The modern era

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The coast following the re-conquest and up to the 17th-18TH Centuries.

The depopulation seen following the Re-conquest gave way to the gradual establishment of a small urban population around the Los Vélez castle, the existing Mazarrón. Life then was marked by the insecurity coming from Berber pirate incursions, and from which to protect themselves a series of towers were built on the coast. Mining activity was centres on alum treatment.

Following the Re-conquest there was an important depopulation of the land. Dependant on the Council of Lorca, the population nucleus called “Houses of the Almazarrón Alum” began to be organized around the recently founded Los Vélez Castle, under the protection of which was also the house of the Marquis of Villena from the last decade of the 15th century, when Enrique IV conceded the privilege of exploitation of the mines to both marquis.

The mines were incorporated into the crown during the time of Felipe II and there occurred the segregation of the Lorcan municipality in 1565, centering mining activity on the treatment or residues of alum, or so-called almagras.

The insecurity of the coast as a consequence of the Berber piracy led Mazarrón to construct watchtowers from which alerts of the presence of invaders were given. The oldest is the La Azohía or Santa Elena tower (also known as the tower of Sudia, Subida or Santa Catalina), built in 1578 y and in service from 1580 onward.

There is no further information about the Port, Hill Top or Santa Isabel tower, built in the 16th century, until a 1770 report on the general condition of the watchtowers by the engineer Wodopich.

Later on, another tower was built on the site of where the Mazarrón Port lighthouse now stands, as well as the Caballos tower in Bolnuevo, today reconverted into a hermitage.



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