Welcome to history . . . and to springtime,
now that we've officially crossed the vernal equinox. The
patron saint day of Sant Josep ( which we discussed last week)
is, in fact, a celebration of spring's arrival. The roots
of the fiesta go deeply into pre-Christian soil, although
for many centuries it has been celebrated, under different
auspices, as part of the Christian calendar. Technicalities
notwithstanding, the passage into spring is certainly cause
for jubilation, no matter what your faith.
Here in Ibiza we are experiencing a primetime
of the most intoxicating variety: balmy air, golden sunshine,
and symphonies of birdsong. Most of us are ready to float
away on the next passing cloud, and I dare say a few of us
have. But not all. We, for example, at LiveIbiza have stayed
grounded just long enough to bring you our weekly web page.
Our topic this week is the Archduke Luis
Salvador, one of the first tourists to ever visit Ibiza. We
owe much to this fascinating foreigner who so proficiently
recorded, in word and image, the tenor of 19th century island
life. The first question that springs to mind for many people
is very basic: who exactly was the Archduke? Secondly, why
did he come to the Balearic Islands? and last of all, what
made him stay? Let us answer these queries by starting at
the very beginning.
True Blue Royalty
Luis Salvador (1847 - 1915) was born in
Florence into the Tuscan line of the Austrian Empire. In the
Austrian royal family, the title of 'archduke' was synonymous
with 'prince' because, as nephews to the Emperor, all archdukes
were potential successors to the throne.
As a child, the Archduke was a gifted student
and his parents gave him the finest education money could
buy: he was versed in sciences, humanities, geography, languages
and all other subjects deemed worthy of pincely study. He
was also an excellent draughtsman - a talent he would make
great use of in Ibiza.
As a young adult, the Archduke was gregarious,
active, inquisitive and adventurous. These traits, added to
the financial ease of the station, resulted in a life-long
love of travel. Luis Salvador, however, did not seek mere
leisure on his journeys. He wanted to know everything about
each of his destinations, and his excursions were always chronicled.
Copious note and sketches gave standing testimony to everything
that met his ears and eyes. Rumour has it, though, that the
Archduke's mother did not approve of her son's globetrotting
and always kept him on a tight budget. Such a stance is understandable
from a parent's point of view, but it is clear in retrospect
that the young prince's urge to roam was prompted as much
by genuine mental questing as by physical restlessness.
The year is 1867. Luis Salvador is now 21
years old. He has been planning to spend the summer in Dalmatia,
a region of Croatia; but, the political climate is fraught
with dark clouds threatening to rain down death or exile on
the heads of several European monarchs. Austria is at war
with Prussia to the north. Still, a foray south onto the Adriatic
shores could bring no harm . . . that is until the lightening
bolt struck on June 19th and Maximilian of Mexico (pawn of
the House of Austria and the Emperor's brother) was executed
by popular forces. Simultaneously, in Central Europe the political
fusion of Austria, Hungary and surrounding crown lands to
the south caused the Archduke to rethink his travel plans.
With the consent and counsel of his uncle, the Emperor Franz
Joseph, he re-routed his tour to the west. Instead of Dalmatia,
the Archduke would spend August on the Balearic Islands, a
tiny archipelago located in the sea of political oblivion.
When he set off from Prague that summer,
he "felt the need to enjoy the beautiful nature of that
quasi-African place where his spirit could reclaim its lost
calm." (from Joan March's book 'S'Arxiduc', pub.1983).
He travelled through France, down into Spain, and at Valencia
boarded the steam-boat 'Rey Don Jaime'. At that time there
was only one run a week between the Spanish mainland and Ibiza
- always with a stopover in Majorca. The Archduke did not,
however, stop on the major isle, but continued straight on
Although he never specifically states it,
it is assumed that he lodged at the only inn that existed
on the island, 'Fonda d'en Guevara' in Ibiza Town. Support
for this assumption lies in the fact that the Archduke used
the innkeeper's daughter as a model for one of his most famous
paintings, 'The Typical Female Dress'. In one of the most
comprehensive works on the Archduke, 'Els Camins i les Imatges
de l'Arxiduc Ahir i Avui', island historian Joan Marí
Cardona recounts that when the mysterious, young foreigner
set up his easel in Guevara's dining room, the establishment
would fill up with curious onlookers. "The locals asked
him about all manner of things and their mouths would drop
open when he described what life was like in Austria and other
places. They were also superstitious and the Archduke attributed
this superstition to certain words which could only show that,
from experience, they feared the notes he was taking would
soon turn into new taxes and contributions."
