It is perhaps reasonable to assume that for most people, those who don’t live in the municipality at any rate, Son Servera is most associated with what lies on its coast - Costa dels Pins, Cala Bona and part of Cala Millor. How simple it was for resorts to acquire their names. There was a Cala Bona (good cove or small bay), but then it was suggested - some time in the late 1920s - that there could be a better cove or small bay (Cala Millor). And better it was to become because the small bay was bigger.
This association aside, Son Servera makes a bid for island-wide recognition at the start of February every year. The village holds its almond blossom fair and it also has a fiesta for Saint Ignatius of Antioch. Sant Ignasi’s day in the Roman calendar is the first of February. In 1821, this was the day when the cordon around the village was lifted. For months, the people of the village had been penned in. Law and order rather than medical science were the most effective means of controlling plague, much though a doctor, Joan Lliteras, laboured hard and famously to treat it. A total of 1,040 people in Son Servera died of the plague; the population prior to the plague had only been 1,808.
Son Servera therefore came to be known for the tale of the shepherd boy and the competing theories as to how the plague had arrived and had caused such mortality in the village and neighbouring Arta (1,267 dead). The municipal distinction was in fact all but irrelevant, as Son Servera had only gained its ‘independence’ from Arta in 1820. This was then lost in 1824 but regained in 1837. The first mayor went by the name of Francesc Servera. What other name could there have been? There have been other Servera mayors since - Antoni Servera Servera was mayor on three occasions between 2009 and 2019. Servera Servera!? Why not, as Son Servera has one slightly curious claim to fame. It is the only municipality in Mallorca which is a ‘son’.
It’s a word that is very familiar on the island. Its etymology is basically a contraction of ‘ço d’en’ to mean ‘that of’ plus a name. Son Servera therefore acquired its name because it was the possession of a Servera, or who had been a Cervera, as this was the surname at the time of the conquest. Jaume Cervera was one of those who came to Mallorca with Jaume I.
Given the prevalence of ‘son’, it is odd that no other municipality acquired this tag. But at the same time, the unique nature of the municipality name suggests that it is odd that it should have survived at all. Possessions, large and small, came to be integrated into a municipality structure, some of which owes its existence to one-time Muslim administrative districts. Only one, however, stands alone as a municipality.
Son Servera, back in those Muslim days, was part of Yartan (Arta). After the conquest, there weren’t necessarily any Cerveras around. Instead, there were knights from Marseille who in 1232 were given the farm of Benuniquena (aka Beni-Quinina). There was another farm, Benunique Algarbia, and these two were to combine to be Benicanella. Eventually, it was to be the Cervera (Servera) family who came to own Benicanella.
Had it not been for the nature of marriage and family ties, Son Servera might have been Son Ferri. By the fourteenth century, 40% of what nowadays constitutes Son Servera belonged to the Ferri family. In the following century, Angelina Ferri married a Salvador Servera. Although some historical sources point to the Serveras having been a landowner by 1300, they were essentially a Porreres family.
From the marriage of Angelina and Salvador there were two sons - Jaume Servera Ferri and Pere Servera Ferri. When Salvador died in 1473, the whole possession was divided up between them. Jaume received, among other properties, Ca s’Hereu, which is where the almond blossom fair is held. For Pere, there was a property known as Son Fra Garí, which almost two centuries later was so saddled with debt that in 1666 the Royal Court in Mallorca auctioned it off. It was bought by the Universitat d’Arta - a town hall was known as a ‘universitat’ in those days. It was this acquisition which formally established Son Servera as a population centre within Arta. And, those family ties again, Son Servera was essentially administered by the Ferri family in Arta, who had their influence at the Universitat.
So, in a way, the Ferris, on behalf of Arta, assisted in the purchase of what had once been theirs before Salvador Servera’s inheritance ensured that it belonged to the Servera family. Ca s’Hereu, meanwhile, still did belong to the Serveras.
The lineage, as in former mayor Antoni Servera Servera, is much very much alive, and the Servera influence can be found in different parts of the municipality - Cala Millor, for instance, as who was it who promoted the name? The story may be apocryphal but Joan Servera Camps is reckoned to have said: “If we have a Cala Bona, I will make a Cala Millor.” And in 1928, an advert appeared for the sale of plots in this newly baptised place.
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