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Prehistoric remains have been discovered from both the Palaeolithic
period, at a location known as Coto de Correa in Las Chapas, and
the Neolithic period, in Pecho Redondo cave in the foothills of the
The town"s origins may have been the 1st-century Roman settlement of Barbesula. Archaeological remains from this era are to be found at the mouth of the River Verde.
Near San Pedro de Alcantara, which is also part of the municipality, there are remains of the Roman colony of Cilniana -apparently destroyed by an earthquake in the 4th century-, one of the most interesting sites on the Malaga coast, which some historians equate with the city of Salduba mentioned by Pomponius Mela. Roman baths known as Las Bovedas can be found close to the beach.
Another important archaeological site in San Pedro de Alcantara is the Palaeo-Christian basilica at Vega del Mar, built in the 3rd century and later used as a necropolis by the Visigoths.
In the Andalusi-Arabic period, the town stood on the site of the present-day centre of Marbella and played an important role in local history. During the time of the Taifa kingdoms, the idrisies (city governors) were constantly in conflict with the Hammudies of Algeciras, until the arrival of the Benimerines (1274) who, after taking Marbella and Malaga, unified the AREA.
During Nazari times, Marbella was part of the kingdom of Granada, a situation which persisted until its conquest by the Catholic Monarchs in 1485. Relics of this period in the old centre of Marbella are remains of the castle walls and two defensive towers.
A new stimulus, which was to change forever the whole face of Marbella, San Pedro de Alcantara and the rest of the municipal AREA, as well as its inhabitants" economic activities and way of life, came in the second half of the 20th century, when the progressive development of tourism, which had begun in 1960s, transformed the town into one of the world"s leading holiday resorts.
Rafael Romero Calvet, painter.