After the defeat of the Muslims in the battle of Navas de Tolosa (1212), James I undertakes the expansion of the reign throughout the Mediterranean. The process, inscribed in the global framework of the Christian policies on the peninsula, formed an important part of the programme. It was set up in favour of the monarch in 1228 in order for him to reaffirm his power and
recuperate the prestige and the authority of the Crown. He nominated a collective military company from which everybody should benefit. The King would be the driving force and the supreme leader of this project.
On the 5th of March 1229, the Christian fleet left from Salou, Cambrils and Tarragona and headed for Mallorca with more than 150 ships, most of which were Catalan. Different sources mention around 800 knights and thousands of soldiers.
James’ I troops disembarked in Santa Ponça and defeated the Muslims in the battle of Portopi on 13th September 1229. In the town of Santa Ponça, a cross was put up to commemorate the event. Every year on the anniversary, festivities with representations of the disembarkment are held.
After some hard fights James I managed to take over Madina Mayurqa on the 31st December 1229. The last Moorish leader Abú Yahya died and the Christians set the town on fire and murdered the population. They slaughtered so many people that it was impossible to bury the thousands of dead bodies. As a consequence, the troops were decimated by a Black Death epidemic. The noblemen who participated in the conquest planned to keep the loot instead of sharing it with the troops.
However the troops started to riot because of this, so the nobles were forced to divide everything up between the all men. The plundering of the city lasted until the 30th April 1230. The Muslims who fled managed to regroup in Sierra de Tramuntana and resisted there for two years, until in the middle of 1232, the whole territory was conquered.