"Es Firo", the historical battle re-enactment
The "Moors and Christians" festival
Every year, on the monday after the second sunday of May, Sóller celebrates the festival of the "Moors and Christians", also known as "Es Firo". This "fiesta" commemorates the historical events of 11th May 1561, when an armada of twenty-two Algerian galleons disembarked in Sóller.
This navy, before heading for Mallorca, had stopped in Ibiza for provisions. Thanks to this action, the mallorcans received warning that an attack on the island was being prepared, and that it would begin with a disembarkment in Sóller. Thus, Sóller's Captain, Joan Angelats (who would die in the following battle) had time to prepare his men and to request reinforcements from the neighbouring towns of Bunyola and Alaró. Altogether, Sóller's defence counted on about 600 men.
When the warning came that the enemy ships were near, the Mallorcans walked down to the Port of Sóller. The invaders, about 1,700 Arab mercenaries, had divided into two groups: while one advanced directly towards the town, the other went round and attacked Sóller from the north, finding the town unprotected. They caused great destruction, assaulted the church and captured many women and children, whom they intended to take as slaves.
The Sollerics engaged in battle halfway between the Port and the town with the first group of Moors, whom they were able to repel. They waited for the second group to return, and they fought and dispersed this lot as well. By the end of the day, 211 Moors and only 6 Sollerics, had died.
Some historical anecdotes are commemorated with special affection during the celebrations, such as "Ses Valentes Dones (the brave women) of Can Tamany", who defended their house and killed the pirates who were assaulting it, or the gang of outlaws who came down from the mountains to help in the defence of the town, for which they later obtained the King's pardon.