Benamaurel - History

The Arab occupation in Benamaurel went on for the greater part of the 12 th Century, with specific historic mention included in Abi Mohamed Ben Rozac's travel itinerary "from Baza to Banamaruel".

The whole area is rich in archaeological finds, showing important traces of its many past inhabitants. Tools and implements from Neolithic times, as well as a large number of ceramics, dishes, amphorae and coins from the Iberian - Roman times, have been discovered here. In the Salar Gorge there is still a beautiful dovecote built into the walls of ancient Almohade caves dating back to the 12 th Century, from Visigoth times.

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Throughout the 14th Century, occupation of the area passed alternatively between the Moors and Christians. Conflict and battles ensued until finally the Christians took power of the village in 1434 and on the 14 th of June 1498 the King made Juan de Avalos, Mayor of Benamaurel.

Then in 1531 disaster struck when there was a terrible earthquake that not only destroyed the very houses people lived in, but also brought down the protective fortress walls, causing devastation to the village. Then Benamaurel fell under the authority of Baza until, on the 31 st October, 1628, it was officially released from its control. In 1633, because of the huge debts which had incurred over the years, the people voted to sell the village to the Duke of Alba, Don Antonio Alvarez de Toledo. Land records from 1752 show that the main land owners of that time were the Piñar, Buendia and Torres families as well as the Duke of Alba and Count Giraldeli. Later, during the War of Independence, O'Donnell stood his ground against the French at the foot of the Jabalcón. At that time Benamaurel had rich deposits of sulphur and potassium nitrate and there were several gunpowder factories.

In 1862 the main church was burned down during the conflict of the Carlist Wars, sadly losing the Mudejar architecture and workmanship. The new church was rebuilt in 1862 with a single aisle and a 25 metre stone tower.