||This article may require copy editing for grammar errors due to mistranslation from Spanish. (February 2013)|
|Comarca||Costa del Sol Occidental|
|• Mayor||Antonio Sánchez Pacheco|
|• Total||148.8 km2 (57.5 sq mi)|
|Elevation||428 m (1,404 ft)|
|• Density||500/km2 ( 1,300/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
Mijas is a town and municipality in the Province of Málaga in the autonomous community of Andalusia, located on the southwestern coast of Spain. Mijas belongs to the comarca of Costa del Sol Occidental. Its center is a typical Andalusian white-washed village, located on a mountainside about 450 m or 1,476 ft. above sea level, in the heart of the Costa del Sol region.
The municipality includes:
- Mijas Pueblo (the hillside village)
- Mijas Costa (main commercial and residential area adjacent to (but not strictly part of) Fuengirola
- La Cala de Mijas (separate village and small resort by the sea to the west)
- Las Lagunas (largely suburban and mixed commercial to the north of Fuengirola).
The economy of Mijas is primarily based on tourism, featuring museums about local history, and many souvenir shops. The municipality has seven golf courses (four more are under construction), including La Cala Resort, the biggest golf resort in Spain. Agricultural products include potatoes, cereals, and avocados.
Mijas was founded in prehistoric times by the Tertessians. The remains of a fortification are still visible in parts of the present-day wall. Ancient Greeks and Phoenicians visited the village, attracted by the area's mineral wealth, as described in the Ptolemy’s Geography of the 2nd century.
The Romans, who kept up a lively commerce with Mijas, knew it as Tamisa. Roman domination was later replaced with Visigoths rule; after 714, the Visigoths, in turn, were succeeded by the Moors. The Moors allowed the village inhabitants to preserve their property, their religion, and their customs in exchange for a third their goods from agriculture and livestock farming. It was also the Moors who abbreviated the name of Tamisa to Mixa," which has later become the present-day Mijas.
During the time of the emirate of Córdoba, the village was conquered by Umar ibn Hafsun, remaining under the rule of Bobastro until the latter was defeated by Abd al-Rahman III in the late ninth century.
In 1487, Mijas resisted the attacks of the Catholic Monarchs during the siege of Málaga. After Málaga fell, the inhabitants surrendered and most were sold as slaves. During the Revolt of the Comuneros a few decades later, Mijas remained loyal to the Spanish crown, which granted it the title of Muy Leal ("Very Loyal"). Soon after, Joanna of Castile promoted it to the status of villa (town) and exempted it from royal taxes.
During this period and into the nineteenth century, Mijas suffered from intense pirate activity along the coast. It was this pirate activity that motivated the construction of the watchtowers that can still be seen along the coast.
In the 19th century Mija’s livelihood was mainly agriculture and fishing plus some farming and mineral extraction. Vines were the main source of wealth of Mijas until the Philloxera plague destroyed all the vineyards. Also important was paper production; some mills located in the area of “Osunillas” date back to 1744. The mid-1800s was the most productive time in the industry, thanks to the arrival of Valencia’s Paper-Makers, a carpenter from Alcoy (a Alicante’s Spanish town) and a mop, which created new functional links on this manufacture. Especially notable were the “paper beds”, very useful in Malaga because they used it as a raisin wrapper. An important historical event happened on December 2, 1831. General Torrijos landed at the beach “El Charcón” with 52 men. They crossed Mijas, climbed the hill to the top and took refuge at a house on “Alqueria” in “Alhaurin de la Torre”, on Molinas County property. They were surrounded by troops sent by the governor Gonzales Moreno. Torrijos and his companion were shot on the San Andres beaches on December 11, 1831.
In 1873 a road opened between Mijas and Fuengirola, ending the segregation between the two towns which had been in effect since 1841. However, the village remained isolated until the Second Republic, when the first newspaper arrived. There was no phone service until 1953 and the town consisted mostly of shacks. The population was scattered across the countryside, which consisted of small farms. During the post-war period there was a lot of hunger and unemployment. The only work in the area was the collection of grass for the esparto. But the effects of droughts weakened even this industry. During this era, Mijas also was the scene of anti-Franco army operations because of the support and respect of the army in this area.
In the 1950s an asbestos factory was built to reduce unemployment and the first small hotel was built because of the growing fame of the Costa del Sol. With the advent of tourism, the towns of La Cala and Las Laguna began construction of residential urbanizations resulting in the birth of Chollocasa, Cala, Irentinspain, and many more urbanizations. Las Laguna appeared out of nowhere from the interior of a farming community, and La Cala was a rural village with just 19 farming families.
The climate of Mijas, due to its proximity to the sea, enjoys mild temperatures, with an average of 18 °C (64 °F), without extreme heat in summer and little frost in winter. The rainfall is below 600ml (36 in.)per year, and occurs mainly between November and January. The town boasts some 2920 hours of sunshine a year.
The climate changes gradually with increasing elevation in the mountains. Temperatures can drop to 10 °C (50 °F). In the peaks, over 600 meters high (1,968 ft.), some ice may form in winter, while precipitation increases to almost 800ml (48 in.).
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