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Town History

Javea - MapThe market town of Jávea is situated in the province of Valencia, and north of Alicante in the south-east region of Spain.

The Earliest Records

The favorable geographical location of Jávea and the diversity of ecosystems that exist, made it possible for many cultures to live and settle in this area. According to the earliest records, we can estimate that the first settlers were occupying the area around 30,000 years ago.

This remote settlement was situated in and around the Cavern Cave, and on the cliffs of Cabo de San Antonio – a cavity that was occupied by groups of Paleolithic hunters. There have been ten archaeological excavations in this area since 1990.

The Christian Settlers

The remains found in the numerous excavations in the historic center of Jávea confirm without a doubt that the urban origins of the city followed the Christian conquest in the mid 13th century.

St. Bartholomew's, Javea

St. Bartholomew’s Church, Javea

In earlier times, during the Andalusian era, there were a few small settlements in the highest part of town. So when the 1244 troops of James I snatched these lands for their Andalusian settlers, they found a region consisting of small scattered farmsteads. These were mostly concentrated in the valley of St. Bartholomew, and there was no defined urban center at this time.

Christian settlers coming mainly from Catalonia were ultimately responsible for the creation of the town of Jávea.

Until well into the 18th century, one of the main concerns of the population was the defense against the continuous attacks from pirates of North Africa. As a result, numerous watchtowers were erected around the coast. The walls and doors of the church of St. Bartholomew were also reinforced in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, and it became a veritable fortress.

The 18th and 19th centuries saw strong economic and demographic growth. This came as a result of the commercial success of an agricultural product – raisins. With its processing and marketing, Jávea and the entire region experienced a time of great economic expansion. This product was exported to Europe, especially in Britain, which led to an intensification of port traffic in Denia and Jávea. A few middle class families that controlled the production and marketing of raisins in and around Jávea amassed great sums of wealth.

Stemming Raisins, Javea - Artist: Joaquín Sorolla. Completion Date: 1898.

Stemming Raisins, Javea
Artist: Joaquín Sorolla
Completion Date: 1898

However, competition came from eastern Mediterranean regions, which eventually caused a serious crisis that will culminate in 1890, the year that marked a turning point, and the gradual decline in the production and trade of the product.

Jávea – As We Know It Today

Until the last quarter of the 20th century, agricultural industries employed more than two-thirds of the workforce in Jávea. But in the 60’s, tourism caused a profound change in local society. The census of 1970, recorded 7,130 people living in the area. The population was recently recorded in 2011 at over 32,000 people.

The development of tourism in Jávea led to a dramatic change in the socio-economic structure to the point that agriculture and fishing were, from the standpoint of economic activities, almost two testimonials. By contrast, the service sector, represented by the hospitality, retail and other services related to tourism, now represent the largest part of the local economy, and the secondary sector (mainly construction) represents almost 38%.

Beyond all these changes, the uniqueness of Jávea remains in the beautiful landscapes that still surround a unique coastline with high cliffs, coves and beaches, and largely preserved rich heritages and cultures.

References

http://www.ajxabia.com/ciutat/historia

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