Jimena de la Frontera

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Jimena de la Frontera
View of the medieval castle of Jimena de la Frontera as seen from one of its streets.
View of the medieval castle of Jimena de la Frontera as seen from one of its streets.
Flag of Jimena de la Frontera
Coat of arms of Jimena de la Frontera
Coat of arms
Jimena de la Frontera is located in Province of Cádiz
Jimena de la Frontera
Jimena de la Frontera
Location in the Province of Cádiz
Jimena de la Frontera is located in Andalusia
Jimena de la Frontera
Jimena de la Frontera
Jimena de la Frontera (Andalusia)
Jimena de la Frontera is located in Spain
Jimena de la Frontera
Jimena de la Frontera
Jimena de la Frontera (Spain)
Coordinates: 36°26′N 5°27′W / 36.433°N 5.450°W / 36.433; -5.450Coordinates: 36°26′N 5°27′W / 36.433°N 5.450°W / 36.433; -5.450
Country Spain
Autonomous community Andalusia
Province Cádiz
Comarca Campo de Gibraltar
Municipality Jimena de la Frontera
 • MayorFrancisco José Gómez Pérez (2015) (IU)
 • Total345.66 km2 (133.46 sq mi)
99 m (325 ft)
 • Total9,773
 • Density28/km2 (73/sq mi)
Demonym(s)Jimenato, ta
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
11339 (Estación de Jimena)
Dialing code(+34) 956

Jimena de la Frontera is a historic town and municipality located in the province of Cádiz, Spain. According to estimates made by the National Statistics Institute of Spain (INE), the municipality has a population of 6,707 inhabitants as of 2020. It is surrounded by the Los Alcornocales Natural Park.

The municipality contains three major towns, Jimena de la Frontera, Los Ángeles and San Pablo de Buceite. Other towns include Montenegral Alto and Marchenilla.



The existence of caves and natural shelters with abundant remains and cave paintings throughout the Campo de Gibraltar indicates the existence of human settlements that date back to the Palaeolithic. Jimena de la Frontera is no exception, with the paintings of Laja Alta, with unique maritime scenes from the Bronze Age in the Iberian Peninsula.

The ancient Phoenician city of Oba, known for its minting of coins in the Libyan-Phoenician alphabet, is usually identified with Jimena. In the castle, epigraphs with have been found with the text: res publica Obensis. This name was kept during Roman times. During this period, Jimena developed as a commercial and strategic center. The location of the town, sheltered by the hills but reasonably close to the Strait of Gibraltar, has meant that its strategic functionality was exploited by the different peoples that have populated it. Thus, after the fall of the Roman Empire, the site served as a defensive post over the Strait of Gibraltar for the Visigoths, who lost it to Byzantine hands in the 6th century.

The arrival of the Muslims in the 8th century did not alter this situation. The conquerors carried out a series of actions to reinforce the enclave, already called Xemina (from which the Christian name of Ximena and later Jimena would derive), building a new fortification. The city was in the hands of the Benimerines, until in 1319, when Ismail I gave it, along with others, to the Nasrid kingdom of Granada in exchange for help against Christian advances.

After the Reconquista[edit]

It remained at the frontier position of the Nasrid kingdom (hence its nickname of la Frontera) until 1431, when it was conquered by Pedro García de Herrera, Marshal of Castile, under the reign of Juan II of Castile, who took the town on March 11th. Its border situation was not stable, since it made it change hands between Muslims and Christians during the 15th century on some occasions. In 1451 it returned to Nasrid power, until in 1456, Enrique IV conquered it definitively, handing it over to Beltrán de la Cueva, beginning the rebuilding and repopulation of the town during the last third of the 15th century. Finally in 1510 it went to the Casa de Medina Sidonia, sold by its previous lords, the Dukes of Alburquerque. A few years later, the troops formed in this city participated in the taking of Granada under the command of Rodrigo Ponce de León, for which the Catholic Monarchs gave the town the title of Loyalty in 1493, and later, in 1498, Royal Charter.

