Palma.—Speaking of Palma City Council's plans to officially rename the city as Palma de Mallorca, the Catalan Language and Linguistics department of the Balearic University claimed that it was a move to boost the importance of Castillian Spanish in the Balearics to the detriment of the traditional use of Catalan.

The University explained that Palma is the name which had been given to the city since its founding by the Romans and lasted until the Moorish conquest at the beginning of the 10th century.

The city was then given a new name based on the name of the Island, and despite a Renaissance attempt to give Palma back its old name, it wasn't officially retitled as such until the beginning of the 18th century. “Since then, Palma has been the name of the capital,” said the University, adding that “Palma de Mallorca”had been introduced at the suggestion of foreign authorities who wanted to differentiate the city from other similarly named places on the globe.

The department also pointed out that there is a clause in the Statutes of the Balearic Islands which says that “the regional capital is named Palma” and that any move to change this would have to be done legally.

A spokesman also said that the name of Palma takes into account the cultural and historic heritage of the Islands and that any attempt to alter it - far from adding more prestige - would simply belittle the city. He said that any similar attempt to alter the names of other European cities would have the same negative effect. The department had also recently rallied to the defence of the port of Mahón in Minorca which authorities wanted to officially change from the local spelling of “Máo”.