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History of Coín

Diputación de Málaga

History of Coín

The archaeological remains that have been discovered in the area known as Cerro del Aljibe date back to between the 1st century before Christ and the 1st century, and therefore set the date for the existence of a settlement here at about two thousand years ago.

Remains of a settlement, and graves and ceramic objects have also been found in the Llano de la Virgen, and would seen to be from a medieval town, although there are traces of earlier settlements, too. The Romans began by calling Coin, Lacibis, then they changed to La Cobbin and finally left it as, Castro Dacuan. The Arabs are thought to have taken this word and turned it into Cohinede. The word Castro leads experts to think that there was some kind of socially structured settlement, and it is the root from which today’s name is taken.

However, it was really the Arabs that laid the foundation of the urban development of the town and who turned it into the most important town in the region. Abderraman 3rd was the Arab leader who built the defence walls on the site of the Roman town. The known traveller from Tangiers named Coin( Dacuan) “ a beautiful castle with lots of trees and fruit” and Al Jatb praised it highly, too. Coín reached moments of great wealth, which the Jews were quite involved in as they promoted lots of trade by exporting the wines, figs, raisins and almonds.

The Arab’s stay in the town left behind lots of beautiful stories that are still told. One such story is from the 16th century and tells the tale of a Moor, who was in love with a women in the village. While he was visiting her once he was captured by a Christian knight. When the knight saw how much he loved her he said that he would let him visit her one more time if he promised to go back to his position as a slave. The Moor agreed to the deal. He went through with his part of the bargain and was given his freedom as a prize for such a noble action.

This town was conquered by the Reyes Católicos after a series of battles in which Capitán Pedro Ruiz de Alarcón lost his life on one of the scurries inside the fortress. Tradition has it that on seeing that he was wounded and dying his last words were, “I did not enter to fight to run away from the heat of the battle”. The King Fernando el Católico ordered his men to install more heavy artillery to finish off the siege and Coin was completely destroyed during the siege. The reconstruction work was undergone by the people who came to repopulate the town on the order of the Monarchs. Slowly, they helped to rebuild the town and restore its local economy, too.

The 10th of November 1810 is a date that stands out in Coin’s history books as it was the day a terrible storm hit the town and caused severe flooding, which destroyed lots of houses. Finally, it was in 1930 that King Alfonso 13th granted Coin the title of City of the realm.

As for the urban development of the town, it must be said that it has been done in quite an orderly manner, and there are two quite easily differentiated areas within the town’s limits; the ancient quarter and the more modern zone. The ancient quarter is accessed through the Parque San Agustín, which takes visitors into an area of great architectural beauty with the Plaza de San Andrés or the Plaza de la Luna as two of the examples of the age-old glorius years the town once lived. The Plaza de Santa María is home to the church of the same name that was built on the site of the old mosque. Along Calle Cárcel the visitor comes across the Plaza Teniente Coronel de la Rubia, better known locally, Plaza El Pescao. The side and back of the Iglesia de San Juan Bautista (16th century), which has one of the most elaborated Mudejar coffered ceilings in all Andalusia, can be appreciated from here. Continuing along the route through the quarter, the next stop is in the Plaza de San Andrés, with its tower that dates back to the Moorish Era and which has a cross at the top and a fountain in the centre that dates back to 1933.

Any stroll through the narrow white-washed streets of Coin cannot be complete without a close look at the numerous vaulted niches which make it especially beautiful and which shelter some modest images of the Cristo Crucificado, which is always extremely well looked after and decorated with flowers. As an added extra visitors can also see some colourful examples of interior courtyards that are squeezed between the houses.

Along the Plaza Alameda, which is the main street in Coin, there are lots of fountains spaced irregularly throughout the streets, and at the end is the Torre de los Trinitarios.

The local economy has been traditionally based on the sale of citrus fruits, and especially the lemons, the oranges and the mandarins, which taste fantastic. However, the other fruits like, apples, plums, and medlars and a wide range of vegetables are also important crops. From a distance the different crop plantations look like a colourful mosaic in the valley that, with its mild climate, provides a home to Coin’s agricultural industry. In addition to all this there is quite an important industry dedicated to the many herds of animals, especially pigs. Lastly, it should be said that there is quite a lot of activity in the small crafts sector, with the typical green-glazed pottery, which mixes the skills of many artisans with some complex industrialised processes. Tourism is today an important asset for the municipality.

The streets named, La Feria, Vicario or Buena Vista are where the majority of the commercial trade goes on.