The history of this mining area begins in Roman times, who were the first to open mines here and extract the rich minerals found in them. These were transported all over the Mediterranean via the port of Portmán, know to the Romans as Portus Magnus and indeed, what is now La Union was known to them by the same name.
La Union was only named little more than a century ago when the two small villages of Herrerias and El Garbunzal became united. Portmán lies on the coast 9 kilometres away from La Union and from it there are tracks which lead to some lovely wild beaches.
As in many mining villages in Spain, La Union was a busy, industrial town with nearly 40,000 inhabitants at the beginning of the 20th century.
But life in the mines was harsh, wages were low and after the end of the First World War many people left their hometown to seek their fortunes, or at
least a living, in the large cities, and the mines fell into recession. A few decades later, new technology meant that it was feasible to work the mines again, and they remained open until 1991, when they were finally closed. So the population has fluctuated over the last century or so and at the present time La Union is home to 15,000 inhabitants.
The hills where the mines are located occupy roughly a third of the land of this municipality and the terrain is rugged and very dry looking, they have been transformed over the years by the work of the miners and the old chimneys are clearly visible. Near the top of these hills, at the Hermitage of the “Virgin del Rosario” there is a Mirador (looking platform) from which to enjoy the view.
La Union is famous for its Festival of the Cante de las Minas (Mine Songs), this is held every August in the Market Building and if you are interested in flamenco, you will appreciate this especial form of flamenco singing and hear artists from all over the region performing “cante hondo” (deep singing).
“La Virgin del Rosario” is the Patron Saint of the town and a fiesta is held in her honour every year.