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History

HISTORY OF ROQUETAS DE MAR

Both the Phoenicians and Romans passed through this town, causing a chain exploitation of the resources of the area, which were later used by the Arabs. Under Roman occupation, it was known as Turaniana. Initially, this population was located in the Ribera de la Algaida (between Roquetas and Aguadulce), but the settlement had to be rebuilt in its current location due to floods.

A Roman mill has been preserved, with inscriptions in Roman numerals that indicate the leagues of distance between the local populations. It is also known that the Romans extracted salt from the area thanks to the discovery of a salt curd raft next to an extant water spring, which would have been channeled by an acequia in Roman times. Such discoveries highlight the importance of salt flats to the Romans; large fish industries would develop around them, and products like garum would be exported to Rome.

Almeria was conquered during the Re-conquest in 1489; the defensive coastline was divided into districts. By 1739, the district of Almería stretched from Roquetas de Mar to Mesa Roldán, with the Alcazaba de Almería as its central fortress. Despite its potential as a key military site, Roquetas de Mar never achieved a reputation as such and its activity remained centred around salt flats and fishing.

The establishment of the current town is thought to have begun at some point in the eighteenth century, when the inhabitants of nearby towns such as Enix or Felix, who initially had no fixed residence in the area, settled permanently. These fishermen dedicated themselves to working the saline lands that circumscribe the municipality, leaving them suitable for cultivation.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, the salt installations of Salinas Viejas, Cerrillos and San Rafael went on auction and were acquired by the owners of the salt mines of Cabo de Gata, the Acosta family, who would, a quarter of a century later, incorporate them into Unión Salinera. These flats were the first modern industry of the municipality and remained active until the 1980s.

It was in the 1950s that the development of Roquetas de Mar gained enough momentum to establish it as one of the most important towns in the province. This was largely because of the implementation of intensive agriculture, which has since been the main economic activity of the municipality.

Francisco Fuentes Sánchez, better known as “Paco el piloto” , assembled the first greenhouse in the province of Almería, manufactured with rods and wire. In 1963, plastic was used for the first time in Spain to cover five units of one hundred square meters of sanded land, an experiment conducted in collaboration with the National Institute of Colonization.

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