Thursday, 9 February 2012
In June 1500, after the Duke of Nájera conquered Vélez, Nerja was by this time already Christian. The Muslim population there however were granted permission to remain with all their properties. After the Mudéjar uprising, and consequential leaving of the area, Doña Juana granted resettlement for the old Christians, who then occupied the abandoned dwellings, and she decreed that they should be free of paying taxes and of all other services, petty theft or impositions, privileges that were confirmed by Philip III and Philip IV.
At the end of the 18th Century, Nerja had a town council formed with two mayors, three M.P.s and an elected representative starting the municipal independence at the start of the 19th Century.
In 1509, the castle on the cliffs was rebuilt and only then did Nerja as we know it, begin to take shape. The local population, by then made up of relocated Spaniards from the north of Spain, began to build houses and other buildings around the fortress and along the coast. A full defensive system comprising castles and watchtowers spanned the coastline at this time and protected the coast by lighting fires which in turn warned the next watchtower along of the impending danger. These towers remained, guarding Nerja until both castles were destroyed by the English in 1812 to prevent them from falling into the hands of the invading Napoleonic army. Later that century, Nerja was to witness two local disasters; one, the phylloxera plague that destroyed the vines and the second, a powerful earthquake that affected much of Málaga and Granada provinces. It wasn't until the arrival of the tourist boom in early 1960's that Nerja once again started to prosper.