The historic beginnings of this region date the city back to the Neolithic period in the Sierra de Utrera near Manilva. Of the more than twenty archaeological sites in the area, the most outstanding one is probably the one at the Cerro del Castillo, which has remains from the end of the Bronze Era. However, the majority of the remains Roman, there are also some from the Medieval Period, too. Some examples from the Roman Era are the Villa de Sabinillas, the Entorno del Castillo de la Duquesa, the Haza del Casareño, las Lagunetas or the very same village of Manilva. The medieval remains are found at Alcarîa, the Cerrillo de la Sepultura, the Cerro del Tesorillo or the Torre Almenara de Chullera, before the conquest, and the Torre de La Duquesa.
Ever since the 16th century and because of its connection with the Condado de Casares, Manilva’s history has gone hand in hand with this municipality. The lack of safety experienced on the beaches and the highways in and around the towns of Marbella, Gibraltar and Ronda forced them to plead with Carlos 5th to instruct the Duque de Arcos to build a coastal town, which would offer more protection. Finally, in 1528, the king Carlos 5th commissioned the construction of a watchtower, which was to be named, “Salto a la Mora” in response to this petition. A few years later, some 50 of the inhabitants from the town of Casares left their homes to settle around the recently built watchtower in an area that is known today as “ Loma de los Martires”. This first group of people were to name their little hamlet “El Cortijo”, which is the name that is still given to the area today in Manilva. In the early 17th century this area had a stable settlement and a sizeable population.
Manilva was still considered to be dependent on Casares until 26th October 1796, which was the year that it obtained its independent status and the right to be named “Villazgo Real” (Royal Town), after a long battle in the royal courts. .
The town is situated right on the coastal boundary limit between the provinces of Malaga and Cadiz, which happens to be a particularly beautiful part of the coast with lots of spectacular cliffs. The landmark that situates the town is an ancient watchtower known as “Punta Chullera”. There are only two kilometres between what is the town centre and the coast, which is full of housing estates, a yachting harbour, golf courses, and, depends, therefore, on its important tourism industry as one of its main economic resources. However, despite the tourism it is still a relatively quiet place to be. The opportunity to go sailing along the coast combined with the different walks in the hills just off the coast like the Llanos de Tábanos, has made Manilva a place that has attracted artists from all around. The famous “Casa Manilva”, where British and Latin Americans used to come to find peace and relaxation in centuries gone by, is still standing in Manilva today. This wonderful house was founded by Delfina Entrecanales, a art dealer, amongst others. The local inhabitants of Manilva have always been very receptive and have participated in the cultural activities that have been organised related to the arts.
However, Manilva is synonymous with vineyards, which spread out all along the coast on the hills that surround the municipality. The area is well-known for its table wine production and the local speciality is known as “ moscatel de Alejandria” , which is grown in vineyards that cover more than 450 hectares. Its fame is due to the especially small size of the grape and its very sweet taste. Another local delicacy, the raisin, is also commercialised together with the wine. It is hardly surprising that the annual calendar of cultural events starts off every year with the “Fiesta de laVendemia”.