Rota, due to its coastal location, has been a transit town for many cultures and civilizations. It is very difficult to know its origins since few archaeological remains were found in the area. The few remains that exist date back to the Prehistory, particularly to the Metal Ages. It has been found an important necropolis from that time.
Its first known denomination was “Astaroth”, which means “Port of Asta”. Asta was one of the main cities of the Tartessian civilization. After the Roman invasion, its name changed to “Oraculum Menestei” and later to “Speculum Rotae”. The Arab civilization named it “Rabeta Ruta” and finally the Christian conquerors named it “Rotta”, where its current name comes from.
Sancho IV “The Brave” gave the villa to Alonso Pérez de Guzmán “the Good” as a present for his heroic deed in the defence of Tarifa. He donated it to his daughter as a wedding gift when she got married with Fernán Pérez Ponce de León, Master of Alcántara and First Lord of Marchena. Therefore, in 1303, Rota belonged to the Ponce de León family. It is important to highlight that the Catholic Monarchs visited the villa and stayed in its castle. During their visit, they granted D. Rodrigo Ponce de León the title of Marquis of Cádiz. Knights’ tournaments and bullfights were organized to honour the monarchs.
In 1780, the last descendant of the Ponce de León family, the Duke of Arcos XI, died without an heir. As a result, the villa of Rota started to belong to the Duchy of Osuna. This manor was abolished in 1823.
Nowadays, Rota is a modern and cosmopolitan city where you can feel calm and relaxed. Only the sound of the breaking waves can interrupt this peace.