As it happened to all the other Balearic Islands, also Formentera has seen on its shores the landing of all the peoples of the Mediterranean. Several studies trace the first island settlements to the Bronze Age. Testimony of this first human presence is the megalithic site of Ca Na Costa, dating between 1900 and 1600 BC and it discovered in 1974. It is an important funerary complex that, for the use of materials and construction model, confirms the existence of a first stable and well organized island population. Subsequent historical references refer to a long period in which the island has been completely abandoned, and later became a land of conquest for the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans and Visigoths.
Middle and Modern Age
The Romans left the island its current name; Frumentaria called it, for the large amount of wheat that it land offered. Along with the name they have left the Castle of Can Pins (or Can Blai), a building of defensive or residential character. Despite the many dominations, it is only with the eleventh century, with the Arab conquest of Spain, that also Formentera knows a period of economic and social development. To this period, in fact belong to some of the most important findings: wells, buildings, tanks, etc … Throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance Formentera will be inhabited only occasionally by people from Ibiza, and will only be in 1695 that the island, which was sold by the crown to Ibiza for “services rendered”, will be permanently inhabited.
After the construction of the Church of Sant Francesc and its urban core, smaller centers were created on the territory of the island, and slowly Formentera reached nearly 2000 inhabitants (in the eighteenth century, against the first 400). Until the 70s tourist boom, Formentera was an island that lived off the traditional activities, fishing, cattle breeding, cultivation of land. An important part of the economy was linked to the activity of the salt pans, still present and visible. The movement of the hippies, helped to raise awareness of the island around the world and the growth of tourism, Today the main source of wealth, changing forever the ancient culture.