Historia de Roquetas de Mar

Roquetas de Mar is a Spanish municipality in the province of Almería and the autonomous community of Andalusia, capital of the homonymous judicial party, located in the region of Poniente Almeriense and 21 kilometers from the capital of province, Almería.

Although its origin is not very precise, it is believed that its most successful base can be the common name Rock romance succeeded by the diminutive suffix “-eta”.

In the book of Apeo y Repartimiento de la Taha de Felix, of 1573, the beach is named from which we now know as the castle of Santa Ana as “Las Roquetas”, alluding several lajas or rocks that are there. Throughout the 17th century cartography, this enclave will always be named as “la Roqueta” or “las Roquetas”. On other occasions as “the Castle of Las Roquetas”. Starting in 1737, the first settlers began to settle in the area of Santa Ana Castle. They mainly came from the Sierra de Gádor concretely from the current Felix, Enix and Vícar.

The tiny suffix that has “-eta” denounces its probable Catalan or Valencian origin. The well-known presence of Valencian sailors on this part of the coast comes to favor or confirm that they were surely the ones who created the toponymous.

The name of Mar was granted by Royal Decree on July 2, 1916, to avoid confusion with La Roqueta, in the province of Tarragona.

Old age

During the Old Age were two civilizations that passed through the municipality: Phoenician and Roman, causing a chain-based exploitation of the resources of the area that were then used by the Arabs. There are certain evidence of the presence of Phoenicians in the area of the municipality.

In Roman times he received the name of Turaniana, at first this population was located in the Ribera de la Algaida (between the current Roquetas and Aguadulce) although the settlement had to be rebuilt at the current location of the village of Roquetas because of floods.

A section of the Roman road from Cástulo to Malacca passed through the municipality, and a milliary of it was also preserved. The milliary measures a metre and a half high and has inscriptions in Roman numerals that indicate the leagues between the towns. It is also known that the Romans extracted salt from the area thanks to the finding of a salt-burning raft accompanied by a water spring (even existing) that was channeled by an acequia.

Such was the importance of the Roman salinas, which appeared around large fish industries in which products such as the garum exported to Rome were manufactured. In turn, several copper and bronze coins of the time have also been found.


During the Nasrid period it was fortified giving rise to buildings such as the Torre del Esparto, the Torre de Cerrillos or the Castillo de Roquetas, currently called Castillo de Santa Ana.

Modern Age

Almeria was conquered during the Reconquest in 1489. The defense of the coast is organized, dividing it and subdividing it into districts. In 1739 the district of Almeria was composed from Roquetas de Mar to Mesa Roldán, being the Alcazaba of Almeria the central fortress. Roquetas de Mar was considered a place of great military interest although he did not succeed in strengthening himself as such, since his activity was relegated to the salinas and to fishing. The birth of the current Roquetas de Mar could be located around the eighteenth century when the inhabitants of the nearby towns, such as Enix or Felix, who at first had no fixed residence in the municipality, settled definitively. These fishermen were dedicated to breaking the salinous lands that surround the municipality, leaving them so suitable for their cultivation.

Contemporary Age

At the beginning of S.XVIII, the first durable settlements occur once the coastline is considered safe from the attacks of Berber pirates. In 1737 there are some cortijos, the town and houses of the military garrison in the surroundings of the Castillo de Santa Ana, whose name was Las Roquetas. In 1776 Roquetas is segregated from Felix and is constituted as a municipality. In 1782 the deslindes of the municipality are made and the main occupations of the inhabitants are military, fishing and agriculture.

During the S.XIX they make up the neighborhoods of Puerto and Cortijos de Marín. Agriculture was the main means of subsistence. In 1820 the Courts declared the abolition of the territorial lordships ending the claim that the Marquis of Casablanca made on all the grounds of the new population of Roquetas. According to the Municipal Archive of Roquetas, the mid-century saw a lead casting industry that ended when the Port of Roquetas was closed in favor of Almeria.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the salinary facilities of Salinas Viejas, Cerrillos and San Rafael are auctioned, and they are acquired by the same owners of the salt flats of Cabo de Gata, the Acosta family, which a quarter of a century later incorporated them into Unión Salinera. These salinas were the first modern industry in the municipality, which remained active until the 1980s.

In 1954 the National Institute of Colonization developed the expansion of Roquetas de Mar. Following the same type of urban planning of all the colonization projects, numerous white plot houses, the school, teachers' houses, social buildings and the administrative building were erected. The architect was José GarcíaNieto Gascón and the project comprised 154 houses. Its most remarkable element is the colonization square of rectangular geometry closed with a porticoed facade. It is currently the Plaza Mayor José Pomares Martínez. Among the actions of the National Institute of Colonization are also the populations of El Parador de las Hortichuelas (1954), El Solanillo (1968) and Las Marinas (1958). The houses are built with both housing space and for agricultural units, on two floors, with barn and haystack ventilated by lattice. These villages were exemplary in terms of their urbanism, of rational layout and seeking the socialization of the settlers. Avant-garde architectural solutions were applied and designed for self-reliance. The settlers came from the Alpujarras and the rest of the province of Granada.

Francisco Fuentes Sánchez, better known as “Paco el Pilot”, mounts the first greenhouse of the province of Almería, manufactured with rods and wire. On November 30, 1963, plastic is used for the first time in Spain to cover five modules of a hundred square metres of ground, an experiment in collaboration with the National Colonization Institute. The estate was the plot 24 of the Iryda, in the neighborhood of San Francisco, next to El Parador de las Hortichuelas. The technicians were Leandro Pérez de los Cobos and Bernabé Aguilar. This greenhouse was underway until 1966.

In 1967 the Urbanization of Roquetas is projected in the coastal strip in the lands that belonged to the Salinera Union. It is born under the law of Centres and Areas of National Tourist Interest of 1963, which aimed to manage the territory of the nation and is conceived as the Centre of National Tourist Interest (CITN). Under the same law, the Urbanisation of Aguadulce in 1964 and the Urbanization of Almerimar in 1967 are also developed, as well as other urbanisations along the Andalusian coast. The promoter of the plan was Agustín González Mozo, former landowner of the Campo de Dalías. In 1971 the partial plan for urbanizing 100ha was developed and in 1985 it was already completed at 80 per cent. Five hotels and 2,000 apartments were built, and until that time it was based on a cheap product focused on foreign tourists, somewhat less chewed than the Costa del Sol and with a deficit of services and infrastructures. For years it worked as an isolated dependent entity of the central population.

In the following decades of the 20th century this development was consolidated that resulted in an increase in the population of both the main nucleus of Roquetas de Mar and the rest of the population centers of the municipality such as the El Parador de las Hortichuelas or Las Marinas.

Since 1997, tourism excellence has been declared to be a national and international tourist destination with careful infrastructure and services.

As a result of tourism development, several urbanisations have also been created for such purposes as the Urbanization of Playa Serena and, since 2011, the Urbanization of Playa Serena Sur.

Currently Roquetas de Mar absorbs 70 percent of the tourism in the province of Almeria.