The Reconquista and the Late Middle Ages (13th-15th centuries)

The conquest by King Alfons III in 1287 brought about a new change to the island’s economic and administrative model with a feudal system. The island was repopulated with people from various territories around the Crown of Aragon.

Following the alquerias and rafals came cavallerias, large properties with the condition of possessing a horse (cavall, in Catalan) used for their defence, and that the emphyteusis included a piece of land as payment of a levy for the king.

Starting in the 15th century, with Ciutadella as the administrative and ecclesiastical capital, the Universitat General de Menorca (governing body) was established, as well as the three Universitats Foranes (predecessors of city halls): Maó, Alaior and Es Castell de Santa Àgueda, represented by the different social classes. The Santa Maria Church of Ciutadella was erected on the site of the old mosque as a symbol of Christian resurgence.

Menorca was a key territory for the Crown of Aragon’s Mediterranean expansion, and thus became a frequent port of call to provision their ships. This fact favoured trade and the export of wool and cheese, converting livestock farming into the most important productive sector. Menorcan wool, of notable quality, was sold across the kingdom from Barcelona to Florence. Trade guilds and corporations were formed by artisans and merchants in the cities of Ciutadella and Maó.