Almuñécar began as a Phoenician colony named Sexi, and even today, some of its inhabitants still call themselves Sexitanos. The Phoenicians first established a colony there around 800 BC and this developed for 600 years into an important port and town with the name of Ex or Sexi.
The strategic location and its special natural conditions made Almuñécar a solid, fortified settlement which has survived to the present day despite various invasions and adversities.
The Romans came to southern Spain at the time of the Second Punic War. During 700 years of Roman colonial rule, the town and its industry prospered and in 49 BC the municipality was given the title Firmium Julium Sexi in recognition of the town’s loyalty to Rome. In the 1st century AD the Romans built four miles of water conduit in the valleys of the Rio Seco and the Rio Verde, including 5 significant aqueducts. All are still standing and 4 of them are still in use after 2.000 years.
With the decline of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century, Germanic peoples, including the Visigoths, crossed the Pyrenees Mountain range into the Iberian Peninsula. By year 456 the Visigoths emerged as the dominant power and expanded their territory onto the southwestern Mediterranean coast. However, Hispania remained relatively Romanized under their rule.
In year 755 Umayyad Abd ar-Rahman I of Damascus arrived from North Africa to establish his kingdom. The castle remained the stronghold of the city and the seat of government and its walls were strengthened.
Under the Moors, Almuñécar blossomed as the fishing town of al-Munakkab.