Different cultures, religions and languages existed in Estepona and left their influence in one way or another. First traces of human life date back to the Paleolithic era (60000 years ago). Phoenicians, Carthaginian, Romans, Vysigoths, Byzantines, Muslims and Christians all settled in Estepona throughout the ages.
Around 3500 years ago, evidence exists that Esteponians’ ancestors lived mainly on agriculture, cattle breeding and fishing.
Phoenicians landed in Estepona around 3000 years ago and built salazone factories, launching thus the fish and seafood export activities. At the time, they called the town “La Astapa” which means “Town on the water”.
Around 300 AD, the Romans settled there. Along the coast, there are still remains of factories that the Romans had built to produce Garum (a sauce made of small fish) that was exported to all parts of the Roman Empire. Romans built also thermal baths around the tower by the Gauadalmansa River.
It was the Arabs who remained the most in Estepona: from the 8th until the 15th Century.
They called the town “Astabbuna” and built many walls and watchtowers of which 7 ruins still exist today along the beaches of Estepona. These watchtowers were very useful to counterattack pirates who tried to invade the town coming from North Africa and Turkey.
During this period, various Muslim Kingdoms fought each other, and therefore “Astabbuna” was governed by different Taifas kings.
In 1457, Enrique IV de Castille captured the town from the Arabs and ordered to build a church on the site of the old Mosque. The town was finally called “Estepona”.
When in 1492 the Catholic Kings conquered Granada, Christians were able to repopulate Estepona. The famous San Luis Castle and other watchtowers were built to prevent another Arab and North African pirates’ invasions.
In 1502, no more than 25 families lived in Estepona. Between 1507 and 1600 new victorious columnist came from northern Spain. As a result more streets were built around the castle and the church.
At first the town was part of Marbella’s jurisdiction. However, in 1729 Philip V of Spain granted Estepona its independence.