A pearl to cherish in Costa Blanca

Flood waters are subsiding Credit: Ayuntamiento de Benijofar

WHILST many small towns in Costa Blanca have been devastated by the floods, Benijofar has fared a little better and has been involved in assisting its neighbours, especially nearby Rojales.

Like so many towns in the area, this little settlement can thank the Moorish occupation for its name which when translated from Arabic means Son of a Pearl and to a great extent it is an accurate description of the town which boasts a registered population of around 4,000 people.

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It can trace its roots back to the Bronze Age as a small village near to the Rio Segura which subsequently benefited from Roman ingenuity, allowing for the introduction of irrigation canals, water wheels and locks.

By the 16th century it was considered to be part of Orihuela but later obtained a significant element of self-government thanks to a now obscure law the privilegio alfonsino which made it an independent municipality in the heart of Alicante province.

From then on it remained an agricultural community and to the present day, there are still a number of farms and estates all dedicated to the production of fruit and vegetables.

Over the years, it has seen its fair share of natural disasters with a devastating earthquake in 1829 which destroyed a number of houses and the local parish church but like many towns in the area, it was rebuilt by José Larramendi and Eugene Fourdinier.

The town grew in prosperity, using water from the Segura to irrigate the land although it suffered a number of floods over the centuries, the worst of these natural disasters being in 1957, when the river burst its banks, almost destroying Benijofar and killing a number of local people.

This latest problem, whilst worrying and financially damaging for many was not the true disaster for the town that it might have been and there is every expectation that things will return to normal in Benijofar over the coming weeks as residents not only count their blessings but show solidarity with and offer help to neighbouring towns which suffered far more.


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