Tabarca Island: a little history

Isla de tabarca Alicante

Tabarca Island: a little history

At only 22km from Alicante we find one of the few inhabited islands on the peninsula, Tabarca island. With only 65 residents it is one of my favorite destinations within the Alicante province.

Tabarca remained uninhabited until the end of the 18th century due to various factors; the most significant being the poor quality of soil and absence of fresh water of which prevented farming.  The origins of the island once inhabited date back to the late 18th century and its story has to do with the island Tabarka in Tunisia, once an emporium for coral fishing in the mediterranean.


The Spanish crown had interests in the island since the Tunisian campaign of King Carlos V.  In 1741 the kind of Tunisia invaded the island making it his own and keeping its inhabitants as his prisoners.  The Tabarkinos were of Genoves origin. Fortunately some time later the Tabarkino fishermen and prisoners were liberated from slavery in 1768 thanks to a group of monks.


The liberation of these prisoners was commissioned by King Carlos. At this time the ex prisoners of Tabarka island in Tunisia were taken to Tabarca island in Spain in 1770 and King Carlos ordered the construction of a walled city on Tabarca island (in its day known as Island of Santa Pola) in order to protect the island and coast from pirate invaders.  This is how Tabarca island got its name from the commemoration of the island in Tunisia Tabarka island.

We encourage you to visit this beautiful island with origins from the 18th century where its people, gastronomy and marine life make it the perfect place to disconnect and really enjoy a vacation!