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View over Algarrobo Pueblo looking towards the coast. SUR
Algarrobo: The town where carob trees grow
THE STORY BEHIND A PLACE NAME

Algarrobo: The town where carob trees grow

There have been a number of spellings of the name, including Algarrovo, El Garrobo, El Garrovo, Alharroba and Alharaba

Jennie Rhodes

Algarrobo

Friday, 18 August 2023

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The town of Algarrobo in the Axarquía is divided into two parts: Algarrobo Costa and Algarrobo Pueblo.

The word 'algarrobo' means carob in Spanish and it is that tree which gives the place its name, although during the Islamic period, almond, olive and mulberry trees were also major crops. The latter were used to feed the silkworms that supported the weaving industry.

Grapes were an important crop, as were raisins, which, together with silk, formed the economic base of the town.

Like many towns and villages in Andalucía, the name given to Algarrobo is derived from Arabic and corresponds to the name used by early Berber settlers.

The first written evidence of the name in Spanish can be found in the 'Apeo y Repartimiento' (book of surveys and distribution of Algarrobo) after the Reconquista in the late fifteenth century.

There were various spellings of the name as different Spanish scribes translated it from spoken Arabic into written Spanish.

For example, Andrés Ronquillo, who was in charge of keeping records of properties owned by the Mudéjars (Muslims who converted to Christianity) of Algarrobo in 1572, wrote the name of the town in four different ways: Algarrobo, Algarrovo, El Garrobo, El Garrovo.

Other examples are found in authors writing around the time of the Reconquista: Diego de Valera and Henríquez Jorquera wrote 'Alharroba', while Hernando del Pulgar transcribed it as 'Alharaba'.

Over the centuries further texts have been transcribed from Arabic into Spanish, including the memoirs of Abd Allah Ibn Buluggin Zirid, king of the Taifa of Granada and the "Dîwân" of Ibn Farkûn. He writes about a trip made by the Emir of Granada, Yusuf III, to Algarrobo, or Qaryat Al-Jarrûba (farmstead of carob), which is what the town would have been called throughout the fifteenth century.

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