History

Huelva and its environs is a Mecca for those interested in Christopher Columbus, with a number of significant tourist attractions relating to the famous explorer. Cristóbal Colón (as he is known in Spain), is thought by most to have been born in Genoa, Italy around 1451.

The origins of Olula de Castro date to prehistoric times, evidenced by some rock engravings found at Huerto del Moro or de los Rodeos. Between the seventh and eighth centuries, Romanized and Christian Berbers arrived from Africa, known as Yarawás, under the command of Queen La Kahima, who, settled in the Sierra de los Filabres.

It is believed that the village’s name comes from Thabernax, named for the Greek legions, because it was the place where the troops were supplied in many inns or sales. Prehistoric settlements have been found, such as the town of Terrera Ventura (2850-1950 B.C), a Neolithic agro-pastoral and livestock settlement.

Láujar de Andarax occupies a hillside position at 920m. With a backdrop of rocky peaks and dense pine forest, it has stunning views over the fertile plain of the Andarax River. The town is famous for being the residence of Boabdil, the last Nasrid ruler of the Moorish Kingdom of Al-Andalus, who sought refuge in Láujar in 1492 after he was expelled from Granada following the city’s capture by the Catholic Monarchs.

The first evidence of human presence in the area dates back to the Neolithic era, in the so-called Culture of the Caves, where the Nieles and Almecena caves particularly stand out. Ceramic and imprint remains from the fifth millennium BC have been discovered. The Argar Culture and the progressive Iberian, Phoenician and Carthaginian hordes gave way to Roman domination.

The name of Paterna seems to originate in Paternum or Paternus, although the remains of Iberian swords found in the Gaviarra mines cast doubt on this assumption. The dramatic and challenging landscape of La Alpujarra meant that its Arab occupation took some centuries, but the Mozarabic population was very important in the times of the Caliphate. In 913, the young Caliph Abd al-Rahman III had to cross Sierra Sulaira.

The name Instinción is believed to be of Latin origin, dating from the time of Augustus, in Romanized Hispania. However, is has also been argued that Instinción was the name of a Muslim Princess from the Nasrid family. The town was a Muslim farmhouse during the Middle Ages, sitting in a privileged enclave next to fertile and strategic land on the Alpujarra road.

The first recorded evidence of this town dates from the Al-Andalus period, documented by the twelfth century geographer Idrisi, which inscribes it within the Urs al-Yaman region as one of the twenty castles in the territory. At the time of Al-Andalus, the town was located in a higher area than its present situation, called lugarejo. The author, Jorge Lirola, says that Íllar comes from the Arabic word al-Aliya, meaning “the high”.

The first cultural settlement of Terque is likely to have been prehistoric, evidenced by the millenary cave town found by the occupants of the Millares, heirs of the Neolithic culture. However, Terque was formerly known as Marchena.

Santa Cruz de Marchena originated in the Al-Andalus period. It was known as Haratalgima, which translates as “mosque district”, due to the location of the high mosque. Together with Bolodu, it made up the Area of Alboloduy. With the Christian conquest, it was one of the first mosques to turn to the Christian faith with the name of Santa Cruz (Holy Cross).