La Rábida monastery has been a Franciscan community since the 13th century. It was declared a Historic-Artistic Monument in 1856.
It was constructed over La Rábita, a small Almohad building that gave it its name. It became a monastery in 1261, as shown in a papal bull from Benedict XIII allowing Fray Juan Rodríguez and his companions to set up a community. The Franciscans exerted a great influence in the area. The building is in the Gothic-Mudejar style and is for the worship of the Virgen de los Milagros, of whom there is a 14th century alabaster statue. Columbus took refuge in the monastery in 1490, after being told that the Catholic Monarchs had rejected his petition to mount an expedition to look for the Indies. The prior and Queen Isabel’s confessor, Juan Pérez, persuaded them to listen to the proposal.