In Formentera land and marine resources have significantly conditioned the life of the island. Many times the border between cultural and natural value is difficult to establish. A proof of the breadth of the ethnological heritage is the set of vestiges of sustainable use of the different natural resources. Today we are going to take a tour of the mills of the island of Formentera, which was known as the old "wheat island", are you with us?
The presence of the mills on the island is linked to the importance of agriculture in Formentera, especially in the cultivation of cereal, since this constituted the food base of the population.
But to make the bread, it was necessary to grind the grain and turn it into flour, a process that was initially done through "blood mills", named because they functioned with the force of an animal that surrounded and operated the grinders or "molars." These were relatively small mills that used to be located in a unit near the house.
Formentera blood mills
The so-called "blood mills" activated by animal traction were thus the oldest system for grinding bread and making flour. However, the orography of the island of Formentera, exposed to all winds, facilitated the replacement of this mechanism by windmills. The oldest three, documented as early as the 18th century, are the mill of Tauet, from 1773; the Old Mill of the Mola, of 1778, that at the moment can be visited, and the one of ses Roques, of 1797. On the other hand, the two that are in Mirada, the one of Botigues de la Mola and the one of Simón in the end of Barbería , which has already disappeared, were built throughout the 19th century.
Did you know that Formentera had 7 mills running at the same time?
And it is that in Formentera seven windmills came to work to grind the grain: the Old Man of the Mola; Botigues, also in La Mola; that of Teuet and that of ses Roques, near San Fernando; those of Mateo and Jerónimo, located to the west of the church of San Francisco Javier, and the already disappeared mill of Simón, at the end of Barbería. All this set of ethnological heritage shares the same type of construction and mechanism, characterized by the cylindrical tower and six antennas or blades.
The mills of Formentera are:
- Old Mill of La Mola
- En Botigues Mill
- Ses Roques Mill
- Mill in Teuet
- Matthew's mills
- Jerome Mill
- Simon's Mill
Old Mill of La Mola
El Viejo de la Mola mill is documented since 1778 and is one of the seven flour mills that existed on the island of Formentera. It is the one that is best preserved of all, since it even keeps the machinery complete. It is included in the Catalog of Cultural Heritage of Formentera with degree of protection A and is currently owned by the Balearic Islands Foundation, which purchased it on November 25, 1993.
En mill Botigues
Located in the Mola, this mill has not found documentation of when it was built, although some oral sources indicate that it is from the end of the 19th century. Although everything did not last long, the mill of Botigues stopped grinding towards the fifties of the twentieth century.
Ses Roques and Teuet mill
From the mill of ses Roques there are documents that mention that it already existed in 1797. It seems that same year, Bartolomé Torres Bet He did enter his name. A few days later it was sold to Bartolomé Planells and subsequently passed to the family Mayans Teuet, also owner of the Teuet mill. In 1936 it stopped grinding and since then it was deteriorating, until in the 1960s, it was adapted as a dwelling and annexed to a newly built house.
The mill of Teuet is the first wind flour mill that is documented in Formentera. On May 11, 1773, Francisco Aís he sold it to Bartomeu Mayans ‘Teuet’ and since that date, the mill has always been owned by this family that it still owns today. The mill stopped grinding in 1964.
The mills of the Miranda
The mill of Mateo and Jerónimo are usually referred to jointly as the mills of the Mirada or the Miranda, simply. Mateo's is the one that is located closest to the church of San Francisco Javier and was built by the True family Mateu as indicated by documents – during the nineteenth century, since it is not mentioned in the real cabrevation * of Miquel Gaietà Soler of 1797. It stopped working in the 1950s.
* Cabrevación is the act of making a document before a notary noting debts normally incurred by an estate that has stopped paying the taxes for oblivion and the passage of time.
For its part, Jerónimo's mill was built by the Tur family Jerome and, if we take into account that it was not mentioned in the real cabrevation, it must be thought that it was also raised during the 19th century and that it worked equally until the 1950s.
It was located at the end of Barbería and was of the Torres family Simon. In 1950 the tower was demolished so that only small traces of the point where the mill was built are currently preserved.
You could not understand the story of the little Pitiusas without these constructions, so if you visit Formentera we recommend that you rent a car in https://www.alquilercochesformentera.com/ (any other means of transport is inappropriate) and enjoy the rich cultural legacy of the mills of Formentera Do not let them fall into oblivion!