

The growth of the tertiary sector and the inauguration of the island’s airport in 1969 gave rise to the current economic and social model, with the predominance of tourism as the island’s principal driver.

The arrival of democracy resulted in advancement for political institutions in Menorca. 1979 saw the creation of the Island Council of Menorca, the island’s representative body of reference.

In 1993, the preservation of biodiversity by Menorcan society received recognition from UNESCO, with the declaration of the Menorca Biosphere Reserve.