by Irene Taylor
THE outcome is always a foregone conclusion, but that doesn't stop thousands of people from turning out to watch the people of Soller defeat the pirates, in the annual re-enactment of a real raid which took place on May 11, 1561. The event opens when the pirate ships are spotted and Captain Angelats makes a rousing speech in the main square, calling local residents to arms.
This year, there was a minute's silence in memory of Joan Calero, who died recently and for many years had played the role of the Moorish pirate leader. Pirate raids were common in the 16th century, and neighbouring towns were often called upon to help in the defence. In the case of Soller, bandits came down from the mountains to help the defenders, and were later granted a royal pardon. The first battle took place in Can Generos beach, where the pirates were driven back. They were luckier on their next attack at Playa d'en Repic, fighting their way to the town, which they started to pillage. But the defenders held out and won the day.
Celebrations ended with a victory parade and procession.
Pollensa holds a re-enactment of a pirate raid in August, and Santa Ponsa marks the landing of King Jaume I in September.