Los Alcazares (Murcia)

History of Los Alcazares

Los Alcazares is one of the 45 municipalities in the Murcia province, located on the banks of the Mar Menor, 59 kilometres from the city of Murcia, capital of the region. With a population of 16,138 inhabitants (2019), it has an area of 19.82 square kilometres.

Historical remains

Findings of prehistoric remains such as weapons and copper utensils testify that the ancestors of the Mar Menor were engaged in fishing in about 2,500 B.C.

The remains of submerged amphoras, ships, raft walls for manufacturing, old roadways, cisterns and fortifications confirm the presence of Phoenicians, Tyrians, Greeks and Romans in the Mar Menor.

The oldest historical vestiges located in the area confirm the presence of cultural elements from the Roman Empire. These remains demonstrate the existence of a populated centre that had thermal baths and spas, at that time probably linked to the healing processes attributed to the waters of the Mar Menor.
Los Alcazares (Murcia)
The origin of the name Los Alcazares has its roots in the Muslim era, coming from the Arabic word Al Qasr, which means the fortress. This is explained by the Arab occupation of the territory of Spain for approximately 800 years (from 711 to 1492) whose influence especially extended to the south.

The presence of numerous cisterns, and therefore drinking water, attracted the Muslim population to its territory, which created a fortified nucleus taking advantage of the Roman baths, giving it the name of Alcazares.

The archaeological findings discovered prove that this is the oldest population nucleus among those existing on the banks of the Mar Menor, being for the most part vestiges belonging to the period of Muslim occupation.

The Arabs chose Los Alcazares for the excellent therapeutic properties of its waters, but they also used the Los Alcazares wharf for port transactions.

However, it would not be until the Christian repopulation when Los Alcazares became truly important as a fishing port and a port for goods, in addition to its agricultural production.

The Christian repopulation of the Mar Menor region began in the 13th century with King Alfonso X, who ordered the distribution of the lands among the Christian settlers who had taken part in the successive pacifications within the territory of the Murcia province.
Los Alcazares (Murcia)
Towards the 16th century, the Spanish crown called for the conversion of Moors and Arabs to the Christian religion. This population of Moors who accepted the conversion were identified as the Moorish (a word derived from Moors). Towards the 15th century, the pressure towards this population of Moorish increased until they were finally expelled from Spain.

The early days of the Modern Age on the Mar Menor coast are characterized by the Berber scourge. During the 16th and early 17th centuries, the raids by these North African pirates intensified, causing serious damage to productive settlements and human lives.

In the late Middle Ages and early Modern Age a series of coastal watchtowers were built to defend the area from Berber pirates.

This is the reason for the depopulation that occurred in the Mar Menor during this period. Despite the fact that in the 18th century the Berber danger persisted, the neighbouring life of Los Alcazares became stable, transforming itself into a place of rest.

Development of Los Alcazares

An important moment for the development of Los Alcazares was the construction of the first Spanish Army seaplane base in 1915, still in operation today.

By a resolution dated 14th July, 1983, the town hall of Los Alcazares was created and on 13th October of that year it was finally created as one of the municipalities of the Murcia province.

The economy of Los Alcazares has been transforming in recent years, starting with agriculture and fishing as its main activities, until it became an economy closely linked to the service sector, thanks to the great boom that tourism has experienced in this area during recent years.