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El Borge

A small village of Arabic origin located at the heart of the Axarquia region, near the Malaga Mountains, amidst a landscape of vineyards and farmhouses flanked by raisin fields, hence its reputation as "the raisin capital".

Its name appears to be derived from the Arabic Al-Burch, meaning "the bastion". In the 11th century it was part of a group known as "The Four Villages", enjoying the protection of Comares Castle along with Almachar, Moclinejo and Cutar.

The area which lies between El Borge, Moclinejo and Totalan was the scene of one of the most significant events of the 15th century in the long struggle between the Christians and Moslems which preceded the disappearance of the Nazari kingdom of Granada: in March 1483, troops from Castile led by the Marquis of Cadiz were defeated by El Zagal's army when the Christians were on their way to conquer Malaga.

After the area was captured by the Catholic Monarchs, El Borge continued to be dependent on Comares until 1513, when it came under the jursidiction of the city of Malaga.

In the second half of the 16th century, it was at the centre of the morisco (Moslem converts to Christianity) uprising, locals helping those eager to join the rebellion to flee to the Alpujarra region. The cruel repression administered by the governor of Velez, Alvaro de Zuarzo, was followed by the definitive expulsion of the moriscos from this area.

At the end of the 16th century, the village began to be repopulated by Old Christians from various parts of Spain.

One of the most serious setbacks suffered in recent times by the population of this village was an outbreak of a phylloxera-induced plague on La Indiana estate, only 9 kilometres from El Borge. In next to no time the economy of the whole region, whose economy was essentially based on vine cultivation, was in ruins.

The village and its municipal area were also affected by the major tremor known as the Andalusian Earthquake on Christmas Day 1884, suffering serious material damage.

One of the village's best-known figures, though of ill repute, is "Bizco de El Borge", nickname of Luis Muñoz Garcia, born in El Borge in 1837 and killed in Lucena during a confrontation with the Civil Guard in 1889. Typical of the legendary highwaymen who stole from the rich and helped the poor, he operated in the Sierra Morena region, leaving a long list of crimes in his wake.