Toward the end of the 9th century the Moslems controlled virtually all of the Mediterranean. At that juncture in history, it seemed as though the Balearic Islands had been overlooked by the major powers of the day, i.e. the Byzantine, Islamic and Carolingian Empires. But their strategic position in the Mediterranean Sea made these islands the object of periodic raids, a situation which led to their eventual conquest by the Cordovan Emirate in the years 902 and 903. Thereafter, the so-called Eastern Islands became part of Al-Andalus, functioning under their own administrative structure, with Manacor standing out as the largest district on the island of Mayurqa.
The colonization of the islands rural areas by Berber and Arab inhabitants must have been swift and geographically compact. The oldest settlements under study have been dated back to the years just after the conquest of 902. There we find remains from the period of the Caliphate, all pointing to a high level of consistency in regard to the choice of living and farming areas. The prehistoric village of sHospitalet Vell was reoccupied by Moorish farmers quite soon after the Balearic Islands had been incorporated into the Cordovan state. It can be classed, therefore, as one of the oldest known rural settlements by Moorish inhabitants in the Balearic Islands. From these facts we may conclude that the Islamization of Majorca was not exclusive to the medina but that the repopulation of rural areas also assumed vital importance.
Tombstone of Sulaymän ibn Mansür
This tombstone, the oldest of those found on Majorca, was discovered in the wall of the parish church at Manacor in the course of construction work done to the main entrance of the second church. Its age indicates the existence of a stable Moorish settlement during the mid-10th century near the present-day town of Manacor.
The scant number of tombstones found on the island suggest that Sulaymän ibn Mansür probably enjoyed a certain social prominence. The type of burial he received seems to have been inhumation. According to Moslem ritual, the deceased were bathed, wrapped in shrouds and placed in graves that lay perpendicular to Qibla, facing Mecca.
Transcription: (Koran: XXXV, 5) The name of God, clement, merciful. Oh people! The promises of God are certainly true. This [is] the final resting place of Sulaymän [sic] ibn (i.e. son of) Mansur. May the mercy of God fall on him as well as His pardon and His indulgence. He died on the twenty-sixth day of dü al.qa da in the year 357.
During the Moorish period, Mayurqa was divided into 12 districts or juz , Manacor being the largest, occupying the present-day municipalities of Manacor and Sant Llorenç des Cardassar. What has today become the town of Manacor was then called Cariat Açoch and was an important market centre as it stood at the crossroads of two thoroughfares. At that time the surrounding territory was occupied by rural communities (clans or family groups) which were dispersed among 173 farmsteads (qurä) and small holdings. These dwellings have left only ceramics as material remains, although various place names have been conserved which could have been of Arabic or Berber origin. Two mosques have been documented near Cariat Açoch, a fact which demonstrates that the population of Manaqür was totally Islamisized. The first house of worship was called the Mosque of Cala Murada while the second was a mosque built in honour of Berenguer de Tornamira. We have been able to reconstruct the domestic life of the Islamic population from such everyday objects as pots and needles to other more exceptional items such as the various metallic utensils found at Cova dels Amagatalls. The ceramic remains hint at the Moorish cuisine typical of Al-Andalus, both in regard to the preparation of meals and the way that food was stored. It is believed that each peasant must have engaged in diverse economic activities such as fishing, farming, livestock and various types of craftwork.