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Santa Margalida

santa margalida mallorcaPeople have lived in Santa Margalida for over 1,000 years and there are over 150 excavations in the area dating from the Talayot period. There is also evidence of Roman settlement at a place known as Hero, south of the village. During the Moorish period the area became part of a large estate called Abenmaaxbar and the land was turned into fertile fields full of cereal crops.

Following the conquest the estate was given to the Bishop of Tarragona and the first parish church of Santa Margalida was built on top of the low hill. The legend of Santa Margarita dates is Arabic and it starts with a beautiful and innocent princess who was taken prisoner by a dragon. She used her charms and seductive eyes to bring the dragon under her power until she was in control. A village soon grew up on the slopes around the church but when it burnt down in the 14th Century, the people had to wait another 300 years before a new one was built. The highly decorated door remembers 1679, the date it was blessed.

The 17th Century was difficult time for the people of Santa Margalida. King Felipe IV granted Pedro Zaforteza the title Count of Santa Maria de Formiguera and when he died his twelve year old son Ramon inherited the title. He also inherited his father's desire to impose feudal rights and as he reached adulthood he hired henchmen to intimidate the townspeople.

santa margalida mallorcaWhen Balthasar Calafat led a revolt against the tax rises in 1647, Zaforteza had him killed in his own house. It was the final straw for the people of Santa Margalida and the Evil Count as he was known escaped to his isolate Galatzo estate on the far side of the island (check out the Galatzo webpage to learn more).

One of the leading translators of India's sacred texts came from Santa Margalida. Joan Mascaró Fornés (1897-1987) studied oriental languages at Cambridge University, England and after teaching in Sri Lanka he became Professor of English at Barcelona University. He was forced to escape to England during the Spanish Civil War and it was there that he spent 20 years translating Hindu texts, called Upanishads, into English, including a 700 verse summary called the Bhagavad Gita and the Dhammapada.

Another Santa Margalida son is Juan March Ordinas, banker, trader and entrepreneur. You can find a branch of the Banca March in every town and village across Mallorca. If you want to find out more about this colourful character, check out the Juan March webpage in the famous people section.

There is a statue of Santa Catalina Tomàs in the main square and the town holds a fiesta in her memory on the 1st Sunday in September. The town's fiesta is held around 20 July. The Evil Count lived in the large residence opposite the parochial house, on the road between the plaza and the church. There are fine views from the square next to the church over Santa Margalida's fertile fields, across to the Tramuntana Mountains.

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