Algatocín - History

Algatocín © Michelle Chaplow

Algatocín - History

Neolithic man must have inhabited the area but no know dolmans exists within the area.  However just down from Puerto del Espino on the Cortes road by Salitre, the hillside is called El Romeral.  Place name evidence suggests that a hidden dolman is waiting to be discovered, though this may take some time to find.  To add to the probability of the theory, the adjacent hilltop of Cerro de la Laguna (also known as Cerro Gordo) was the site of a Bronze Age hillfort and later, it became the Iberian-Roman town of Vesci.

Vesci stood just off the main Roman road that ran through the area, running from Jimena de la Frontera to Ronda.  Much of its course is today a Canada Real and passes over Puerto de las Eras (see Benarrba), where a rural Roman community once stood.

Known as Al-Atusiyin to the Moors (Banu Atus), this was another village that owes its origins to the Berbers of North Africa.  Local legend claims that the name is derived from a local Arab princess Algotisa, whose father was the ruler of the small principality, based from Ronda.  A castle was built for her in the village, which is supposedly now occupied by the church.  A legend associated with Ibrahim exists in the Malaga legend book.

After the reconquest by the Christians in 1485, the town along with Gaucin was given to the Duke of Medina Sidonia.  Considering its size today it only had a population of just over 100, which had reduced to 42 by 1501.  It became part of the Senorio of Gaucin in 1495 and the parish of Gaucin in 1505.  The remaining population must have recovered, except for four villagers who became of interest to the visitation of the Inquest in 1560.  They were all heavily fined for wearing Moorish dress and continuing with the old rural practices associated with Islam.   

The revolt of 1568-70 as we have seen in other pueblos devastated the local social balance in the region.  The satellite community of Benamahabu disappeared and by 1587, the community only had 10 houses with 50 inhabitants.  By 1718, things had improved and the village took on its modern day appearance.  So many guidebooks inform us that all these white villages are based on the medieval street pattern.  This is one definite example that the pueblo was too small to have an extensive layout and much of what we see today is only 250 years old.  The French occupation of 1810 does not seem to have dented the steep rise and the pueblo peaked in 1877 with 2,437 inhabitants.  The population decline has been since the 1970s when people left for the better wages on the coast.