Jubrique - History
Man has been interested in the mountainside since he learned to smelt iron. The reddish mountain side of Sierra Bermeja is full of ores and the Romans had a road that ran from Casares to Cueva del Baque, which can be found on the Jubrique / Genalguacil district junction, very near the top of the mountain. The Romans were mainly after the iron, but other ores were extracted such as lead. This will explain why after the Moorish invasion of 711 AD, this small area of 40 square kilometres of rugged mountainsides supported four communities. This was an industrial area with ores being extracted from the immediate ground, smelted by wood from the extensive forests that hug the mountain slopes, fed by bellows powered by the small but powerful streams. How things have changed and within 500 years; history and nature have intervened and left very little evidence for us to see today.
Place name evidence suggests that Jubrique is not of Arabic origins. Due to the Latin within “Subriq”, local historians believe it is a Mozarabe name. A feasible story, as the Mozarabes were marginalised within society and pushed to the less productive lands. Economic survival was maintained by the continuation of the Roman mines, which the Arabs may not have become physically involved with. During the Moorish period the immediate area was a sophisticated community of 4 villages called Rotillas, Benameda and Monarda each supported populations as large as Jubrique. Even the present site of Jubrique is post 15th century, with the original settlement being located further up the mountainside, at a place today called Jubrique la Vieja.
Like many of the other local villages, Jubrique submitted to the Christians in 1485. A whole slice of land was given to the Duke of Arcos, under the lordship of the Marques of Cadiz. In 1491 this local area was formalised into the Señorio de Casares, which included Jubrique and its three other communities. By 1505 this Señorio also became a Parish, with the main church as Casares. Jubrique, Rotillas and Benameda were all mentioned as part of the religious administrative area, but Monarda had already passed away from records. As this lost village is now very near to Jubrique Nueva, it is logical to presume that the new village actually absorbed the two communities.
At the time of the reconquest, the various censuses seem to miss out on the statistics of Jubrique. Unusual as every other community, many of which have now gone, are recorded. The village did move location and this might explain why the figures are missing in all the records. Monarda had 43 houses and taking an average of 4 householders per property, a sizeable population existed near Jubrique Neuva at the time of the conquest.
Even though records are limited, the Conde de Medina was very much aware of the ancient mines in the area. A record from his archives refers to the Roman “Minas de los Morteretes”. Mining was an important part of the economy and the Moorish slaves were probably given quotas to fill, to keep the overlord happy. This was all to end when the village and its satellite communities suffered a similar fate to the whole region, after the Morisco rising in 1570. However, in trying to capture the village back from the rebels, Pedro Bermudez led a bungled assault, which lost 40 of his men. The Duke of Medina sent a larger force and the village paid the price for resistance.
One story called the “Hurtado de Mendoza” tells that the soldiers under Don Alonso de Luna herded the Moriscos into the church and burnt them alive. This conflicts with the story in Genalguacil, where the local Christians were herded into the church by the rebels and burnt alive. Whatever the outcome, a garrison was left in the village and was used for mopping up operations throughout the area, especially in the higher mountainous regions, which remained bandit country. Records of Moorish disturbance remained until 1610, when the whole area was ethnically cleansed.
The foundation of the new church in the present pueblo commenced at the end of the 16th century, indicating that a new start was made. This is not surprising, when so much blood was spilled a few years earlier. The remaining two larger settlements were also closed down at this point in time, rendering much of the area today as a large expanse of uninhabited terraced mountainside.
Like all of the villages in the area, the village was repopulated with loyal citizens from other parts of Spain, mainly from the overlords other land holdings, with economic incentives to move. Even so in 1587 only 22 inhabitants are recorded, suggesting the heavy price the pueblo paid for its defiance. Things improved with incentives and by 1718 the pueblo had once again grown to a respectable size of 324, peaking in 1860 to 2,777.
During this period, some mining continued and an investment was made in numerous mills and outlying farmsteads. An 18th century manuscript, which is now housed in the Museum at Malaga, describes the area in a document called the “Montes de Handaguistan”. According to the record Handaguistan is a river to the east of the pueblo, near the border with Farajan and notes a large building, though its dimensions are not described. A look at a map today shows a river in the right direction with a slightly different spelling, with a G replacing the H. The nearest established buildings in the area is a large group of Bodegas, which demonstrates that some investment in the wine industry was made around this time. As has been seen in other pueblos, this industry was made bankrupt by a plague that hit the vineyards in the 19th century.
The village of Jubrique finally became independent from Casares in 1814, when Fernando III granted its charter, in recognition of the town’s suffering and loyalty during the French occupation. Jubrique was never properly occupied by the French and remained a bastion for the Spanish guerrilla fighters, who were able to move around the area, along the many secret tracks that link the various pueblos.
Today the Pueblo has a population of 751, with many commuting to work on the Costa del Sol. Tourism and some agriculture are now run by a co-operative, and a daily bus service links the village to Ronda and Estepona. A severe road accident near the village in 1963 made the local authorities aware of how remote this village was and the town now has its own medical clinic. The village is strong enough and seems to be holding its ground. It can now boast of a municipal pool and a strong town band.
Genalguacil is one white Andalucian mountain village that art lovers will not want to miss. More >
La Posada de Mirador de Jubrique, plus a number of apartments to rent and casas rurales. More >
Genalguacil is the only village named after the River Genal, that played an important role in agricultural development. More >
Jubrique la Vieja,Monarada, Rotillas, Benameda re the names of deserted Moorish villages near Jubrique. More >
Where the road crosses the Genal River you can find a popular roadside restaurant called Venta de San Juan. More >
Camping Genal is located right beside the Genal river in a woodland location. Swimming is popular in the river in the summer. More >