The Ricote Valley is a region of Murcia made up of the towns of Archena, Ojos, Ricote, Ulea, and Villanueva del Rio Segura, which have been continuously inhabited since the Neolithic period, as their natural conditions made them ideal places to settle.
This territory has over 5,500 years of history, as evidenced by decorated ceramics and burials typical of the Argaric culture of the late Neolithic, located specifically in Ricote.
In Archena, important elements have also been discovered that enrich the history of this Murcia territory. Vestiges of the Iberian occupation allow projecting the conformation of a population in the area based on a culture that could spread throughout the Ricote Valley.
A massive Roman occupation is not confirmed in the area, though there is evidence of a settlement towards the end of the time of the Roman Empire, near the site of “Salto de la Novia”, adjacent to Ojos.
In the year 738, during the Muslim occupation of the Iberian Peninsula, the Arab period began in the Ricote Valley. In Muslim chronicles, the details of the kingdom of Murcia stand out, emphasizing a fertile and prosperous settlement formed by a farmhouse and a defensive nucleus, called Rikut
(Ricote) and Al Sujur
(Castle of the Rocks).
In the 13th century, Ricote witnessed the birth of two of Murcia's greatest scientists, philosophers, and thinkers: Al-Ricoti and Ibn Sabin.
It is worth highlighting, in this same century, the insurrection of Ibn Hud (Aben Hud) against the Almohad power. Ibn Hud’s control of Murcia and a large part of Al-Andalus lasted for only 10 years, as he was betrayed and murdered by his Wali (a kind of representative) from Almeria.
These internal struggles between Muslims generated the military, political, and economic breakdown of all of Murcia. This was the perfect setting for the occupation of the Christian armies.
In 1243, the Alcaraz Pact was produced between the Christians, represented by the Infante Don Alfonso, and the Muslim representatives of each area of the kingdom, highlighting that of the Ricote Valley. The agreement contemplated the delivery to Castile of the kingdom of Murcia - specifically, half of the public revenues and the most important fortresses, including the Ricote Valley. In exchange, the Muslims would receive respect and protection in the conquered lands. However, the vague fulfilment of the agreements led to the Mudejar revolt, or rebellion of the Mudejars, in 1264.
Felipe III ordered the expulsion of the Moorish from all of Spain in a staggered way between 1609 and 1613. In Murcia, an attempt was made to stop this order, given the symbiosis with this town, which contributed greatly to the development of the Ricote Valley. However, from this Murcian region, more than 2,500 Moorish were ultimately convicted.
Today, the Ricote Valley’s economy is based mainly on agriculture. The most important crops are rain-fed fruit trees, especially almond, wine grape, olive, and citrus, especially lemon trees.
Since the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st, the Ricote Valley has made an important commitment to revitalizing the tourism sector, with the clear objective of making the Ricote Valley a quality tourist destination by promoting the tourism resources of this beautiful Murcian region.