The earliest part of Tolox history can be traced back to the prehistoric times; particularly during the Paleolithic Period. This is evident from ancient remains discovered in the Cueva de la Tinaja, a cave located some 4 km from the nearby river.
Formal settlement, however, did not commence until the arrival of the Phoenicians, who were trading with the residents of neighboring Ronda. Traders from the shores of Malaga had to pass through Tolox to get to Ronda. It was the Phoenicians who named the town “Tolox”, which stuck even up this day. They also built the ancient castle, whose remnants stand among the town’s most notable archaeological structures.
The next occupants were the Romans, then the Visigoths. They both improved the defenses of the Phoenician castle. But it wasn’t until the Moorish occupation when the town really began to expand rapidly.
The first Moslem invaders came from the Ummayad Caliphate, who later on established the Caliphate of Cordoba. In the early 880’s, the charismatic rebel leader Umar ibn Hafsun rose to power, and in 883, captured Tolox. The town became one of his main bulwarks. However, it was eventually surrendered in 821 by his son to Abd-ar-Rahman III.
When the Caliphate of Cordoba finally fell, the village was absorbed by the Kingdom of Granada. In 1485, it was handed over to the Catholic Monarchs. However, because a large part of the population was still Moorish, frequent skirmishes occurred between the Moslem peasants and the forces of their Christian landlords.
When the Moorish rebellion broke out, the Moors of Tolox participated. Thus, when they were finally defeated in 1571, the remaining Moslems were transported to Valencia. Christian settlers were then invited to take their place in the region.
During the Peninsular War, a part of the Napoleonic Wars that took place in the Iberian Peninsula, Tolox fought against the French invaders under the leadership of Francisco Javier de Abadia. The Napoleonic Wars is a series of wars that pitted a bunch of European forces on one side and Napoleon’s French Empire on the other.
Today, Tolox is closely associated with the Fuente Amargosa Health Spa and its therapeutic waters.