Vejer is located on a hill, around 190 m above sea level, and there are clear evidences of a very ancient human presence in its surroundings. Relics from the Bronze Age have been found under the town walls, and recent archaeological surveys have proved the existence of an orientalising settlement in the 7th century BCE. Some materials and relics from the Turdetani Age have also been found in the same place, together with some Roman pottery remains. Moreover, we should also mention that in the municipality of Vejer there is a Roman villa with magnificent tiled floors, while a Roman inscription – reused in the Visigothic Period – was found in the hermitage of La Oliva. Finally, an also from the Roman Age, we must emphasize La Villa de Libreros and Horno del Chorrillo.
In 711, the Battle of La Janda took place, and the North African troops led by Tarik defeated Ruderic, the Visigothic King of Hispania. From that moment and for the next five and a half centuries, Vejer was under Muslim control, which entailed its enrichment thanks to the splendid Arab-Islamic Culture. Nowadays, we have some traces of this resplendent era, such as the door of the Castle (11th century), part of the town walls and, above all, the charming network of streets. The conquest of Vejer occurred in two phases. The first conquest of Vejer took place in 1250, during the reign of Ferdinand III of Castile. It was reconquered by the Arabs, however, in June 1264, after a riot that resulted in the taking of the Castle. The second, final conquest started in August 1264, when the Mudéjar population was expelled from the area, and it ended in 1285. In the same year, the King Sancho IV granted the Territory of Vejer, as well as other places of the surroundings, to the Order of Santiago. Even though the King wanted to consolidate the territory immediately, this Order never took possession of Vejer.
After a second resettlement in 1307, the territory of Vejer was granted to Alonso Pérez de Guzmán, ‘the Goodman’. He was already the owner of all the tunny nets (almadrabas) located in the Strait of Gibraltar since 1299, and after the conquest of Tarifa he also became the defender of the Strait. As a consequence, he was the Lord and Master of this territory, and finally he became the king. The Dukes of Medina Sidonia inherited the rank from Alonso Pérez de Guzmán. During the 15th and 16th centuries, Vejer was under the control of the Guzman family. Nevertheless, it should be remarked that during the Modern Era there was a conflict between the population of Vejer, led by Juan Relinque, and the Dukes of Medina Sidonia for the control of the communal lands, known as ‘Hazas de Suerte’.
The political transformations and confiscations of the 19th century in Spain changed the ownership of numerous territories, passing from the dukes to the bourgeoisies. This new situation did not result in a proper industrial development that the town needed, so Vejer continued to focus the economic activity on agriculture and livestock.
Vejer de la Frontera has an impressive Cultural Heritage, and it is considered as one of the most beautiful towns of Spain. Vejer was declared a Historic-Artistic Site in 1976, and it was also awarded with the First National Embellishment Award in 1978, as well as with the distinction of area of Important Influx of Visitors in 1996-2000 and 2000-04.