The city dates back to the beginning of VIII century b.c. when the Phoenicians founded a colony at the mouth of the Guadalhorce River which they called Malaka. Later it was inhabited by the Carthaginians until 202 b.c. when it passed to the hands of the Romans, becoming an important point on the Herculean Via, then it was connected with the rest of Spain and other Mediterranean ports. After the Council of Nicea (AD 325) and due to the settlement of Christianity in the area and the dismemberment of the Roman Empire, it became dominated by the Goths until the beginning of VIII century. When the Islam arrived the peninsula was definitely under the influence of Arabic in 743, becoming under his control a booming city, framed by a walled enclosure with five large doors and settlements of Genoese and Jewish merchants.
At the beginning of s. XIV it began the attempted reconquest by Christians, not being achieve until 1487 after six months of siege. With Castilian domination the city began to change shape with the construction of the Cathedral, the Plaza Mayor and new neighborhoods outside the walls, but this development was slowed in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, due to the uprising and subsequent expulsion of the Moors and different epidemics and floods that struck the city. With the arrival of the XVIII century the city began to recover and restart the outstanding work like the port and the cathedral.
Early XIX century began its development and it was pioneered in the Industrial Revolution in Spain, becoming the first industrial city in the country, until in 1880 began a new crisis, which made the sugar industry to be closed, further increasing during the first decades of the XX century, reaching the 60s when it began the development of tourism in the area by rehabilitating the city to turn it into one of the most important service center in Spain.