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The first traces of human presence in the area date back to the Neolithic age. The town was founded by Romans, who named it Blanda or Blandae. During that period, a large number of Roman villas were built in the area and many artifacts have been found there. In fact, Blanes is one of the most important archaeological sites on Catalonia's coast. After being conquered by Muslims during 8th century AD (Al-Andalus), it became an agricultural centre for nearby villages and towns such as Begur and Palafrugell; its population also increased considerably at this time due to immigration from other parts of Spain (especially Castile). In 1229 James I signed a treaty with Genoa which allowed them to establish trading posts along his territory including "Porto de Santa Maria" ("Saint Mary's Port"), later known as Blanes' harbour because Saint Mary is considered patron saint both for this town and neighbouring Palamós'.