How well protected is San Francisco military

Ayto Vélez-Málaga | Concejalía de Turismo

The antique

During the 8th century BC The Phoenicians settled on our coast, as documented in the centers of Tuscany and Chorreras. The presence of this seafaring people was for various reasons, but the main one was their interest in trade. Starting from these places located in funnel-shaped estuaries, a flourishing trade with the inland developed quickly in all directions using the natural mountain passes.

The Roman settlement of this area is documented by various sites. The most important contemporary witness are the ruins of the port city of Maenoba (Cerro del Mar), from which a systematic expansion of commercial activities as well as fishing and agriculture took place. The salt factory, in which the famous “Garum”, a fish sauce originally introduced by the phenicians, should be emphasized.

The Muslim era

The first historical traces of the old town of Vélez-Málaga are connected to archaeological finds from the Iron Age, which, however, could not be historically traced. Everything seems to indicate that the city was founded in the 10th century. It was built around the fortress ("Alcazaba") and soon expanded towards what is now the La Villa district. The topographical conditions and the later development of the place with its strongly rugged orography suggest that the strategic military location was decisive for the choice of location.

Between the 13th and 15th centuries, it was one of the most important medinas in the Nasrid Empire. The city was not big at the time, but it was very well fortified and protected by a solid defensive wall. As the population continued to grow and people ran out of space within the walls, outskirts emerged in those places where the Arroyo de San Sebastian district as well as the Plaza San Francisco and the Plaza de la Constitución are today.

As early as the 13th century, there were various manors whose residents were dedicated to agriculture. These "Alquerías" (also known as resettlers' farms) include those of Almayate, Benamocarra, Benajarafe, Pedupel, Benadalid, Cajiz, Iberos, Iznate, Torrentes, Alcalaín and others, which were mainly in the west and in most cases the origin the later villages formed in the municipality of Vélez-Málaga.
The importance of Vélez-Málaga during the 12th to 16th centuries is also evident from the writings of authors such as Idrisi, Abulfeda, Ibn Battuta or Abd-al-Basit. “Es como la higuera de Vélez, todo el que llega cuelga su zurrón”, quotes the Granada collection of proverbs by Ibn Asim (1358-1426). This reflects the reputation of Vélez in Nazarene times: the best fruits from the best soil and the warmest hospitality towards travelers.

The information given is based on research by Purificación Ruiz García.

Settlement by the Christians and the 16th century

On April 27, 1487, the city surrendered to King Ferdinand, who marched through the "Puerta de Granada" gate on May 3 and consecrated the existing mosques as Christian places of worship. The Muslim inhabitants were expelled, but were given safe conduct and allowed to take their belongings with them. In their place, old Christians from Baja Andalucía, Extremadura, Murcia and Castilla settled in the place.

The majority of the Muslim population remained as Mudejares on the emigrant farms under the jurisdiction of Vélez. The crown had an interest in maintaining the productive system of the Nasrid epoch with its specialized agricultural products destined for export, as significant income flowed from here into the state treasury. However, the Muslim population suffered from the raids and greed for land of some residents of Vélez, which led to the first legal disputes at the end of the 15th century.

After the Muslims were expelled, the city was largely resettled by the military. Since the area formed the border with the Nasrid Empire and Granada had not yet fallen, the servants of the royal household troops involved in the conquest of Granada settled here. When the land was distributed, the military personnel received estates three times the size of those of the farm workers, but they only made up a third of the total of 600 inhabitants who were to repopulate the recently conquered city. The land was awarded from September 1488, with the church and the common property of the city council also being granted a share. In 1495, Bachiller Serrano was tasked with carrying out a reform to end open disputes over land allocation, which had their origins primarily in the scarcity of land for growing crops and grazing land. The incorporation of the Zalia area partially resolved these issues.

