History of Valle de Abdalajís
Following the expulsion of the Muslims from Málaga, the land that had previously belonged to them was divided up. The division of Valle de Abdalajîs, which was conducted by the scholar Juan Alonso Serrano after the rest of the province had been conquered, saw a large section awarded to a resident of Antequera, Juan de Eslava, who can be considered the founder of the village of the same name and the forefather of the feudal jurisdiction that governed it from 1559 until the inception of the Cortes de Cádiz government in 1811.
The 16th century can be divided into two stages: during the first of these, which lasted until 1559, Valle de Abdalajîs belonged to Antequera, within whose geopolitical structure it remained for 149 years, before the onset of the second period, in which the feudal estate was created and the town gained its independence from Antequera’s jurisdiction by becoming a separate municipality, governed by the lord of the manor and the local council and legal system established by him.
Valle de Abdalajîs was incorporated into the estate of the Padillas dynasty, represented in 1559 by Alonso Pêrez de Padilla y Cobos, great grandson of Juan de Eslava, grandson of the Governor of Antequera Alonso Pêrez de Padilla y Eslava and nephew of the Archdeacon of Ronda, Lorenzo Pêrez de Padilla y Eslava. It was the latter who took control of the entailed estate of Abdalajîs, and who, by virtue of the entailments contained therein, bestowed control of civil and criminal jurisdiction upon Alonso Pêrez de Padilla y Cobos. So, Lorenzo de Padilla y Eslava could be considered the founding father of Valle de Abdalajîs.
By the 17th century, the village’s earliest thoroughfares had begun to appear, including the public square, Calle Real, Calle Alameda, Calle Fresca, the El Medio district, Castillejo, Callejón and Calle Albaicîn. In any event, its urban layout is the result of the constancy and fidelity shown with regard to the Roman and Arabic architecture that had gone before. Its immediate predecessor had been the Roman town of Nescania, built in the 1st century Anno Domini. Back in the times of the Flavius family, it was considered a municipality, a title it regained, as we saw earlier, in the modern era on its separation from Antequera on the 16th of September 1559. A stroll around the village will enable us to appreciate the huge diversity of monuments and historic reminders on show here, including the Palacio de los Cobos, the Iglesia de San Lorenzo and El Molino, proof of the village’s universality.
In the 17th century, the area was still feudal property and its inhabitants vassals. The houses, though the property of their inhabitants, were subjected to a tribute to paid to the lords of the manor, while the local council was appointed by the lord himself. In those days, the village’s activities were based exclusively on agriculture and cattle farming; economically speaking, the inhabitants were divided into owners, tenants, artisans and labourers. The notary, priest and doctor and the occasional resident with a sufficiently high cultural level were considered the more learned members of the community.
The 19th century brought a dramatic political, social and economic transformation that revolutionised the structure of villages; the feudal estates were abolished and dissolved, Abdalajîs among them. Thus, the feudal estate of Valle de Abdalajîs was interrupted in 1812 in accordance with the decision of the Cortes de Cádiz government, only to be restored in 1814 with the arrival of Fernando 7th’s absolutist regime.
When he died in 1833, the Queen Regent, Marîa Cristina, abolished the feudal system, thus turning Isidro Mesîas de Vargas, Count of Los Corbos and last lord of the manor, into a mere owner of property in Valle de Abdalajîs. On his death in 1880, the House of the Padillas disappeared from the village for ever. At the time, Valle de Abdalajîs had 2,859 inhabitants and many of the streets and fountains still standing today had already been built.
From this date on, the village began to acquire its present-day urban structure and the population grew, reaching 3,987 by the 1960s.
The valley is surrounded by hills and peaks such as Asperillas, Golondrina, Parra, Zorreas, Canal, Chacón, Capilla, Rata and Ratilla. Perhaps the most popular, however, by virtue of its immense charm, is Candelitos. The presence of this line of hills has seen flight-related sports (especially hang gliding, paragliding and balloon trips) acquire special significance here, to the extent that the village has been termed “the flight capital". It also boasts at least 14 springs that irrigate part of its 2,100 hectares of land. Vegetable gardens, citrus trees, mushrooms, asparagus, snails and palmitos are just some of the products on offer in the area.