Lonely Planet Writer

The Spanish city of Palma de Mallorca changes its name back to Palma - again

Palma de Mallorca on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca is to simply be called Palma from now on, making it the third time in a decade that the city has changed its name. While most of its residents already call it Palma and that’s the name that appears on road signs, its regional parliament only officially voted on the name change this week.

La Seu Cathedral in Palma de Mallorca,now known as simply Palma. Image: Hartmut Albert
La Seu Cathedral in Palma de Mallorca, now known as simply Palma. Image: Hartmut Albert

The vote was carried because the government felt Palma was in keeping with the regional capital’s history. It claimed the “de Mallorca” tag was a leftover from Spain’s centralist past. However, the name change may not be the last, depending on how things pan out politically.

Palma de Mallorca is now going to be known simply as Palma. Image: Westend61/Getty Images
Palma de Mallorca is now going to be known simply as Palma. Image: Westend61/Getty Images

The Socialist Party, spurred on by former mayor, Aina Calvo, renamed the city Palma in 2008. Then the conservative Popular Party came to power and Mateu Isern was mayor, and it was decided to change the name back to Palma de Mallorca in 2012. The government wanted to give the city a clearer identity, as well avoiding confusion with other locations, such as La Palma, the Canary Island.

This move angered nationalists and leftists who claimed that adding on the “de Mallorca” tag was centralist, provincial and executed without any historical foundation. However, there has been some confusion between the island, Mallorca, and its main city, Palma, within Spain, and even greater confusion outside of it.

Palma de Mallorca is now going to be known simply as Palma. Image: Andrei Bortnikau/EyeEm
Palma de Mallorca is now going to be known simply as Palma. Image: Andrei Bortnikau/EyeEm

Álvaro Gijón, a PP member of the island’s Congress says that if his party regains power, it will rename the city Palma de Mallorca once more . They have to be practical, he says, because they depend on tourism and are having difficulty selling Palma abroad as a tourist destination.  For the moment though, visitors arriving in the Balaeric island’s airport can no longer expect to be greeted by the sign Palma de Mallorca.