Among the privileges that were bestowed on the city after the conquest, those of jurisdiction should be mentioned in particular. The area of ​​influence expanded beyond that of the musulmachine epoch by first including the districts of Bentomiz and Frigiliana and in 1488 also that of Zalia. On the instructions of the Catholic Monarchs, the city was exempt from sales tax if this exemption was interpreted much more generously by the municipal council than stated in the corresponding exemption document, which only concerned basic consumer products: food, clothing and accommodation, and here too with exceptions such as e.g. B. silk, soap and linen.

As a result of the Mudejar uprising in Nerja and Torrox of 1488, which claimed numerous victims among the Christian troops, Francisco Enríquez, Adelantado Mayor (Chief Justice) of Andalusia and uncle of the king, was appointed governor of Vélez. After he settled in the city, his relatives and clients received their first posts on the town council by direct appointment on behalf of the crown. The same was true of royal household troops and servants. These and other reasons eventually led to an investigation into Bachiller Serrano.

The introduction of a new social order was intended to transform the city model into the exact opposite of the previous model, which included a spatial and demographic reorganization. The new political leaders, in view of their own needs, tried to make Vélez-Málaga a different city than it had been under Moorish rule, and with this aim they planned an architectural reorganization of the public streets and squares and the construction of civil and non-religious ones Buildings. The church and non-religious orders exerted a great influence here and achieved important spatial redesigns by erecting new buildings.

However, this idea failed because of the rugged surface of the city center and the costs that such a redesign would have entailed. These limiting factors outweighed any attempts at rationalization (Renaissance idealism and utopianism) and regulation. The planned city reform remained limited to individual buildings (churches, monasteries, parish halls, aristocratic houses, etc.) as well as a few public spaces (in particular the Plaza Nueva) and the outskirts of San Francisco. The medina, today's La Villa district, and San Sebastián were only remodeled in places. The first major architectural changes were made when mosques were converted into the churches of Santa María, San Juan and the San Francisco Monastery. The pilgrimage chapels of San Sebastián, San Cristóbal and Santa Catalina and the churches of San Roque and San Juan Evangelista were created in a similar way. In addition, the Leprosy Hospital was built in 1508, financed with secular funds, where the Plaza del Trabajo and the San Marcos Hospital are located today. In the second half of the 16th century, the new monasteries Nuestra Señora de Gracia and San José de la Soledad were built. In this way, the 16th century stood out for an incomparable urban development in Vélez-Málaga and, above all, for the construction of new ecclesiastical buildings.

Around today's Plaza de la Constitución, those responsible designed the most important community square in accordance with the requirements of the new social order and created a public square of central importance: the Plaza Mayor. The square, created in the first years after the conquest and renamed Plaza Nueva in 1490, developed into the neuralgic center of the new city, where the organisms of the new political administration and the representatives of the omnipresent power of the Church met. In the second half of the 16th century, the square continued to take shape thanks to new buildings and architectural reforms, including major expansions to the new parish hall, a large three-story Renaissance-style building that was demolished in 1938.

The Christians retained the agricultural organization developed by the Muslims, which specialized in dried fruit, silk, etc. Above all, they also promoted viticulture. Sherry in particular was soon exported to all of Northern Europe.

17th century

The urban development trend was maintained during the 17th century and intensified in the 18th century with the construction of the Virgen de la Piedad chapel, the Jesús, María y José monastery, the Nuestra Señora de los Remedios pilgrimage chapel and the renovations of the San Francisco churches and Las Clarisas. These non-religious buildings shaped the strong ecclesiastical character of the city, already referred to by some as the “city of churches”, in which the largest public squares also served as the setting for the most important church festivities such as Holy Week or Corpus Christi. The Plaza San Francisco and especially the Plaza de la Constitución (formerly Plaza Nueva) are gaining in importance as meeting places for large crowds who celebrate secular and non-religious celebrations or simply enjoy their free time. The squares have retained their importance as neuralgic and privileged centers of the city to this day.

