History of Paterna del Río


The name of Paterna seems to originate in Paternum or Paternus, although the remains of Iberian swords found in the Gaviarra mines cast doubt on this assumption. The dramatic and challenging landscape of La Alpujarra meant that its Arab occupation took some centuries, but the Mozarabic population was very important in the times of the Caliphate. In 913, the young Caliph Abd al-Rahman III had to cross Sierra Sulaira (Sierra Nevada) through Puerto de la Ragua to quash a group of rebels who were fighting for the independence of the region and gained strength in the Castle of Juviles.

From the eleventh century, La Alpujarra gained economic prominence due to the commercial opportunities afforded by the Port of Almería. The cultural mix gave La Alpujarra its own identity, with a unique proverbial richness. The most fruitful period was across the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, with a formidable production of silks, wine, nuts and aromatic essences, that went inland or to the coast, in many cases as payment of taxes from the Nasrid Kings to the Castilians.

With the fall of Granada in 1492, many Andalusi fled to the Alpujarra, seeking refuge and creating resistance groups that crystallized under the command of Aben Humeya. During the Moorish rebellion, in February 1569, the victory of the Marquis of Mondéjar took place in Guarro. After the defeat, Aben-Humeya fled to Paterna and, cornered by the royal troops, he disappeared into the mountains, leaving his wife, mother and sisters behind, who were immediately captured.

The battles ended in 1570, and that same year Felipe II decreed the expulsion of the Moors from these lands. In order to alleviate the negative economic effects of this move, a repopulation and distribution of land with people from the north of the peninsula began around the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

From the eighteenth century onwards, the towns of the Alpujarra began to re-establish their agricultural economy; networks of terraces were built to restore old irrigation channels and pools, and the residents began consuming their own fruit and vegetables, building flour mills and weaving.

Living in Andalucia