Pityusic Islands

The Pityusic Islands,[1][2] often referenced simply as the Pityuses (Catalan: Pitiüses [pitiˈuzəs], Spanish: Pitiusas; from the Greek πιτύα pitýa, pine tree), or commonly but informally (and ambiguously) as the Pine Islands, is the name given collectively to the Balearic Islands of Ibiza (Catalan: Eivissa), Formentera, S'Espalmador and other small islets in the Mediterranean Sea.

Pityusic Islands
Islas Pitiusas • Illes Pitiüses
Localització de les Pitiüses respecte les Illes Balears.svg
EtymologyGreek: Πιτυοῦσσαι, romanizedPityûssai, lit.'pine-covered' (islands)
LocationMediterranean Sea
CoordinatesCoordinates: 38°42′N 1°27′E / 38.700°N 1.450°E / 38.700; 1.450
ArchipelagoBalearic Islands
Area655.8 km2 (253.2 sq mi)
Highest elevation475 m (1558 ft)
Highest pointSa Talaiassa
Autonomous CommunityBalearic Islands
ProvinceBalearic Islands
Largest settlementIbiza (pop. 49,783)
Population160,025 (1 January 2019)
Pop. density244.0/km2 (632/sq mi)


Enlargeable, detailed map of Eivissa and Formentera

The islands are situated approximately 100 kilometres (62 miles) southwest of the island of Majorca, and approximately 80 km (50 mi) east of the Cap de la Nau in the Iberian Peninsula.


The first known name of the islands was the Ancient Greek geonym Πιτυοῦσσαι Pityûssai ("covered in pine trees").[3]

From about 200 BCE, the islands were used as a base by Cilician pirates. They and a renegade Roman general, Quintus Sertorius, who had formed an alliance with the pirates, were driven out by a large Roman fleet, commanded by Caius Annius Luscus.

The two largest of the islands, under the names Ebyssus (Ibiza) and Ophiusis (Formentera), were listed in Claudius Ptolemy's Geography (2nd century CE). Ptolemy noted that Ebyssus had a town by the same name.


The Pine Islands are sometimes grouped together as part of the Balearic Islands, or else considered separate with the Balearics proper being Mallorca and Menorca (which together with their islets form the Gymnesian Islands). Politically, they are part of the autonomous community of the Balearic Islands.

Initially, they were administratively part of the same insular council (of Ibiza and Formentera), but since 2007 they are now separated between the insular council of Ibiza and the insular council of Formentera (each one is also assimilated to a single comarca), which are two of the four main administrative subdivisions of the province (and autonomous community) of the Balearic Islands.


Flags and coats of armsEdit

See alsoEdit

Further readingEdit

  • Kuhbier, Heinrich; Alcover, Josep Antoni; Guerau d'Arellano Tur, Cristòfol, eds. (1984). Biogeography and Ecology of the Pityusic Islands. Monographiae Biologicae, Volume 52. The Hague, The Netherlands: Dr. W. Junk (Kluwer). ISBN 978-90-6193-105-8.

External linksEdit

  1. ^ (in Spanish) Lagartija de las Pitiusas - Podarcis pityusensis (Boscá, 1883), Enciclopedia virtual de los vertebrados españoles, Alfredo Salvador, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Natural (CSIC), Madrid, published 20-06-2006.
  2. ^ A new species of rail (Aves, Rallidae) from the Upper Pleistocene and Holocene of Ibiza (Pitiusic Island, Western Mediterranean), McMinn M., Palmer M. & Alcocer J.A., Ibis journal (ISSN 0019-1019), volume 147, pp. 706-716, published 2005. Referenced by the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies (IMEDEA).
  3. ^ Numerous places were given names like Pityûssai, Pityussa, Pityusa, or similar names by the Ancient Greeks,especially in Anatolia and Greece Archived 2009-08-30 at the Wayback Machine: the pre-Hellenic name of Miletus of the Leleges was also Pityussa (Strabo, 14.1.3); Spetses' ancient name was Pityoussa; during the Roman Civil Wars Sertorius with some Cilician pirates effected a landing at an island of Pityussa on the North African coast of Mauretania, and was driven off (Plutarch, Life of Sertorius 7).