The history of Almería
During the Moorish period, Almeria reached its maximum splendour, especially during the XI-XII Centuries, after the fall the Caliphate of Cordoba, becoming a very populated and civilized area. From this period, the Alcazaba is the most important legacy which has endured till today.
After the fall of the City to the Catholic Kings on December 26 1489, Almeria fell into centuries of decline. Only in the XVIII Century did Almeria begin to prosper once again and especially at the middle and end of the XIX Century, as it had in Moorish times, due to the mining business and the cultivation of grapes which made the bourgeoisie prosper.
Today, Almeria has a firm economy based on tourism and agriculture (extensive greenhouse-horticulture production).
There are remains of human settlements, as far back as the Bronze Age, on the hill overlooking Almeria where the Alcazaba is located. Before Roman times, there are remains of Phonetician origin. From Roman times, there are many ceramic remains from the I Century, to more elaborate pieces of fine pottery from late Roman Era (V and VI Centuries). This means there were settlements around the bay of Almeria, which depended on an interior urban nucleus (Urci) and served as its natural port before the City was founded in 955. We can see remains from this period in many parts of the City.
The first reliable news referred to Almeria go back to the IX Century, in which Abd al-Rahman commissions a group of Yemmenies to defend the coast to impede Normand raids. Together with the indigenous population, a republic of sailors was formed in Pechina (small village in the north of the City) which thrived on commerce, especially with the North of Africa. Pechina grew and acquired the characteristics of a true city which was named Bayyana of which Almeria was just a coastal neighbourhood inhabited by fishermen and merchants with a defensive tower to control the bay.
The defensive tower was situated on the highest point of the hill where the Alcazaba stands today, exactly in the Third Enclosure. The Tower gives name to the City, Al-mariyat Bayyana the Tower of Pechina. After defeating a Mozarabe (Christians of Roman and Visigoth descent) uprising, Abd al- Rahman III (912-961), moved the Capital from Pechina to the area surrounding the Tower of Pechina and thus founded the City. The Main Mosque was built and a wall was erected linked to the Tower. The City was formed around a walled urban nucleus, La Medina, where the Main Mosque or Aljama, the Alcaiceria (silk market), the Atarazanas (shipyards) and the Zoco (market) stood. Al-Hawd and La Musalla were the religious and commercial neighbourhoods made up of independent nucleus separated by origin, creed and trade. In the years 1009-10, the Cordoba Caliphate Civil War began which resulted in Almeria becoming an independent and thriving Taifas Kingdom. Jairan, at the death of Hixem II of Cordoba, sieged and took the City and Almeria seceded from Cordoba (the Caliphate disintegrated) thus creating one of the Kingdoms of Taifa. Jairan reinforced and extended the Walls of the City. Almotacin (one of the successors of Jairan) surrounded himself with writers and poets in a small court of scholars.
In the XI Century, Almeria was the most important international port in Al-Andalus. Silk of excellent quality and different varieties was the most exported product. Almeria was famous for its textiles and for having many textile workshops. Despite its splendour, Almeria was not able to withstand the siege of the Almoravides (orthodox Muslims, originating from the Sahara-Mauritania area) and later on, the Christian kingdoms attracted by the economic development invaded the City in 1147 under Alfonso VII. In 1157, the Almohades (orthodox Muslims from the North of Morocco) conquered the City back into Moorish hands; these ten years of Christian domination produced an important economic downturn.
In the XIII Century, after the Almohades, the Nazari period began. The Nazari dynasty (last Moorish dynasty in the Peninsula) characterized itself by its continuous internal disputes in which Almeria was involved. Finally, during the 1488 and 1489 campaigns, Almeria falls under Castilian dominance.