The earliest signs of civilization in Manilva dates back to the Neolithic period; the remains can be seen at 20 archaeological sites which were discovered in the early decades of 20th century. However, the history of Manilva town began in the mid-16th century. In 1528, the king, Charles V ordered to build a watchtower named the Salto de la Mora to prevent the frequent attacks of tyrannical pirates in the Southern coast of the Spain. After few years, more than fifty neighbours built a farm community on Los Mártires, a tiny hill, which later became El Cortijo, the foundation of present village Manilva. In 1530, the Duke of Arcos established the church of Santa Ana decorated with the famous image of "Santa Ana la vieja", which was later destroyed in the civil war of 1939. The church housed two more statues, The effigies of Nuestra Señora del Rosario and el Santo Cristo de la Mar. Ironically, the whole building was destroyed in 1722 with extinct of its ancestors in an earthquake and about half a century later replaced with The Iglesia de Santa Ana church in 1776 in Calle Iglesia.
In 1796, 26th October, Manilva liberated itself from Casares and was granted the "royal privilege of town". The event not only affected the growth of this place but also ended its long time conflict with neighbouring villages. In coming decades, it evolved into a community of industrious farmers who harvested finest wine and fish. The economy of this land depends on fishing, agriculture and most importantly on muscatel grapes. The history of Vineyard started between 1515 and 1520 when the Duke of Arcos granted some lands for cultivation.
In 70s, golf course and Marina were developed and since then, tourism activities have rapidly grown. Today, the history, amusing climate and mesmerising beauty of this land attract thousands of tourists from across the world. Short and long-term visitors keep coming throughout the year.