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Archaeological findings have attested human presence in Bova to as early as the Neolithic age; in the pre-Roman age, the area was inhabited by the Ausones, who were later submitted by the Greek colonists. Greek colonist founded a city (known as Delia or Deri) in what is now the borough of San Pasquale. This Bova followed the events of the wars between the major Greek centres in the area, Reggio Calabria, Locri and Syracuse, and was later subjected by the latter. After the Roman conquest, it became a town with citizenship rights.
In 440 Delia was ravaged by the Vandals. The unceasing attacks from sea pushed most of the towns in the area to resettle in safer locations far from the coast. The inhabitants from Delia founded the current Bova on a slope of the Aspromonte, at some 900 m altitude. This did not prevent the Saracens from attacking the town repeatedly and, in 953, from sacking it. Much of the population was deported, by order of the Sicilian muslim emir Hassan al-Kalbi, as slaves to Africa. The Arabs besieged Bova again in 1075.
Under the Normans (11th century) Bova became an ecclesiastical fief under the Archbishop of Reggio, who held it until the abolition of feudalism in 1806. In the 16th century Bova's territory received numerous coastal watchtowers as defense against African pirates.
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