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History of Lahiguera

HISTORY OF LAHIGUERA

The oldest documented occupation of Lahiguera dates back to the final Neolithic era, a period in which the agricultural economy began to be consolidated. This process led to the development of the Copper Age in the definitive sedentism of the village population. Between the fourth and third millenniums BC, there was a significant increase in human presence in the area, linked to the high-quality soils for agricultural use.

This sedentism, together with the need to increase productive space, led populations to compete for use of these soils. This explains the situation of local villages on hilltops, with good defensive capacity. These villages were marked out by complex fortification systems.

The establishment of Los Pozos, located in the urban area, was the object of an emergency intervention in 1986. It had one of the first fortifications known for that phase, a defensive system based on a deep chamber dug into the rock. Next to it, there are structures of a room with cabins, in a roughly circular shape, where a large amount of ceramic materials were unearthed.

In the latter half of the third millennium BC, the sedentism culminated and the cereal farming model was consolidated. The population at this time comprised three types of settlements: large fortified centers, small surveillance settlements and small agricultural centers specialized in cultivation. In Cerro Corbún, there is a small town, which due to the surface materials, could be ascribed to a moment of transition between Copper and Bronze.

During Roman times, the area was densely populated, with a large number of rural settlements and villas documented. In the case of the current locality, remains of the Islamic period have been found in Las Cuevas and Los Pozos. Their situation suggests that they were part of the same population, which may have been more expansive than the current Lahiguera. This occupation, which began in prehistoric times, was determined by the relative elevation of the place with respect to the environment, which owes it a wide visibility and defensive possibilities. On the other hand, the limestone configuration of the land makes it easy to open silos, which would be used to store grain, and which is one of the features that characterised this place from prehistoric to medieval times.

It is thought that the town passed into the hands of Castilians after the pact between Fernando III and Al-Bayyasi, in which the latter handed over several towns to the Castilian Monarch, including Andújar. In the thirteenth century, Fuente de la Figuera was almost certainly a direct translation of the Arabic name, which was soon shortened to “La Figuera”. In 1234, Fernando III handed over the village to Andújar.

Throughout the late Middle Ages the restructuring of the terms of Andújar, Jaén and Arjona, and the attempts of some Nobles to take over part of the land to build Manors, were constant. However, Andújar fought energetically, sometimes facing the Kings, to preserve the integrity of his terms. At the same time, the distancing of the border struggles allowed the development of the Guadalquivir populations, and thus, at the beginning of the fourteenth century, La Figuera was sufficiently important to constitute a parish within the Andújar Archpriesthood.

The process by which La Figuera passed to the village of Arjona within the Lordship of the Calatrava Order is still not fully understood. In 1434, the entire term of Arjona passed to the Order of Calatrava, who formed the district of Arjona, including La Figuera, which was renamed Higuera de Arjona. According to the chronicles, on February 20, 1292, a royal privilege was granted in the city of Toledo by which the village of Higuera was conferred on the city of Andújar, a concession that remained practically unchanged throughout most of the modern age. Until the seventeenth century, the jurisdiction of Higuera fell on the aforementioned city of Andújar. Thereafter, Higuera began to be exempt from that legal-administrative dependency, to be classified as a town with independent jurisdiction.

In more recent history, Lahiguera has developed into small town constituting a rural community marked by traditions. Its attachment to agriculture and good-quality land has led to a local economic focus on the cultivation of cereals, as well as olive groves in areas.

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