The Canamunt and the Canavall – Majorca’s Romeo and Juliet Story

Map of the Balearic Islands, 1639.

The 17th century was a very turbulent period in the history of the islands. The islanders had to face frequent attacks from Berber and Turkish pirates. In Palma, Majorca’s capital, daily life was strongly influenced by the ongoing conflict between the two noble families, which divided the city into two hostile territories – the Canamunt and the Canavall. The entire story is strikingly reminiscent of Shakespeare’s tragedy Romeo and Juliet, which was released around the same time. Just like with the Montagues and the Capulets, Nicolau Rossinyol loved Elisabet Anglada, but her family did not approve. The Rossinyols took offence and a battle followed, which resulted into the territory being divided between the two clans. The confrontations sustained over time. In the next phase, alliances were made between the clans and gangs of bandits to strengthen their position and the clashes became more violent. In total, the conflict lasted almost 70 years between 1598 and 1666; however, the banditry persisted until the War of Spanish Succession. Every September 4th, a battle with water guns between the Canamunt and Canavall sides takes place in Palma de Majorca in commemoration of the two opposing sides.

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