HISTORICAL DESCRIPTION OF COSTITX

Nineteen archaeological sites have been discovered in the municipality of Costitx. Proportionately, it is one of the towns of Mallorca with the highest number of archaeological sites per square metre. The remains are scattered around the present-day town. You can observe different typologies. However, the most outstanding site is Santuari de Son Corró. The discoveries made in the site provide information about the habits of the population from the Prehistory to the Roman period.

The development of grape and cereal harvest began during the Roman period and it continued during the Arab rule. Costitx was part of the Islamic juz’ (district) of Qanarusa (Canarrossa), together with Sencelles, Santa Eugènia, Santa Maria, Consell, Binissalem and Alaró. It was inhabited by the Berber tribe of the Zanata.

Little is known about the Muslim period. The most outstanding elements are the discovery of pottery, the construction of fountains such as sa Sínia or pou de Castell d’Amós and the increase of cultivated land devoted to cereals, vegetables and livestock. The growing presence of flax, hemp, figs, carob beans, prickly pears and sheep transformed this area into an area of high agricultural and livestock production.

King Jaume I conquered Mallorca in 1229 without facing much resistance. He distributed the land in 1232 and gave the district of Canarrossa to Gastó de Montcada, the Viscount of Bearn. He later gave the estate of Costitx to Arnau de Santacília. The estate was bought by Bernat de Berga in 1458.

It is worth noting that after the conquest, Ferrer de Sant Martí, provost of Tarragona, established Costitx as the parish of the district of Canarrossa. Arnau de Santacília built the parish chapel of Nostra Senyora de Costitx between1236 and 1238. But as a result of the geographical location of Costitx, on one side of the district, the parish was soon transfered to Sencelles. It was the beginning of a religious and political dependence from Sencelles. The Chapel of Nostra Senyora de Costitx was maintained and rebuilt in 1449. The social uprisings of the 15th and 16th centuries had little effect on the municipality. However, as regards to the peasant uprising of 1450, there are documents proving that Sencelles had to pay compensations to the citizens.

Throughout the 17th century, the tensions between Costitx and Sencelles were constant. The disputes continued until they came to the notice of the ecclesiastical curia, which passed a sentence in favour of Costitx. A year later, the reserve of the Holy Sacrament was reinstated in Costitx. The first baptisms, marriages and funeral were held. At that time the town consisted of 121 houses, not counting those scattered in the hamlets of Binitat, Jornets and Ruberts. Because of the growing demand for these ceremonies and an increase in the population the church was in urgent need of reconstruction. The construction works began in 1695 and finished on 15 November 1706.

The War of Succession culminated in the signing of a document in 1715 that recorded the surrender of Archduke Carlos of Austria to Felipe of Bourbon. As a result the King established the famous Nova Planta Decree, which submitted the island’s policy to a strictly centralist monarchical system. The Constitution of Cádiz of 1812 introduced a new government system for municipal institutions. As a consequence, the town of Costitx gained independence from Sencelles. Joan Vallespir —Dalmau— was the first constitutional mayor.

But with the abolition of the Constitution in 1814 Costitx lost its independence. Neither political nor ideological tensions flared up but there was a feeling of disenchantment with the new situation because the town reverted to its former status quo. Costitx depended once more from Sencelles. In 1820, the Costitx Town Hall was reestablished as a result of the government system introduced during the “Liberal triennium”. Antoni Vallespir —Dalmau—, Joan Vallespir —Dalmau-—i Pere Amengual —Quiam were mayors during this period. Sencelles did not endorse the independence of Costitx putting forward economic reasons. Two sides were formed, Costitx and Sencelles. They sent reports to the regional council trying to defend their positions.

The ominous decade (1823-1833) of the reign of King Fernando VII brought with it a return to the former situation in which Costitx was dependent from Sencelles. But this time the tensions between the two towns were more acute. In 1845 a petition was presented to form an independent Town Hall. The supporters of the petition continued in this way until the Regional Council awarded a territorial division in 1855. On 4 February 1858, Queen Isabel II dictated a Royal Order that granted municipal independence to the town of Costitx. Between 1858 and 1868 there was a series of unsuccessful attempts on the part of Costitx to integrate the hamlets surrounding the town in the municipality.

The Toen Council rented the building housing the new Town Hall. In 1866 it bought the Town Hall building. In the 19th century the conservative and liberal parties alternated in power. There was a peaceful alternation in the post of Mayor between Martí Amengual Alenyar and Sebastià Amengual de Haro. The Republican Union Committee was constituted in 1899. It won an important number of votes in the 1901-1903 elections. The Catholic Workers’ Circle was created in 1907. Costitx finally gained total independence from Sencelles in 1913, when it was formed a parish.

Unió Patriòtica de Costitx (Costitx Patriotic Union) was founded in 1924, during Primo de Rivera’s dictatorship. “Caciquismo” (political bossism) was a dominant force during the period of the Restoration and prevailed continued to be so , endured. It even influenced the election of local representatives during the 2nd Spanish Republic. The Costitx Local Committee of the Mallorcan Republican Federal Party was created in 1931. The local far right organized itself around the Acción Popular Agraria de Mallorca Party, which was founded in 1933. The local delegation of Falange Española was created on 9 April 1936. The supporters of the military coup took control of the Republican Town Hall. Llorenç Ramis Gelabert -des Port- was appointed Mayor.

Furthermore, it is important to mention the political repression unleashed during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). An example of this was the execution of the Republican Mayor Pere Vallespir —Bubo. After the war and during Franco’s dictatorship, the former Republican councillors and the public servants and teachers that had held a post during the Republic had to undergo behaviour exams. Maria Antònia Munar Riutort has been the Mayor of Costitx from the first democratic election in 1979 to the present day. She belonged first to the Unión de Centro Democrático (UCD) and later to Unió Mallorquina (UM). From the first moment the People’s Party (PP) has been in the oppostion and has been present in the Costitx Town Hall. The Partit Socialista de Mallorca (PSM) was also an opposition party in previous terms during the last decades. But the local branch of the party broke up. In the past years, Costitx has improved and created new municipal infrastructures. The population has increased, as have the social and leisure activities.