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TOURIST INFORMATIONHISTORY28 OCTOBER 2020

HISTORY OF THE CITY

The history of Torrevieja and its rise as city began in 1320. During this period, under the reign of Jaime II, Torre de la Mata and Torre de Cabo Serven or Cabo Cervera, commonly known as Torre del Moro, were rebuilt. The aim of these towers was to serve as safeguard for a detachment that monitored the coast in order to prevent possible attacks by corsairs or Berber pirates.

In 1482, King Ferdinand the Catholic ordered a channel to be built to communicate the lagoon of Orihuela (nowadays called “lagoon of Torrevieja”) and the sea with the purpose of reducing the salt concentration of the lagoon. This channel is known in Torrevieja as “Acequión”.

In 1772, like since some years before, the lagoon of Guardamar (nowadays “lagoon of La Mata”) was dedicated to salt extraction and concentrated in its surroundings a small population mainly comprised of labourers who worked in the aforementioned salt flats and soldiers of the tower. Due to the high quality of the salt of the lagoon of Torrevieja, in 1776 this product started to be shipped from Torre-Viexa or Torrevigía (watchtower), which was the closest place to the salt flats and had the best natural conditions. 

Likewise, while most of the towns began to settle in fertile valleys or mountains and near rivers and ports, the reason of the chosen location of Torrevieja are the two salt water lagoons and the tower whose name it bears.

As a consequence of the boom in salt extraction, in 1777 work was undertaken to build a small pier in the vicinity of Torrevieja and a salt deposit (“Eras de la Sal”). Similarly, the delimitation of its own municipal area is decreed by sovereign ordinance what involved the segregation from Orihuela. During this time, the population was around 400 inhabitants.

Twenty-five years later, in 1802, the population grew up to 1,500 inhabitants. During this period, the administration offices of Salinas de la Mata were also moved to Torrevieja and a construction plan of the town was approved. Three years later, the first cargo quay was built and works for the construction of the temple in honour to Inmaculada Concepción began, since the bishop of Orihuela ordered the parish to be moved to Torrevieja and its vicarage began dependant on the church of La Mata.

The proximity of the salt flats and its status as exporting port, for both salt and fruit and vegetable products from la Vega Baja of the Segura river, developed the port and city, which was made independent from Orihuela in 1820.

In 1829 there were two major earthquakes that struck the city and, therefore, it had to be rebuilt.  Afterwards, in 1867, the railway of “Compañía de Andaluces Alicante-Murcia” was opened. The event was attended by the head of the government Antonio Cánovas del Castillo. The Torrevieja-Albatera branch also depends on this railway. One year later, on th 2nd  of July 1830 the first City Council was formed.

Finally, in 1931, Alfonso XII awarded Torrevieja by Royal Decree the title of city due to its recent development in agriculture, industry and trade.

The latest relevant events that have taken place in this municipality were the publication of an order by the Ministry of Finance in 1953 that stated that the municipal areas of Almoradí, Guardamar del Segura, Rojales and Orihuela were to be added to the municipal area of Torrevieja. In 1997, Torrevieja became owner of the historical “Eras de la Sal” and it was declared in 1999 head of the Judicial District no. 13 of the province of Alicante. Its jurisdiction comprises the municipalities of Guardamar del Segura, Rojales, los Montesinos, Benijófar, San Miguel de Salinas and Torrevieja.

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