Palafrugell from the Neolithic
What you see in Palafrugell is linked to its history. This site was already occupied in the distant Neolithic period, as shown by the dolmen at Can Mina. The Iberians chose a promontory to found a settlement in the 6th century BC in the area known as San Sebastián.
Roman and Visigoths
In the Roman period, from the 2nd century BC, Llafranc would replace San Sebastian as the preferred settlement. Thus, it prospers until the 4th century with its ceramic and wine production. From this period there are still remains of villas, a wine press and a winery, which take us into the history of Palafrugell.
From the arrival of the Visigoths in the 5th century, Palafrugell would gain importance. A word of Germanic origin composed with the root palau (strong house) that indicates it as a fortified place. The term appears for the first time in 988. In 1194 King Alfonso I of Aragon ceded the estate to the military order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre. His priory of Santa Ana, located in Barcelona, appointed the administrators of these lands until the beginning of the 19th century.
Like the rest of the Catalan coast, it suffered pirate attacks from the 15th century onwards. Palafrugell and Vila Seca would be walled and up to fifteen coastal watchtowers would be built over the years to communicate the presence of invaders. Among them was the Tower of San Sebastian (1441) in Llafranc.
In this way, serious looting and fires of other nearby towns were avoided. However, the insecurity delayed the demographic and economic development, as the threat of a landing deterred the establishment of permanent populations and ports on the coast. They had huts with fishing boats.
In 1638 the king’s army housed over three hundred soldiers in the town, of which was exempted by royal privilege in 1271. The expense and inconvenience would lead to the July 20 riot, with disproportionate repression, including burning and looting.
Decline and prosperity of Palafrugell
The Guerra dels Segadors devastated the population. Disaster aggravated by the plague epidemic of 1652, which caused 230 deaths. From 1705 onwards, the uprising against King Philip V led to nine years of war in the history of Palafrugell, with a new French invasion in support of the new dynasty. Once the conflict was over, a period of expansion began. This happened thanks to the cork business and the possibility of exporting to America. In the town there were up to thirty manufactured products in the mid-nineteenth century.
The Napoleonic invasion and the Carlist wars delayed the development of the population, but it continued being a reference for its enormous cork production. In 1900 the biggest company in Spain was founded here. After the decline of the cork tree exploitation, the municipality was a pioneer centre for holidaymakers. Amongst these was the young Barcelona writer Josep Pla, who masterfully recounted the life of the people and holidaymakers of the region.