HISTORY OF LOPERA
Lopera has its origins in the Bronze Age, with remains from this period having been found in the farmhouses of Almazán, Lanzarino I and Cuatro Hermanas. From the Iron Age period, remains of Iberian culture stand out, such as the deposits of Cerro de la Casa, Cerro de los Pollos and Cerro de San Cristóbal.
Roman remains have also been unearthed within the municipal term. However, Lopera was a second-order place in the Roman territorial administration. Its name at this time was Polesi, and it was part of, or administratively dependent upon, the municipality of Obulco (Porcuna). The best studied site is that of the Roman-Visigothic city of “Morrones”, which had a basilica and was located right on the border with the municipality of Cañete de las Torres. There were two Roman roads that crossed Lopera, one to the north and the other to the south next to Obulco.
The current population nucleus emerged around the eighth and ninth centuries AD, likely as a result of Visigoth or Muslim settlements on one of the slopes of the Cerro de San Cristóbal. In 1240, Lopera was conquered by Fernando III, “El Santo”, who thereby took the town from the Muslims.
Lopera was under the jurisdiction of the Order of Calatrava until the sixteenth century and during all this time several Commanders passed through the town, each establishing their permanent residence in the castle. In the middle of the sixteenth century, Lopera had as its commander Don Juan Pacheco y Torres, son of Doña Marina Fernández de Torres, whose tomb is in the main altar of the Parish Church of La Purísima Concepción. The sixteenth century was characterized by the economic and population boom as well as the beginning of the town’s independence from Porcuna and Martos. During all this time, Lopera depended on the Martos and Porcuna Commandery, until King Felipe II decided to declare it an independent town in 1595. This independence materialized after the payment that the neighbors made to the coffers of the Royal Treasury.
In the nineteenth century, the property of the Church was confiscated, most of which was acquired by the bourgeoisie, thus increasing their patrimony and dominance over the rest of the population. Among these, Alonso de Valenzuela must be mentioned, representing Cortes in 1854 and Mayor of Lopera between 1870 and 1874, who in 1856 acquired the castle.
A typical image of the first half of the twentieth century was that of unemployed day labourers in the main square of the town waiting for the foreman on duty to offer work. These years were characterized by an increase in social conflicts and continuous labour demands. In 1925, with the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera, the construction of the School Groups began, whose achievement was thanks to the initiative of Mayor and teacher Martín Valcarcel.