The Andalucian “Torres” – towers with a tale of a dramatic past.

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The Andalucian coast has attracted foreigners for at least three thousand years. The earliest “expats” we have documented so far, would be the Phoenecians, eighth century B. They were succeeded by conquerors from Carthage, Greece, Rome. Later Visigoths and Arabs ruled for a period of one thousand years before Spaniards of today took over by the end of the fifteenth century (A.D).

The Spanish Reconquista had been going on for seven hundred years, and the Moslem rulers had been building coastal towers to watch and protect themselves from invasions by Spaniards and crusaders. After the Reconquista was completed in 1498, the Spanish rulers decided to create a Catholic state, and those who refused baptism, were expelled from the country. Consequently, between 1480 and 1610, many hundred thousand (maybe one million) Moslems and Jews were shipped to Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia; it was a considerable part of the population, as that of Andalucia has been estimated to 1,5 million by 1500, and that of Spain to seven million.

The “political refugees had to leave houses and properties; these, of course, were given to baptized citizens. The emigrated population was angry and wanted revenge. They felt they had a right to reclaim their old property, and many organized hostile returns. The Spanish rulers called them “pirates” and encouraged each village to organize protection against them. The conspicuous watch-towers that dotted the coast-line, became an important part of the defense. The majority of them still exist; they are not very impressive buildings, rather primitive constructions, but they come in overwhelming quantities and are surprising density; ou easily walk between them in some few minutes. They tower some fifteen meters up from the hilltops. It certainly must have taken a lot of resources to build them and to keep them working.

Of course the construction of the new mono-religious state necessarily generated plenty of enemies and tremendous defense expenses.