By all accounts, the “civil wars of Granada” were a lost cause from their very inception. To confront the most powerful monarch in Europe, commander of a highly experienced army and one of the most powerful naval fleets of the day, seeking to defend a territory with the sea as one of its frontiers, without weapons, poorly provisioned, and with virtually no external help - the Turks, Felipe II’s only opponents in the Mediterranean were too far away and anyway concerned with other conflicts which posed a greater risk to their country - could only result in an insane venture, which would end in disillusion and despair, the fate of all subjugated minorities.
The battle of Frigiliana, along with those of Galera,Felix and Los Güajares, was among the most tragic of the conflict, not only for the resources employed, but also for the severity of the attacks and the loss of human life involved. And for the people of Málaga it became the most outstanding event after the Reconquest, to the point that, whenever the city wished to seek any royal bounty, the request would draw attention to the fact that “In 1569 Málaga took part in the capture of Frigiliana...”
The first attack was launched on Saturday, 28th May at around ten o’clock in the morning, by the chief magistrate, Suazo with a force of 1,500 men and 100 horses from the Málaga and Velez garrisons. The two companies from Málaga, each of 250 men were led by Captain Pedro de Coalla and captain Hernando Duarte de Barrientos; the four velez companies were led by Alonso Zapata, Beltrán d Andía, Marcos de la Barrera and Juan Moreno de Villalobos; Luis de Paz commanded the cavalry. The attack broke down in a disorderly retreat during which the men under Zapata and Villalobos found themselves surrounded by the Moriscos, their standards abandoned and in danger of getting lost.