Niebla - History

History

Niebla's history stretches back roughly 3000 years. Archaeological finds suggest that farming activities were undertaken during the end of the Bronze Age. By the 8th century B.C., Phoenician traders became interested in the silver that was mined in the hinterland of the province. Residents of Niebla worked in the silver industry since the town was located in a location between the mines and the ocean port.

This trade in silver worked to enrich the residents of Niebla. In fact, between the 8th and the 6th centuries B.C., walls were built around the town from stone. Evidence from artefacts of this period shows that Niebla's residents owned jewellery and other luxury items as well as quality weaponry. The tomb of some important local leader was also uncovered, showing not only the economic but also the political importance of the town.

As the silver began to run out, Niebla still maintained its agrarian background. During the Roman Age Niebla remained a commercial and political centre and was known as Ilipla. It had an important role to play and was the westernmost part of the region known as Betica. Coins have been found that were minted with the town's name. So important was the town that it was linked with the Guadiana River as well as with surrounding towns. Much archaeological evidence remains from the Roman period, including ruins, artwork, mosaics, and aqueducts.

In 711 the Moors invaded Spain and by 713 the town of Ilipla was under Muslim control. The town became part of the Cordoba's emirate in 756 and further fortifications were constructed. Over the next few centuries it prospered under Muslim rule. In the 11th century, Niebla's army allied itself with the kingdoms of Mértola, Silves, and Badajoz and together they fought the kingdom of Seville. The battle was lost and the town became part of the kingdom of Seville in 1051.

Niebla generally prospered under Islamic rule and Christians were allowed to practise their religion. However, Islamic rule began to weaken after 1212. The town was conquered in 1262 by Alonzo X. The land was redistributed among the Christian settlers. The town remained an important strategic point, being so close to the Algarve region. In 1369 the King made Juan Alonso Pérez de Guzmán the first Earl of Niebla.

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