History of Pineda de Mar, Catalonia, Spain

Several remains of the Iberian era (IV century BC) have been found in Pineda de Mar (in the Montpalau hills and near "Mas Castellar"). The Iberian settlements are numerous throughout the whole Maresme coast. Populated by the Laietan tribe, whose territory stretched along the coast from the Llobregat to the Tordera Rivers. The tribes usually settled on small promontories away from the coast.

Romanisation in the First Century BC brought settlement of the coastal area and the emergence of numerous hamlets, connected by the Via Augusta which led to Barcino (the presentday Barcelona) . In Pineda de Mar, there are remains of an important roman village in the "Mas Can Roig", where a long aqueduct ended, four arches of which are still visible near "Can Cua".

From the IX century, after the Arab occupation, Pineda de Mar was part of a territory which extended from the Tordera River to Caldetes. XI century records give the Montpalau castle, together with the one in Palafolls, as sharing the jurisdiction over the whole High Maresme. The mostly unpopulated lands of the Montpalau, were made up of a large territory which included the parishes of Arenys, Sant Iscle and Sant Cebriá de Vallalta, Horsavinyà, Vallmanya and a great part of Sant Pere de Riu and Santa Maria de Pineda. During the XII century, the high lordship of the Montpalau castle was in the hands of the powerful Cabrera family, who kept it until the end of the XVI century.

The parish of Pineda, which in those days included today's Calella and Santa Susanna, consecrated the Santa Maria Church 1079. At that time, there was not even a village as such, only a few scattered houses.

Around the end of the XII century, the first houses begin to be constructed near the church forming a single street around the royal way, the ancient roman road that led to Barcelona along the coast. This ancient urban settlement was known by the name of "Pobla de Sa Buada". In 1338, the viscount Bernat II from Cabrera, granted village status to the surroundings of the market which had been conceded a little earlier to the Cabaspre sector by the King.

This lead to the foundation of the Village of Calella , which in 1400 became the seat of the council and the administrative centre of the area.

The population kept increasing during the XV century, when Pineda had grown to 49 homes, 32 of which conformed the core of "Sa Buada".

The urban growth of Pineda continued slowly during the XVI century, when the present Catalunya Square was built, and a road to the Sea was opened. In those days, attacks from pirates on coastal towns were frequent, and they led to the construction of numerous watch and defence towers, and the fortification of the church. An inscription in the lintel of the church portal refers to the cruel attack suffered by the population on 1st August 1545 by Turkish corsairs headed by the infamous Dragut.

The whole region stagnated in the XVII century. Wars between Spain and France from 1635 onwards, and at the same time, the epidemicsgravely affected the region around the middle of the century.

However once the Succession War of 1714 finished, Pineda, like the rest of the country, achieved a remarkable demographic growth. According to the records of the time, Pineda inhabitants increased from 493 to 1163 between 1718 and 1787. At that time there were 164 houses in the village and 42 farms.

From the travel book of Francisco de Zamora,Torre de Sant Jaume who visited the area around 1790, we know that in Pineda there were 22 fishing boats, one ship of 60 tons and three of 4 tons, employing a total of 100 men registered as seamen. There were linen weavers and most women worked making narrow lace edgings

Wars during the XIX century caused more problems for Pineda. During the War with the French, the church was burned and in 1873, in the middle of the Carlist war, a platoon commanded by General Savalls set part of the town alight. Despite the arrival of the railway, the last half of the century saw the town stagnate, and population remained stable around 1850 inhabitants.

At the beginning of the XX century, the urban layout of Pineda was still centred around the long medieval street, heading towards the beach by via Tribala street and Carrer de Mar (Sea Street).

Despite the disaster of the Phylloxera plague which ruined wine production across Europe, the village started to grow again. Pineda became a popular resort for wealthy families from Barcelona who stayed here during the summer. In 1930 the summer population easily exceeded the 3000 inhabitants.

From the 1960s onwards the arrival of package tours generated a wave of immigration and urban growth of colossal proportions, which in a few years transformed radically the traditional look of the town. New neighbourhoods such as "Poblenou" ( Newtown ) emerged, new residential states were developed and numerous hotels and apartments were built. The population increased spectacularly: In between 1960 and 1995 the number of inhabitants went from 3.278 to 17.814. In October 1999 it reached 20.000 inhabitants and by the beginning of 2004, the population reaches some 24.000 residents.


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