The Archduke's astute observations revealed
Ibiza's country folk to be wary and reticent at the start,
but open and hospitable once their trust was gained. Luis
Salvador himself was very down-to-earth, and he was always
made welcome in private homes when his wanderings took him
too far from the city to return before nightfall. Frequently
he would include members of such households in his drawings,
as the Ibicencos and Formenterencs took this as a high form
In Ibiza there were three social classes:
1) the conservatives from D'Alt Vila, mostly landed gentry
who resided within the walled city and had tenant farmers
and foremen to run their 'fincas'; 2) the liberals and fisherman
who occupied the marina below, and 3) the 'payeses' or peasants
who lived scattered across the countryside and engaged in
agriculture and livestock.
The Archduke did not limit himself to contact
with the higher spheres of society but mixed freely with all
walks of life. He spent many evening walking through the marina,
speaking to the seamen, probing them for their views and listening
intently when these were revealed.
To demonstrate the Archduke's egalitarian
outlook, Cardona includes this snippet in his book: "A
humble man who accompanied the Archduke through the countryside,
after having eaten his meal one midday, stood before him and
said, 'I'm poor, but I'm just as good as you.' The Archduke
reflected and saw that this comment was motivated by the fact
that he had eaten very well, while the man had eaten very
poorly. Upon returning to town he went to buy a chicken so
that the humble man could dine like a grand lord."
Tourist On The Go
Before Luis Salvador actually disembarked
on Ibiza he was in possession of maps of the island. With
the vigour of youth, he had devised a plan to visit both of
the Pitiuses thoroughly in just three weeks. True to his intentions,
he managed to cover the whole of both islands on the back
of a mule as well as circumnavigate their coastlines in a
fishing boat. (These modest modes of transport were apparently
the only ones available to the early tourist.)
The written and graphic commentaries he
took during these outings would later form the basis for his
book 'Las Antiguas Pitiusas'. The work was first published
in German in 1869 and in Spanish in 1886. Local writer, Enrique
Fajarnès, states that while other travel literature
had made passing mention of the island, "no other work
on Ibiza has been able to compare, within its genre, to the
wealth of data and descriptive abundance" of 'Las Antiguas
The book displays with utter realism the
hue and texture of 19th century island life; for, the Archduke
recorded virtually every scene, structure and phenomena of
yesteryear. He drew churches, lighthouses, windmills, water-mills,
wells, walls, trees, people, haystacks, towers, boats . .
. all significant icons of the Ibicenco way of life. For some
reason, the only thing he never drew was a fish!
Twist of Fate
On the day Luis Salvador was meant to leave
Ibiza for Majorca, he discovered that because he lacked a
safe-conduct, he would have to delay his departure by one
week. When he finally did set sail, he stayed on deck to observe
the receding coastline of his newly discovered island paradise.
Eventually, all the other passengers retired to their cabins
and only one remained above board: a stately gentleman who
walked back and forth from prow to stern smoking a cigar.
When at last the silhouette of Majorca began to emerge form
the sea mist, the Archduke, curious as ever, asked one of
the crew a question about the island. But because he spoke
in a foreign tongue, the sailor was unable to answer his query.
At that point the stately gentleman stepped in to offer his
From this fortuitous conversation sprang
a lifelong friendship. The older man was Francesc de los Herreros,
director of the 'Institut Balear de Palma de Majorca'. Due
to his heightened cultural awareness and excellent contacts,
Herreros became one of the Archduke's principal aids, informants
and collaborators. It was probably due to their profound mental
kinship that the Archduke took up residence in Valdemossa
in the north of Majorca. Despite this fixed residence, he
continued to travel for the rest of his life, and frequently
sailed his yacht in Ibicenco waters.
Sharp Mind, Kind Tongue
One of the traits that helped endear the
Archduke to the Ibicenco people was his tolerant viewpoint.
Joan Marí Cardona, in a chat about his own book affirms
that, "Luis Salvador never had a word of disdain for
the island and at the same time he was honest. He did not
criticise; he simply observed, faithfully and without judgement.
On the other hand, Gaston Vuillier, author of 'The Forgotten
Islands (1888) ridicules the Ibicenco people and mocks
their lack of sophistication."
In his introduction to 'Las Antiguas
Pitiusas', Herreros also notes that "the spirit
of benevolence, with no lack of truth, shines through in all
of the author's observations."
Would that all those who visit Ibiza could
appreciate it as the Archduke did. Many of us do, but so many
others never seem to open their eyes to the beauty that is
here. Well, to each his own. Next week we will speak at length
to a very important man in local history: the historian Joan
Marí Cardona. In a special Interview with LiveIbiza
Don Joan will share his passion for history and for his island.
Hope you'll join us.