History of the Municipality of Aljezur
The municipality of Aljezur is located on the west coast of the Algarve and it covers an area of 32,065 hectares.
Archaeological sites confirm the presence of humans in the area since prehistoric times, dating back to the Epipalaeolithic period (11,000 B.C.). Later, artefacts appear from around 7,000 B.C. (the so-called “mirense” period), and the Neolithic/ Calcolithic periods (6,000 / 3,000 B.C.) up to the Bronze Age. The Romans too left traces of their time in this area.
The Arab presence lasted for five centuries and there are a number of places which prove how important Aljezur was during this period, which ended with its conquest by the Christians in 1249. Years later, on 12th November 1280, Aljezur received its first charter as a town during the reign of King Dinis, which was modified by the charter given by King Manuel I on 1st June 1504.
For hundreds of years agriculture was the region’s main economic activity and its produce was at one stage shipped to market via the port on the Aljezur river. When silting made use of the river impracticable, the road running down from the north to Lagos was used. The 1755 earthquake caused a great deal of damage to the town and led to the construction of a new settlement across from Aljezur, called Igreja Nova. This was built on the initiative of D. Francisco Gomes de Avelar, Bishop of the Algarve, as a means of encouraging the population not to leave the town and move elsewhere.
Today, this is the main area of expansion in the town, where there are new suburbs and public services.
Aljezur, after remaining largely untouched by the 19th and 20th centuries, is now sharing in the social and economic renewal of the Algarve.