The Bástulos were the first to settle in the area, and later, the Phoenicians built a factory that was to form the base of the future town of Suel. Later still, the Carthaginians took possession until the arrival of the Romans.

The clearest remains date from the Roman domination. They founded a large city in this place, the municipality of Suelitano, which although was governed by Rome, maintained the freedom of the inhabitants, their laws and a number of their magistrates. This is documented in the inscription of the statue that can be seen of Neptuno Augusto. This statue was placed on top of the Augustine Way, from which one could observe the remainder of the city, called Cañada Real.

In the fifth century, the population and fortification was destroyed by the Silingos. From the ruins emerged another town governed by the Godos, and much later, the Moslems, who called it Sohail, a name that was lost until the eighteenth century. It makes reference to a star in the constellation of Argos, the Latin Canopo, which can only be seen from the Iberian Peninsula and, of course, from the Castle. In 912, Abderramán the Third, ordered reconstruction of the Castle, returning it to its original splendour from the times of the kings of the Taifas. In 1340, in this castle, Yusef the First made a pact with Enrique the Second of Castilla, the truce being commercial in nature. On August 7th 1487, after a sea and land attack, the castle and population were defeated by Fernando el Católico, as had happened with Estepona.

In the seventeenth century, the name changed from Sohail to Fuengirola, its name coming from "girona", the fishing boats of the Genoese who arrived on the coast attracted by the abundance of fish.