Bacares - History


It is suggested that Bacares may have Phoenician or Tartesso origins, due to the richness of its mines. This is indicated by the remains of opencast smelters, common vestiges of the Phoenician culture. In the Muslim and Christian eras, the town stood out for the quality of its iron. It was here that forges produced works for the Cathedral of Almeria and some of the noble houses of the city.

In 1489, after seven centuries of Arab occupation, the territory passed to the Catholic Monarchs, which led to profound changes and a fraught coexistence between Muslim and Christian communities. On June 24, 1492 the areas of Gérgal and Bacares were transferred to Alonso de Cárdenas y Osorio, Chief Commander of León. The abusive and intolerant attitudes of the new administrators forced a large part of the Moorish population to migrate to various areas of North Africa.

At this time, Bacares was governed by Gutierre de Cárdenas, a Christian character so respected and loved by the Muslim community that a large portion of them converted to Catholicism. Because of this, Bacares was one of the villages most punished by Abén Humeya’s troops during the Alpujarras Rebellion. When Gutierre de Cárdenas died in 1503, his will stipulated a desire that several temples be erected.

In 1571, the Moorish population of Bacares was forced out by order of expulsion by Felipe II. This caused the town to be decimated and impoverished by the end of the sixteenth century. To avoid the total depopulation of Bacares, the King sent 17 families from Vizcaya and Valencia.

In the seventeenth century, a series of earthquakes and years of drought and locust infestations diminished the province’s population once again. However, the isolation and healthy climate of Bacares eventually encouraged part of the wealthy and ecclesiastical population of Almeria to take refuge here.

In October 1879, the geodesic and astronomical link station between Spain and Algeria was inaugurated, under the direction of General Ibáñez on the Spanish side and Colonel Perrier on the Algerian. This station linked Africa with Europe through a double triangulation with vertices in the Sabina and Filaoussen mountains in Algeria, and Mulhacén and Tetica de Bacares in Spain. On this latter mountain there is still a telephone radio relay station of great importance for international communications.