|Niebla's ancient walls.|
Just 20 kilometres by road from Trigueros is the fortified walled town of Niebla, which resides on the banks of the Río Tinto. Rising in the Sierra Morena to the north, the Red River, as it’s otherwise known, has been mined for its copper, silver and gold since ancient times. Tinged red, as a result of iron deposits, the river roams through 100 kilometres of Andalusian landscape, its water acidic enough to eat through metal.
Accounts of mineral wealth, particularly silver, enticed Phoenician traders to the south-western shores of the Iberian Peninsula, laying the foundation of a succession of Greek, Carthaginian and Roman invasions during the centuries that followed. After a long hiatus of almost a thousand years, its mines were rediscovered and eventually sold off by the Spanish government to a British syndicate – soon launched as Rio Tinto - for considerably less than their true value. As little as four years later, the Rio Tinto mine had become the world’s leading producer of copper.