Standing 743 metres above sea level between the Guadiaro and Genal Valleys, Atajate enjoys a privileged position in this white village area of the Serrania de Ronda. Its origins lie in the existence of an early 8th-century Arab fortress, and its key position on the road linking the Campo de Gibraltar region with Ronda has seen it play an important role in several periods in history. In the 19th century, during the War of Independence, the stubborn resistance offered by the inhabitants of Atajate saw it burned to the ground in retribution by French troops. Running parallel to the phenomenon of the guerrilla war waged against the French are records, later transformed by romantic legend, of banditry; chronicles tell of the existence of numerous bands of smugglers and highwaymen operating in this area.
Today, echoes of the highwaymen’s legend contrast sharply with the peace and tranquillity which abound in the white villages of the Genal Valley.
Relics found in caves near the village speak of prehistoric settlements in the area. Remains of ceramics and coins from Imperial Roman times have also been discovered.
Given its strategic position between Ronda and Gaucin, the village must have been important in Arabic times. On Santa Cruz Mount, there still stands a tower which is equidistant from Benadalid Castle and the one which once existed in Atajate.
The early village was located atop El Cuervo Hill, formerly known as Castle Hill, now the site of ruins of this original settlement and a former church now used as a cemetery.
In the 19th century, during the War of Independence, the village was burned and destroyed by the French.
Surviving documentation makes reference to the numerous bands of smugglers and highwaymen who operated in this area from the early 19th century.