The history of Alicante is marked by its privileged geographical location; its evolution as a city has been boosted by the strategic importance of its port. Alicante’s location -an area protected by several hills of great defensive value in which natural roads converge by the sea- was decisively favorable for the first human settlements, more than three thousand years ago, as well as the fact that diverse peoples and cultures had dwelt in it: Iberians (fortified city of El Tossal de Manises), Romans (Lucentum) and Muslims.
The first Muslim city was built at the foot of mount Benacantil as a measure of defense. Alicante became a point of marine supply and a flourishing trade was born. In the 13th century, the village of Alicante was definitely incorporated to the Kingdom of Valencia, and two centuries after that, in 1940, Fernando II the Catholic elevates the village of Alicante to the rank of city.
In the 16th century, a great growth in population happened, owing to the development of trade, handicrafts export and a prosperous local agriculture. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the port invigorated the urban transformations of the city; it was enabled to trade with America and a Consulate of the Sea and Land was created to foster navigation and agriculture.
The 19th century is characterized by the demolition of walls, the creation of new neighborhoods and the implementation of the railroad. But it is in the 20th century that the intensification of secondary and tertiary activities, its consolidation as a service center and the touristic development led to the current development of the city.