Orihuela is a city and municipality located at the feet of the Sierra de Orihuela mountains in the province of Alicante, Spain. The city of Orihuela had a population of 33,943 inhabitants at the beginning of 2013. The municipality has a total area of 367.19 km², and stretches all the way down to the Mediterranean coast, west of Torrevieja, and had a total population of 92,000 inhabitants at the beginning of 2013. This includes not only the city of Orihuela but also the coastal tourist center (urbanización turística) of Dehesa de Campoamor with 33,277 inhabitants (2013) and a few other villages.
Orihuela is the capital of the region of the “Vega Baja del Segura” (natural region of the Segura River); it has been the capital of a province and even of a kingdom. The city was named the first city of the province of Alicante, 11 September 1437.
In 576 it was the capital of the Visigothic province of Aurariola, to which it gave its name. In 713 (5 April) the military man and Count Teodomiro proclaimed himself King of Tudmir.
In 825 the Kingdom of Tudmir became a dependent kingdom under Umayyad control, and the capital was moved to Murcia. In 910 the Kingdom of Tudmir passed to the Emirate of Cordova.
In 1053 the principality of Murcia, part of the Kingdom of Denia, is created. In 1086 the principality of Murcia becomes independent from Denia. In 1212 the area passed to the Kingdom of Murcia.
In 1304 Orihuela was considered to be on the border between the kingdoms of Castile and Aragón. In 1366 it passed to the kingdom of Valencia.
In 1437, it was declared a city and in 1707, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor made Orihuela capital of the province of Orihuela. In 1737 Alicante, Elche, Monforte, Jijona, Villajoyosa, Agost, Busot, San Juan or Muchamiel became independent from the province of Orihuela, forming the one of Alicante.
1799 Orihuela was part of the province of Alicante. In 1810, Napoleon made Orihuela part of the Department of Segura with the capital at Murcia. In 1822, Orihuela passed to the province of Murcia. 1833 it became part of the province of Alicante. In 1920 nationalistic movements spoke of Orihuela as belonging to the “country of Murcia.”
Between 1988 and 2006 various research studies from the Universities of Andalusia, Castile and Murcia demonstrated that Orihuela was more culturally part of Murcia than Valencia in terms of phonetics, lexicon, architecture, agriculture, folklore, musical celebrations, instruments, language, burial customs, gastronomy, and varieties.
In recent years, there has been growing support for the “independence” of Orihuela Costa (Dehesa de Campoamor) from Orihuela itself. This is due to the perception among the largest foreign-born population of Orihuela Costa that they are being unfairly treated by the local government. For example, the Orihuela Costa’s share in the 2010-2014 municipal budget was 6x less than that for the city itself, or 4,2% of the 295 million € budget, even though the Costa creates around 30% of municipal tax income.