Neolithic settlements have been identified in the Marbella area. The Phoenicians later established a trading post here. In the 3rd century BC The Romans came and in 771 AD the Moors, who called the place Marbilha. The Catholic kings conquered the place in 1485.
More important than the village of Marbella was the city of San Pedro de Alcántara, eight km west of Marbella. In Ronda, the signposts that do not point to Marbella, but to San Pedro, remind you of this. At the beginning of the 1950s, Alfonso von Hohenlohe transformed Marbella from a simple farming village into a posh seaside resort for celebrities. Soon after, San Pedro was incorporated into Marbella. Many well-known personalities such as Aristotle Onassis, Guy de Rothschild, Sean Connery, Edward Kennedy, Veronika Ferres and many others. stayed in Marbella in the following decades and thus contributed to the rise of Marbella to the seaside resort of the European jet set.
In 1961, the building contractor and president of the Athletico Madrid football club, Jesus Gil, was elected mayor. Under the Gil administration, Marbella experienced a construction boom but at the same time an enormous increase in corruption and money laundering. In 2001, Gil was arrested. In 2006 the city council was dissolved by the Andalusian state government. Charges were brought against 96 people. The corruption damage amounts to at least 2.4 billion euros, approx. 10,000 buildings now have to be subsequently legalized in order to pay off Marbella’s debts of 100 million euros with the Andalusian state government.