The name of Altea could come from the Greek Althaia, which means “I cure”, or from the Arabic word aṭṭaláya, which gives rise to the word Talaia in Valencian. Vestiges have been found in the term of Iberians and Romans.
During the last phase of Muslim rule, Altea belonged to the Denia taifa. It was conquered in 1244 by Jaime I de Aragón obtaining a town charter in 1279.
In 1705 the Anglo-Dutch squadron that supported Archduke Charles of Austria, led by the Valencian general Juan Bautista Basset, landed in the Bay of Altea in the framework of the War of Succession, which favored the subsequent capture by the Austrocists of Denia and Valencia. The eighteenth century marked an agricultural, fishing, commercial and demographic boom, ending the century with 5,000 inhabitants.
During the 19th century, official and commercial life moved to the urban core near the sea.
The town of Altea is located on a promontory near the mouth of the Algar river, in the north of the province of Alacant. But there is another town called Altea la Vella that still occupies the site of the old town just three kilometers from the town center. Its origin dates back to the first millennium BC. n. e., but Roman and Muslim remains have also been found. The different civilizations still show their mark in many corners of the district where orchards, ditches, terraces of olive and almond trees maintain this ancient landscape.
After the fall of the Roman Empire and the Muslim and Berber colonization of the Algar and Guadalest valleys, the entire territory changed its organization, but with the Catalan conquest in the 13th century and the decree of expulsion of the Muslims in 1248, the population will gradually decrease during the following centuries. However, a medieval repopulation project was developed without much success called Bellaguarda, the remains of which have been surrounded by the urban core of Altea. In the 16th century, with the term practically desert, the construction of a new-plan fortified villa is projected, which will establish its characteristic appearance.
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