It is believed that Berja has its origins with the Iberians or the Phoenicians. It is difficult to determine this, but what is certain is that it is the “Vergis” of the Roman age, and from this time you can still see the ruins of “Villavieja
”, with remains of an amphitheater and an aqueduct.
With the arrival of San Tesifon in the 1st century, the early Christian era of Berja began. From this time we have coins, crosses and above all a magnificent sarcophagus, unique in its design. This was found in the neighborhood of Alcaudique and was donated to the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid.
After the destruction of the city by an earthquake in the 5th century, the inhabitants settled in different population centers, predominantly in the area that became the current city of Berja. After the Arab invasion of the peninsula, it became “Berchat” and a citadel was built using the old Roman walls. Some of the baths from that time are preserved in the district of Beneji.
The city was reconquered by the Catholic Monarchs in 1489, but almost a century later, the "moriscos" revolted in the so-called “Christmas of Blood” on Christmas Eve of 1568, killing almost all Christians and beginning the War of the Alpujarras.
It was here that Aben Humeya suffered his main defeat, after a fierce battle that decimated his troops, tipping the war in favor of the Christians. All these events cost a lot of lives, leaving the city practically unpopulated.
It was not until the end of the 18th century, during the industrial revolution, that Berja regained its splendor again, due to the abundance of lead in the Sierra de Gador
. Thanks to the intensive exploitation of lead mines, Berja's population reached 30,000 inhabitants, receiving its city designation in 1876.
At the moment, the economic pillar of Berja is the greenhouse cultivation
of vegetables, which has seen an important growth of sustainable agriculture in recent years.