The history of Campillos is not very well known. Remains of coins and pieces of pottery, and what seem to be Roman-Iberian settlements have been found in El Castillon. The presence of three capitals found at the Moralejo is enough evidence to safely say that there must have been a Visigoth enclave here at some time, too. Today, the Colegio San Josê takes up this site.
However, despite the fact that these are quite important findings from an archaeological point of view, there is little or no documentation relating to the existence of a settlement called Campillos until the 15th century. This was when the Christian forces were reconquering the towns and villages in the area, amongst which was Campillos. At that time the municipality was under the jurisdiction of the neighbouring town Teba until it was granted its autonomy in 1680. It is for this that it is said that the “history” belongs to Teba. These two neighbouring towns have always had quite difficult relationships as rivals, but from time unmemorable they have done business together as partners.
It was in 1492 that the first officially recorded rent agreement was signed in Campillos and in 1833 it was included as part of the province of Malaga. During all these years the only recorded documents that exist are either to do with the buying or selling of land, the fixing of territorial boundaries with Teba, and the identification of property.
Campillos can be said to be a typically classical Mediterranean town as far as its layout is concerned, with the Plaza de la Cruz Blanca is at the heart of everything. In 1809 Napoleon’s troops executed a group of residents from the village and from then on the town square has been said to be a place “ to feel, to love, to sacrifice oneself and to suffer”. From the moment the first church was built in 1536 through to the completion of the most recent one to be built in 1821 the village was truly born. The old shantytown kinds of houses disappeared slowly and were replaced by modern buildings. The widened, paved streets linked public places and public places like the beautiful Parque Jose Hinojosa and the gardens in the Plaza del Cardenal Spinola were also added to the urban development. Today, Campillos is a delightful combination of older more country estate kind of properties alongside more modern buildings of all shapes and sizes. One of the most important buildings within this maze of urban development is the school founded by the Macias family.
This village is twinned with Fuente Vaqueros in the province of Granada, which was the hometown of Garcîa Lorca. Josê Marîa Hinojosa, a famous poet, (1904), was a native of Campillos. He had many famous friends, too like Aleixandre, Dalî, Prados, Alberti, Altolaguirre and Lorca. Hinojosa led the surrealist movement in Spain, but was assassinated in Malaga on 22 August 1936.
The local economy is almost entirely based on agriculture. In 1859 the Reverend Richard Robert said of Campillos, “ it was a large town, surrounded by huge plains full of wheat; the mountains (near Teba) further away seem to surround it from afar”. However, nowadays along with the crop farming there are important pig farming industries, textile-manufacturing industries and food-processing plants as well.