The end of the conflicts makes the town lose its military condition in favor of other more productive activities such as agriculture, especially cereal and legumes, cattle ranching and the exploitation of forests, which report abundant amounts to the Duchy of Medina Sidonia. A consequence of the economic development is the growth of the population, which begins to settle outside the walled enclosure. In the seventeenth century, disputes began with the Duke of Medina Sidonia to obtain freedom from the manorial system, although without any result.

The loss of Gibraltar in the 18th century once again transformed Jimena into a military enclave, this time in a fight with the English. Felipe V granted him in 1717 the dictate of Faithful for his attitude during the War of the Spanish Succession. At the end of the century the second blast furnace began to be built, along the banks of the Hozgarganta River, which supplied the warlike needs of the area. The company was maintained as long as these circumstances persisted, but the high costs and the site of Gibraltar ended its existence.

Modern History[edit]

The Spanish War of Independence has Jimena as the scene of battles, with disastrous consequences, human losses and local historical heritage (such as the loss of municipal archives during the French invasion).

After this conflict, the 19th century passed between shocks, such as Riego's pronouncement in 1820, carried out in Jimena by the "Prince" Battalion, one of the first to rise up and based in the town. Apart from this, two events determined the development of the town: the decree of suppression of the manors in 1837, which led to the independence of the ducal power and the appointment of the city by King Alfonso XII of Spain in 1879.

The initial consideration of San Pablo de Buceite and San Martín del Tesorillo as towns must be specifically sought in 1869, when the estates of Buceite and Montenegral Bajo were sold, where these population centers were integrated, by the Duke of Medina Sidonia to the Marquis of Larios.

Between 1875 and 1879 the Rural Colonies of Buceite and Tesorillo were established. At the end of the last century, in 1887, the properties of the heirs of the Marquis de Larios became part of the Guadiaro Industrial and Agricultural Society, beginning to be called San Pablo de Buceite and San Martín del Tesorillo.

In the 1930s, the Sociedad Industrial y Agrícola de Guadiaro (Guadiaro Industrial and Agricultural Society) was bought by Juan March Ordinas, a Mallorcan businessman and banker (Banca March), who in 1944 decided to disintegrate the large estate to pass into the hands of small owners that remain to this day.

During the Civil War and the subsequent Francoism there was an important repression in the town, especially with the destruction of La Sauceda.

In 2018, after 20 years, the Junta de Andalucía approved the segregation of San Martín del Tesorillo.


Today, Jimena's population of around 7,000 has been made up of an increasing number of British ex-pats.

The town is served by road and rail. The main road stretches north to Ronda, and south to San Roque. The railway station is situated just outside the town in nearby Estación de Jimena. Several trains a day stop at Jimena on the line between Algeciras and Granada.


The castle was built on the hill by the Moors around 750 CE. as part of making Jimena a strategic military position, today it is known as Castle of Jimena de la Frontera. Views stretch as far Gibraltar to the south. It is believed that the castle was built on Roman ruins, constructed using locally sourced limestone.

It was declared an asset of cultural interest with the category of Monument in 1931, it is the emblematic building par excellence of the town. The fortress, probably built on the ruins of the ancient city of Oba and which, due to its easy defense and strategic location, especially in times of Muslim domination and above all, due to its border position, will reach its maximum splendor.

The castle was taken by the Jerezan people in 1430, reconquered by the Granadines in 1451 and definitively integrated into the Crown in 1456.

Inside there is a cemetery with two mass graves from the Civil War.

It consists of an elongated irregular wall to adapt to the terrain at the top. With watchtowers arranged in sections, the set of the Torre del Reloj (or Albarrán) stands out, with a bent entrance arch and cisterns from different periods.

The Alcázar also stands out, renovated after the Christian capture, with its airy and circular Torre del Homenaje, 13m tall, which inside, hides a previous one, with a polygonal plan.


Historical population
Source: INE (Spain)


  • Town Carnival - February (March in 2019)
  • Agricultural Fair - Second week of May
  • Annual Village Fair - Second week of August
  • Devotion to the Reina de los Angeles - First week of September
  • Festival de Música de Jimena de la Frontera- Second week of July [2]



  1. ^ Municipal Register of Spain 2018. National Statistics Institute.
  2. ^ Jimena Music Festival

External links[edit]