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History of Andújar

HISTORY OF ANDÚJAR

The oldest remains found in the area date from the Paleolithic era, belonging to the Acheliense Culture, but it was during the Neolithic period and in the first part of the Bronze Age that the population of the area began to develop more seriously, supported by the development of agriculture in its fertile lands and mining in the Sierra Morena. According to recent archaeological studies, the first group to form a major settlement here were the Oretanos, who founded the ancient Isturgi, in the place today occupied by the district of Los Villares de Andújar.

With the arrival of the Romans, this entire area was Romanized very quickly, first under the organization of Hispania Ulterior and later under Baetica and within the Conventus Cordobensis. The nucleus of the settlement populated the entire bank of the Guadalquivir when the Roman Empire fell and the Visigothic organization succeeded it.

After the Battle of Guadalete in 711, the entire south of the peninsula would become Al-Andalus. According to Inb Idarí, during the emirate of Muhammad V in 853, there was a warlike encounter in Anduyar (Andújar); this is the first time that Andújar’s name appears in a historical source. In 888, Abd Allah ordered the fortification of Andújar and a little later the Almohads, in the middle of the twelfth century, fortified the city definitively; remains of this fortification have largely diminished today.  

Andújar was already a centre for the production of ceramics and pottery, continuing the tradition of the Hispano-Roman “sigillata”. In 1225, Fernando III peacefully obtained the city from the Almohads, soon beginning its transformation from an Islamic city to a Christian one. Andújar and its land were declared by the Monarch, “land of royalty”, giving it the Fuero de Cuenca.

In 1446, King Juan II granted the town the title of “city” for its loyalty to the Crown and, in 1466, Enrique IV termed the city “very noble and loyal”. In 1472, Pedro de Escavias was its perpetual Mayor; in these years, its shield with all its elements was also formed with the municipal red banner. Isabel “la Católica” arrived with her magistrates and, in 1478, Francisco de Bobadilla ordered the demolition of fortifications to fulfil the royal mandate. In 1478, militias from Andújar intervened in the conquest of Málaga, as they had previously intervened in the conquest of Moclín.

In the sixteenth century, with trade open to the Atlantic, Andújar experienced moments of splendour, resulting in ennoblement due to a thriving aristocracy and a great proliferation of religious orders.

In 1808, the city was occupied by the French. The French General Dupont, after conquering Córdoba, gathered in Andújar, where he established his Headquarters. From Andújar, Dupont sent the troops to Bailén where he lost the Battle. After the defeat in Bailén, the capitulations of the Battle in Andújar were signed in the Palacio de Gracia Real.

On October 31, 1823, Fernando VII, returning to Madrid from Cádiz after the Battle of Trocadero, which would put an end to the Liberal Triennium, signed the so-called Andújar Decree in this city, which established a series of retaliatory measures against people of different estates that had served the recently failed constitutional regime. Specifically, it meant the separation of various aristocrats from his service. In 1835, the first Central Sovereignty Board of Andalusia was established in Andújar. Considered a pioneer in terms of the Andalusian autonomy movement, it became the capital of the current Andalusia that we know today.

At the beginning of the Civil War, Andújar was on the Republican side. After the bombardment of the city by Francoist forces, the Captain of the Civil Guard, Santiago Cortés, took refuge in the Santuario de Nuestra Señora de la Cabeza along with many families with women and children. After a long and tough defence, the redoubt fell into the hands of the Republicans. There were heavy casualties among the defenders and civilians and the captain was seriously wounded and died shortly thereafter. Captain Cortés was accused of using the civilian refugees inside the Sanctuary as a human shield, but the Republicans demanded the surrender of all or none. Only Commander Nonfuentes, arrested by the Captain himself for negotiating the surrender, handed over several families to the Republicans. Their fates remain unknown.

 

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