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History of Benahavís

Diputación de Málaga

History of Benahavís

The origin of this town dates back to the end of the 11th century when the Arabs founded it around the fortress that they had built to defend the East side of the Arab castle of Montemayor. The three towers; la Reina, La Leonera, and the Daiden, built in the same area to defend the castle are also dated from the same period.

These fortifications were extremely important during the battles that were carried out between the different Kingdoms in and around Tarifa de Al Andalus because of their strategic value (about one hundred kilometres of the Spanish coastline and most of the North of Morocco can be seen and controlled from its walls).

The Christian Era began in January 1485, which was the date that the Catholic Kings entered the city of Marbella and were handed the keys of the city by Mohammed Abunefa.

Benahavîs gained its independence from Marbella in 1572, which is the date that King Felipe IInd presented it with the "Carta Puebla". In more recent times, it is worth mentioning that the El Castillo de Montemayor and Benahavîs were again important players in the history of the region during the French invasion.

Nowadays, Benahavîs is a typical Andalusian village in many ways with the original street layout and the many monumental details that still witness to its glorious past.

However, Benahavîs also boasts some great landscapes that are well worth seeing like "Las Angosturas", a narrow gorge which the Guadalmedina River runs through and the many legends that surround it. One of the most well known is a story of a young bride-to-be who went there to bathe. She chose a small pond, but she began to have trouble with strong undercurrents. He husband-to-be jumped in to save her, but the river swallowed both. Today, this spot is known as "El Charco de los Novios" or "El Charco de las mozas".

There are also a lot of stories to go with the legends. Perhaps one of the most interesting is the one about the fight that infused over the rights to exploit a graphite mine that was discovered by the Arabs and which were being worked by the Gonzalez family (named by the locals as “los moors”) in the 19th century. A group of Nobles and well-to-do people of the day tried to take over the mine by placing a compulsory purchasing order on it. However, the courts at Benahavis overturned the order and backed the original owners arguing that they had always belonged to the “moors” and stated that “ they would not hesitate in attacking whoever so much as dared to go their and work the mine”. The “moros”, urged on by the courts words, threatened everyone who was trying to take their mine, however unfortunately these threats along with the critical situation caused the Crown to get involved, which finally ended up expropriating the mine for State to work.

The local municipal economy is based on tourism, thanks to its proximity to Marbella, its excellent gastronomic offer, and not to mention the numerous splendid golf complexes that are situated within the boundaries of the municipality. All of this has attracted a large number of investors who have put a lot of money into diverse property developments in the area that has created significant wealth for the town