In the municipal term Iberian and Roman remains have been found. Apparently, at the time of the Reconquest there was an Arab Alquería in the Departure of Lliriets; In any case, the population would be of little importance, because the name of Benidorm does not appear in the Llibre dels Feyts of Jaime I of Aragon, who conquered this part of the province of Alicante around the year 1245.
The lands of Benidorm, like most of the rest of the region, were granted to Admiral Bernardo de Sarriá. This important feudal lord can be considered like the true founder of the city, when granting Letter Puebla to Benidorm 8 of May of 1325, creating the castle and the town. The function of this document consisted in marking the limits of the term of the new population (which was thus administratively separated from the barony of Polop), as well as trying to attract the establishment exclusively of Christian families. Strategically, the origin of the village (as well as that of other coastal towns such as Villajoyosa) was due to the fear that prevailed at that time to the higher number of Moriscos in the area, and the possible alliances of these with their brothers of religion of the Kingdom Nazari of Granada and North Africa.
In 1335 the Infante Pedro de Aragón and of Anjou were found as territorial lord, followed by his son Alfonso de Aragón and Foix. Later, Benidorm passed into the hands of the counts of Denia, returned to the crown, and finally this one sold the term to the noble Ruy Diaz de Mendoza, because the financial difficulties of the monarch in the occasion of warlike conflicts forced him to leave many of his dominions .
The population suffered two terrible attacks Berber pirates, the first towards 1410 and the second in 1448, that ravaged the town and the castle. Specifically, in the attack of 1448, the pirates were enslaved to most of the inhabitants of Benidorm, so the place was depopulated. During the sixteenth century the castle was extended and repaired, but the urban village, which had returned to the barony of Polop, was apparently almost completely uninhabited. The improvement of the defensive constructions and the establishment, from 1666, of a ditch that could contribute water from the interior of the region allowed to attract new settlers to the place.
In 1701, by aristocratic initiative, a new Charter of population was granted to the town, which returned to be municipal independent. In 1715 the population had about 216 neighbors, a figure that increased to 2,700 at the end of the eighteenth century. This strong demographic expansion was mainly due to an important fishing activity based on tuna fishing (tuna fishing during the migration trip, through a network fence), in which its inhabitants specialized fortune. In the war of independence, the Napoleonic troops desecrated the cemetery and destroyed the castle.
THE TOURISTIC BOOM
During the nineteenth century continued growth and began timid adventures as was the inauguaración of the Spa of the Virgin of Suffrage. Although communications with Alicante and Madrid improved in the following years, the other local economic sectors were not having a good time, as the merchant navy was in crisis with the loss of the last overseas colonies in 1898 (Cuba, Puerto Rico and Philippines) and soon after the boom of vine agriculture (wine and raisins) was disrupted with the arrival of phylloxera in the early twentieth century. This economic slowdown was coupled with a certain emigration to Cuba, the maritime district of Barcelona and the coast of Cadiz. During these years, the port was enlarged and, in 1925, the construction of the first villas on the Levante Beach.
After the Civil War, socioeconomic activities gradually recovered, with fishing (again) as the most important productive branch. However in the decade of the 50s the steps were taken to produce a true transformation. On the one hand, in 1952, the most important Almadraba was closed for poor performance in catches, something traumatic for many families. However, on the other hand, in 1956 the City Council approved the urban planning of the town with the purpose of creating a city designed for leisure tourism, with well-marked streets and wide avenues following the configuration of the beaches.
Thereafter, there was a strong shift from traditional (fishing and agriculture) activities to the services sector originated by tourism, which has since become the basis of the city’s prosperity. Spanish tourism began to share the space with visitors from other parts of Europe, first arriving with their vehicles and then, with the entry into operation of Altet airport in 1967.