The Costa Cálida which translates to Warm Coast is approximately 250 kilometres of coastline in the Spanish province of Murcia, where the first signs of human civilization can be traced back as far as one and a half million years. In more recent times, native Iberian tribes inhabited the coastline, trading with other Mediterranean cultures including the Greeks and Romans. However, the region was only put on the map after the arrival of the Carthaginians in 230 BC, when they founded a trading port at Cartagena.
In 713 AD the Moors (Arabs) invaded the region after defeating the Hispanic-Visigoth army of Teodomiro in Cartagena. Then, in 815 AD the Caliph of Cordoba, Abderraman II founded the city of Murcia on the site of a former Roman colony. During the years of Arab occupation there were many advances in art and architecture, importation, and irrigation techniques needed to transform the arid landscape into a successful agricultural community. The Moors were so successful in exploiting the Segura River and irrigating the land, their system stills forms the basis for current watering throughout the region.
Murcia and the Costa Cálida were re-conquered in 1243 by Alfonso X of Castilla and Leon, with many changes ahead. Murcia grew and prospered, transforming itself into a political and economic centre. By the 18th century the city of Murcia was one of Spain’s architectural treasures, with elaborate churches, cathedrals and palaces. Then in 1810 disaster struck with the looting of Murcia city by Napoleonic troops. This was followed by epidemics of plague and cholera sending Murcia province into decline until modern times. These days the Costa Cálida is largely sustained by citrus fruit farming and associated industries. While industrial development is evident inland, the coastline thrives on tourism and many foreigners buying homes. This has injected a cosmopolitan feel to the region, while retaining much of its community feel and traditional culture.