Throughout the modern era, Vélez was the neuralgic and economic center of both its own and neighboring municipal areas. Most of the district's regional wine and citrus harvest was gathered in Torre del Mar. From here the products were sold and shipped to Northern Europe. The area around Vélez was characterized by grain cultivation and irrigation (vegetables, cane sugar and citrus fruits), with self-sufficiency in the foreground. Despite all this, the community did not harvest enough grain and therefore had to make external purchases. This made one dependent on the social and regulatory function of the market controlled by the cooperative. The headquarters of the cooperative has always been the Plaza Mayor next to the Church of San Juan, where a new building was erected between 1747 and 1765.

The population crises, aggravated by epidemics and wars, which rocked the kingdom during the 17th century, also left their mark on Vélez. The population saw itself significantly reduced and there was a general fear of the constant raids that Turkish and Moorish pirates undertook along the entire coast. A system of watchtowers was used to defend the coast, one of which was located in Torre del Mar and could communicate with the "Torre de la Vela" tower of the fortress in Vélez. In dangerous situations, storm bells from Torre del Mar called for the help of the citizens' troops led by the municipal council. Due to its location near the coast, Vélez-Málaga temporarily became the seat of the General Capatinate of the Coast, which established itself in the palace of the Marquís of Beniel. The municipal council suffered from the usual process of oligarchization and patrimonialization, in the course of which the regiments became privately owned by a few families, which made the city government a monopoly throughout modern times, including the Carrión, Piédrola, Igualada, Gámez, Coronado families , Mena, Lasso de la Vega, Valderrama, etc. In addition, the number of councilors rose from originally five to 34 at the beginning of the 18th century. The reason were royal concessions, which in truth represented covert sales of public offices to supplement the always tight state budget. Vélez still shared the bailiff with Málaga, albeit with a certain degree of submission, as the official bailiff was in the provincial capital and appointed a deputy for Vélez. It was not until 1640 that the privilege of secession was achieved, with which the city received its own bailiff.

The 18th century

The 18th century began with the trauma of the War of Spanish Succession, in which Vélez supported the Bourbon dynasty, be it financially through tax payments and gifts from the local council, or actively during the Naval Battle of Malaga that took place on this coast. The appointment of Felipe V took place in the pilgrimage chapel Ermita de los Remedios, which shortly thereafter received the title of patron saint of the city, which it still holds today. In memory of these events, portraits of the king and his wife can be seen in the dome of the chapel.

The 18th century was particularly kind to the city, which experienced remarkable growth in every respect: churches and public buildings were newly built or repaired, the urban infrastructure was refurbished and the access roads beautified. Even the Enlightenment mindset began to take hold, largely thanks to the establishment of the Sociedad Económica de Amigos del País (Economic Community of Friends of the Country) in 1783 under the auspices of Ignacio de Liaño y Córdoba, a strong personality was favored.

The 19th and 20th centuries

The 19th century began with the epidemic of 1804, which was to have a lasting impact on the city's subsequent development. The yellow plague decimated the population by more than half and also incapacitated the city government, as most of the members were either dead or had fled. In these times of crisis, the power of government was in the hands of a soldier, the aforementioned Lieutenant Colonel Ignacio de Liaño. The later invasion by Napoleonic troops and the subsequent formation of a city government sympathetic to the French, with military support from the French troops stationed in the fortress, led to a radical division of the population into two camps, which over the 19th century had no prospect of reconciliation struggled to power, so that periods of conservative or absolutist rule alternated with those of liberalism. Several cholera epidemics, phylloxera, which destroyed the entire district's grape harvest, and the earthquakes of 1884 and 1885 exacerbated the political crisis on a demographic and social level.

In the middle of the 19th century, Vélez-Málaga overcame the economic crisis triggered by the War of Independence at the beginning of the century and experienced a certain boom, which led to a noticeable increase in population. However, this growth stalled towards the end of the century when phylloxera invaded the province of Málaga in 1878 and wiped out virtually the entire wine harvest.

Only a strip of coast where industrial cane sugar production developed was saved from this situation.

Office for art-historical cultural assets,
Cultural office. City of Vélez-Málaga