A second wave of settlers followed from 1000 BC onwards, establishing the talayotic culture and excavating caves from the cliffs and building walled stone structures, many of which can still be seen today.
Phoenician, Greek and Carthaginian merchants visited Menorca over the next few centuries, each having their own influence on the Island. In 23 BC came the Roman occupation and the early Christian basilicas were built under their rule. This was followed by a Moorish invasion, after which Spain took control of the island. During this time Menorca was attacked by Turkish pirates and also suffered periods of plague and extreme poverty.
The British first took control of the Island in 1708 and under Governor Richard Kane, Menorca entered a period of peace and prosperity, often referred to as the Golden Age and during which the first road across the Island was built, the Cami d’en Kane, which still exists today. British influences still remain today, from the locally distilled gin to the Georgian architecture and even the incorporation of English words into the Menorquin language.
Menorca then suffered almost 50 years of turbulence and disruption. Between 1756 and 1763 there was a short period of French occupation (founding San Lluis and legend has it, inventing mayonnaise), before the British returned, only to be conquered by the Spanish again in 1781. The third and final British occupation lasted from 1798 to 1802, after which Menorca was eventually handed back to Spain.
In its more recent history, Menorca backed the republicans and was the last place in Spain to fall to Franco during the Civil War of 1936 to 1939. The Catalan language was banned and Menorca was not awarded the freedom to build like Mallorca and Ibiza received with the onset of international tourism.
Finally, in 1975 the monarchy was restored, Spain returned to democracy and gradually tourism became the primary industry in Menorca.