The extensive municipality of Teba, in the western third of the Antequera region, stretches from the GuadalTeba reservoir in its southern part to the border between Málaga and Seville, into which a small corner protrudes. It is in general a land of gentle hills mostly covered by olive trees and grain fields.
Location: in the GuadalTeba area of the western part of the Antequera region, of which it is geographically a part. The village is 555 metres above sea level and is 87 kilometres from the city of Málaga. The average annual precipitation is 500 litres per square metre and the average temperature is 14º C.
Surface Area: 143 square kilometres
The natives are called: Tebeños or Tebanos
Local Monuments: the La Estrella castle, Santa Cruz Real church, San Francisco convent, Museo Parroquial (Parish Museum), Museo Arqueológico (Archaeological Museum)
The village of Teba stands in the approximate centre of this municipal territory and is surrounded-almost hidden, actually-by the San Cristóbal, La Camorra, El Camorrillo and El Castillo hills. This last hill, where the La Estrella castle is located, commands a view of an enormous area with the village as the primary point of reference. The Peñarrubia mountains mark a change in the topography of the region, a reminder of the relative proximity of the rugged Ronda highlands.
It should be understood from the beginning that this village in the province of Málaga has no relation, despite what the similarity in names may suggest, to the cities in Egypt and Greece with almost the same name. This is not a gratuitous explanation since more than one visitor has wondered about the possible connections between those historic cities and this Málaga village. With that fact made plain, however, it must be said that remains discovered at the Cueva de las Palomas (Las Palomas cave) and at El Pilarejo-stone and bronze tools-show that there were human settlements since very remote antiquity in this area. It was not until the arrival of the Romans, however, that Teba acquired a certain importance.
Ancient Attegua, as it was then known, was in fact one of the places where the civil conflicts between the followers of Caesar and those of Pompey took place, according to the description by Caesar himself of the surrender of Attegua in the year 45 B. C. The city is also mentioned by Hircius, the chronicler of the Battle of Munda, and even by Suetonius, the Latin historian of the first and second centuries and author of the famous “Lives of the Twelve Caesars”.
Nevertheless, these important historical notes do not pertain to the Roman ruins found at Teba la Vieja (Old Teba), which are quite sparse and aside from part of the masonry structure of the castle amount to no more than a few coins from the time of Vespasianus and some shards of urns and clay vessels.
With the settlement of the Muslims in this area, the village was relocated from its former site (Teba la Vieja) to the present one. It would be named Ostipo, although at times it was also called Ostebba, from which the village’s present name surely comes. The Arabs strengthened and extended the old Roman fortress and used it as a defensive stronghold until the city was conquered by Alfonso XI of Castile on 20 January 1389, as recounted by Father Mariana in his General Chronicle of Spain.
In contrast to other villages, which passed back and forth between Muslims and Christians either as the result of sieges or of compromises in their best interests, Teba did not fall into the hands of the Muslims again despite being besieged more than once, especially in the time of Juan II. One of the most spectacular historic events ever to occur in this village happened in the very battle that Alfonso XI unleashed against the Muslims during the taking of the castle: one of the soldiers who died in the struggle was Sir James Douglas, a knight of King Robert I of Scotland. It is not clear just how it came about, but this knight presented himself for service at Teba and it was to be his lot to participate together with the troops of Alfonso XI in the attack on the castle in which he lost his life.