Header Banner - Google Adsense

History of Fuerte del Rey

History of Fuerte del Rey

by Saskia Mier

From Prehistory and Ancient History, Fuerte del Rey has one of the best studied archaeological sites in Spain, Las Atalayuelas, which dates from the second millennium BC. Abandoned for a time, it was repopulated in the first millennium BC, until the Iberian period, when a fortress was built.

During the Roman period, there was an urban restructuring of the Atalayuelas(watchtowers) and the landscape was transformed usingthe model of the Roman cadastre and the appearance of numerous farmhouses.During and after the Islamic invasion, it continued to be a defensive refuge until it was abandoned at the end of the fourth century, while a new settlement was emerging in the current urban area, which was consolidated thanks to its having a water spring and its strategic location on the road that connected Andújar with Jaén and Arjona.

Between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries, a fortification was built for self-defense and for the city of Jaén. Already in Castilian hands, the defensive complex was expanded as it was the border point between the lands of the Royal family and those of the Order of Calatrava, witnessing the fights between supporters of Enrique IV, led by Lucas de Iranzo, and the rebels led by the Master of the Order, Don Pedro Girón.

During the Modern Age, the area experienced a period of prosperity in the sixteenth century, reaching 400 inhabitants, and of decline in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when its population decreased by almost half.The nucleus that, over time,would give rise to the current population of Fuerte del Reywas previously known as Fuente del Rey, a small village dependent on the enormous alfoz of the city of Jaén, and,in 1765, it was renamed with its current name.

The town finally achieved its independence from the capital of Jaén between 1803 and 1805. The name Fuente del Rey, according to different sources, may be due to the existence in the municipality of an important source of water, owned by the Council of Jaén, which belonged to the King. Other sources suggest its origins in the Fuente de Regomello, which still exists today. The current urban configuration is due to many inhabitants of the scattered farmhouses moving more centrally to build their own home, following the City Councilfacilitating the sale of affordable land in town. Some of these houses were poorly constructed and were washed away by a flood that occurred on Calle del Pilar in 1856.

Living in Andalucia