History

Prehistoric times

Since far-off times, the Guadalhorce Valley has been a center of attraction for prehistoric peoples. The hills and mountains near the water were the chosen places for more or less stable settlements.

Since the beginning of the eighth century BC until the middle of the sixth century BC settlers from the Near East gradually arrived to the Mediterranean Coast.

The region of the Guadalhorce Valley offered ideal conditions for irrigated agriculture due to the abundance of water and mud, the main crops grown being wheat, vine and olives (Mediterranean trilogy).

Phoenicians, Greeks and Carthaginians were aware of the wealth of the Guadalhorce Valley, which originated in a rich exchange of knowledge, which had a bearing on a better degree of resource utilization. All in all, commercial and cultural contacts started to flourish between the two ends of the Mediterranean.

The arrival of the Romans

The arrival of the Romans to the Iberian Peninsula brought a new organization of space and especially the introduction of new forms of infrastructure.

The territory of the Guadalhorce Valley was included in the Conventus Iuridicus Gaditanus, starting the Romanization of the area and changing the location of some native villages that traditionally had settled in highland areas, from where they dominated the accesses. This way, nuclei like Nescania (Valle de Abdalajís) flourished.

Similarly, towns like Iluro or Cartima experienced a boost due to the agricultural and commercial boom of the ager cartimitamus, the latter located near  to the navigable part of the river course, ideal for planting fruit trees, olive trees and vines. Evidenced by the existence of villas dedicated to olive oil production, most notable that of Manguarra-San José in Cártama.

The Romans also designed spaces such as aqueducts, wells and thermal baths.

The Arab period

Proof of the arrival and the presence of Muslims in the mid-eighth century in the Guadalhorce Valley is the large number of villages and farmsteads that existed. The natural axis formed around the River Guadalhorce and the River Rio Grande will be heavily used during this time, thanks to its enormous potential (fertile land, the driving force of water, etc.). The geographical location of our region, as a natural link between the coast and the hinterland, as well as the role it played in certain periods, favored the appearance of a wide range of constructions for defense and surveillance of the territory.

 

In relation to agriculture, new means came into effect for water, like extraction (wells), storage (tanks) and pipes (channels, ditches), which stimulated an intense farming activity and permitted the irrigation of land at one time intended for dry crops, as well as the use of its driving force to push the first industrial artifacts (water mills). Arab irrigation techniques prevailed in the Guadalhorce Valley, despite the many changes experienced over the years.

 

The Modern Age

The Spanish arrival supposed the repopulation and reorganization of the territory through the land divisions.

The characteristics of the new society that results in the addition of the Guadalhorce Valley territory to the Crown will be marked by a legal system based on birth.

The agricultural landscape of the deals of 1492 gives us the image of a region devoted to agriculture. Vineyards, olive groves and orchards, together with the lands of “bread sow” are the main crops.

The Contemporary Age

The contemporary age leaves an important mark in our region. The train will generate many of the infrastructures used to identify the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The roads also generated numerous infrastructures, especially the bridges, which served to eliminate barriers. Made of metal, they marked much of our landscape. We note especially the water infrastructures arising in the Chorro around Alora, undoubtedly the greatest work done in our region during this time, in terms of dimensions and features.

Towards 1835 a large part of the cemeteries, such as the ones in Alhaurin el Grande, Coin and Alora, were built.

The Church also left notable buildings and relics during these two centuries.

Modernism will be reflected in numerous buildings, both domestic and public. The most important example, in terms of size and luxury is the palace of the Counts of Puerto-Hermoso in Pizarra, a Mudejar style building which underwent numerous reforms after the Civil War.