Adra is a coastal city located southwest of Almeria, where the main economic activity is currently based on intensive greenhouse agriculture, along with other secondary activities such as fishing. With a landscape consisting of steep ravines, the bulk of the population is concentrated in the coastal strip.
The origin of the locality is at Montecristo Hill, where the town of Abdera
was founded in the second half of the 8th century BC by Phoenician navigators. However, its name is of Greek origin, who chose the zone as it was similar to their own country's terrain. The Greeks were involved in a bartering economy that was mainly focused on the mining of iron deposits in the interior regions.
In the Punic era, Abdera had been engaged in commercial activity since the 4th century BC until the Romans occupied the Peninsula in the year 206 BC. Minting of their own currencies was allowed, being very popular one of the time of Tiberio (14 - 37 AD), chosen like motive in the municipal shield.
In this period, Abdera experienced strong growth as it expanded through the hills adjacent to Montecristo Hill. The main activities were fishing and a salting factory, which was discovered by excavations carried out between 1970 and 1971, directed by Fernandez Miranda.
The settlement of groups in the interior, such as La Alcudia (which today forms part of La Alqueria), and an economy based on activities such as irrigation agriculture, the silk industry and the promotion of maritime trade, came with the Islamisation of the area in the 9th century.
The Modern Age was characterised by the incorporation of Adra into the Crown of Castile in 1489 and the construction of the castle between 1492 and 1495. This was part of the coastal defensive system against Berber piracy, alongside beacon towers, such as the Guainos Tower. Adra was populated with prosperous old Christians who built a walled fortress, known as Adra the New, where three towers and some walls are still preserved. During this time, the city's commercial activities were focused on the port, along with the cultivation and processing of sugar cane, which intensified during the 17th and 18th centuries. Wine production and fishing activities were added later.
In the 19th century, the city experienced a new trade opportunity with the metallurgical industry and the intensive exploitation of lead from the Sierra de Gador from 1821. This was due to the liberalisation of the sector, which meant that factories such as Rein & Cia in 1822 were established, with the first English coal ovens and one of the first steam engines in Spain. Rein & Cia went bankrupt and was bought by businessman Manuel Agustin Heredia, who has incorporated the latest technology into the already renovated Saint Andres lead smelting factory.
Entering the 20th century, with the fall in the price of lead and the depletion of supplies, Adra focused its economy on the construction of the port, which started in 1907, and other commercial activities. Lately Adra is mainly engaged to the intensive greenhouse cultivation of vegetables.