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23 May 2022

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History of Mojacar

In Mojacar, there lives, as in no other corner of Andalucia, a charming and marvellous faithfulness to the Arab past.

An outstanding location as a lookout which commands the horizon, Mojacar has been a source of envy for many people of the past. Many authors agree in speaking about “Old Mojacar” (Mojacar la Vieja) situated in the middle of a cradle of Argaric (in the Antas region) and Bronze cultures, we are speaking of 2,000 years before Christ, in the region where the culture developed which gave its name to an entire period of history. Towards the year 1.100 B.C. the Phoenicians arrived in this region, to settle, attracted to the area of Urci, noticing and becoming acquainted with some cities which were flourishing and developing, cities which they could tradewith to their advantage.

When in subsequent years the Greeks occupied the region, they called this vantage point “Murgis-Akra”, that is “Loft City”. From the Greek developed the Latin “Musacra”, the Arab “Moxacar” and today Mojacar.

The destruction of Rome, was the basic objective of the Second Punic War whose scenario in the final and decisive phase was the Southeast of Spain, an area from Cartagena to Mojacar. A bloody battle took place, cruel and hard fought. Titus Lvy (the Roman historian) tells us that the Carthaginians retreated to Masseni, (Rambla de Macenas, Castillo de Macenas ...) the temporary stopping place where Hasdrubal would gather the remains of his defeated army, and would flee in the year 208 B.C. When the arabs became established in Spain at the beginning of the VIIIth Century, Almeria was under the control of the Caliphate of Cordoba. It was during this period of glory that Mojacar developed which, by virtue of the number of its inhabitants and its privileged location, made for an unassailable location. From the year 907, Mojacar remained loyal to the Caliphate of Cordoba until its breakup.

In the Xith Century, Mojacar was conquered by the Sevillian Almutamid, meanwhile there were frequent cavalary raids by the Christians. From the establishment of Muhammand I in Granada, Mojacar and its territory remained incorporated into the Nazari sultanate, which turned it into a border zone, with the disadvantages that caused. On the 10th June 1488, Queen Isabel and King Ferdinand arrived to accept the submission of the chief magistrates of the region of Vera, but the Chief Magistrate of Mojacar did not arrive to bend the knee before the Catholic Sovereigns. Such an absence alerted the constituted one of the important points of the region.

As a precautionary measure the Sovereigns sent to Mojacar, with an invitation to surrender, a scouting embassy presided by Capitain Garciliaso. According to the tradition, the interview took place at the Fuente (The Village Fountain), where the Alcalde Alabez explained his reasons: “I am as Spanish as you, since the people of my race have been living for more than 700 years; you say to us “You are foreigners; cross the sea over which you came and return to your native land”. “I never took up arms against the Christians, therefore I believe it is right for us to be treated like brothers, not like enemies, and that we should be allowed to continue tilling our land of our fathers and our grandfathers;” and added, “before I surrender like a coward, I will know how to die like a Spaniard”.
Impressed by this reply, they very willingly consented to accept the pledge of the good faith of Mojacar, which remained loyal to its word and lived as just one more city in the Christian Spain. After the Reconquest Mojacar continued to fulfil the role of look-out over the coast, with still more importance. Mojacar was a flourishing city well into the XVIIIth Century, and with military, civil and ecclesiastical components, the population numbered around 10,000 persons. Towards the middle of the XIXth Century the decline of Mojacar began. Continues droughts wore down the resistance of an agricultural people, who began their exodus, first towards different regions of the peninsula and then, at the end of the century, towards South America and California. From the history of those emigrants we could mention by way of anecdote the mystery which has grown up around Walt Disney: Jose Guirao was born in Mojacar around 1901, from where the family emigrated to America, there the parents died when he was 12 years old, he was welcomed into the Disney family, who adopted the little boy and gave him the name of Walt.

After the First World War, emigration headed massively towards Catalunya. The depopulation of the region assumed alarming proportions, especially once the Spanish Civil War came to an end; thedrought, the post-war period and the disappearance of the fishing industry caused the population to change from about 8,000 persons to fewer than 1,000 towards the year 1960.

The miracle arose in the form of tourism. Mojacar started to rebuild itself, keeping faith with its centuries old appearance. In 1966, the Ministry of Tourism granted to Mojacar the award for “The Beautification and Improvement of Spanish Villages”.
Today Mojacar is a village which keeps faith with its architecture, the colour of its white dwellings, its protected spaces, its environment, its beaches, its coves and secluded corners. Mojacar remembers its past with the fantastic “Fiestas of Moors and Christians” which take place every year in June. It remains true to its magic symbol .... THE INDALO.
Today Mojacar is once again a crucible of cultures, with proportionately one of the most international mixtures of people in Spain, with a great variety and quantity of artists (painters, writers, photographers ...) who live practically all year and Mojacar is a source of constant inspiration, with its light, its panoramas, its surrounding and its picturesque personality.



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