Aguilas is a Murcian municipality bordering the province of Almeria. In total, it covers slightly over 251 square kilometres. It is located on the Costa Calida of the Mediterranean Sea, where it extends 28 kilometres.
According to 2021 data, the population is around 36,000 inhabitants, although it should be noted that this municipality has been populated since Paleolithic times. Throughout its many centuries of history, Aguilas has passed through many cultures, such as Argaric, Phoenician, Roman, and Muslim.
Initially, Aguilas was known by the name of Aquilae. Later, it was called Aquila. The first Roman colonizers were dedicated to protecting the coastal outlet, as it was the loading point for minerals from the adjacent mountains.
The port trade of Aguilas has improved its economic situation to a great extent. It has also allowed the municipality to maintain its unique cultural ties. Aguilas is an outlet to the sea for the inhabitants of Lorca.
Centuries ago, when the Arabs controlled the Iberian Peninsula, towers were created in Aguilas for coastal control and defence. Over time, many of these towers have been rebuilt. In fact, one can currently visit the San Juan de las Aguilas Castle, which was built in 1579.
During medieval times, both the first and second Taifa of Murcia were under the command of Aguilas. In past times, it was part of Lorca, though it finally achieved independence as a municipality in 1834.
Between the 19th and 20th centuries, a large number of British immigrants arrived in Aguilas intending to work in the mining sector. Its cultural features are still a characteristic part of the municipality, for example, in buildings such as the British Cemetery.
During the Spanish civil war, Aguilas was affected by attacks from Italy due to its support for the Republic. Later, the fall in mining caused a high emigration rate.
For centuries, the economy of Aguilas has been sustained by mining and esparto grass. Even today, with this material, the artisans of Aguilas create a large number of utensils.
Currently, agricultural activity generates a high economic income. Aguilas is one of the great tomato producers in Europe.
However, tourist activity also plays a very important role in the economy of this beautiful municipality.