The mills of Formentera

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Lluis Enric Mayans

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The mills of Formentera

Among the curiosities of the small island of Formentera, we find the characteristic windmills, with a white conical shape and large wooden blades. During the XNUMXth century, following the Spanish domination of the Netherlands, the construction of windmills throughout Spain began. The new mills are erected, in particular, in areas poor in waterways, such as La Mancha, the south-east of the Peninsula, the Balearics and the Canaries, and with different uses: from the extraction of water, to the grinding of salt, from the processing of wheat to that of terracotta.

The mills play a fundamental role in the economy of these areas, which they maintained until the end of the last century. In Formentera in particular, where the mills were used exclusively for the transformation of wheat into flour.

Already in Roman times, in fact, Formentera was known as the "land of wheat", and flour was already at that time the basic element of the island's economy and development. It is therefore not surprising that some were built on the tiny territory of Formentera well 7: Molì den Mateu in 1773, Molì den Gerona in 1760, that of San Ferran, Molì del Tauet in 1760 and two near La Mola, both of 1893 and Molì den Botiga. Of the latter only the tower remains, while of the others there are five, all open to the public (there is also the Molì den Simon, property of the Balearic Islands Foundation).

In general, all these mills are three-story: the highest for machinery and millstones, the middle where the flour was collected, while the lowest was used as a warehouse. The conical roof could be moved to better direct the wooden blades according to the wind.

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