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History of Marmolejo

HISTORY OF MARMOLEJO

The 200 archaeological settlements catalogued in Marmolejo are testaments of the occupation of these lands during Prehistory and Antiquity, the oldest dating back to the Paleolithic era, located on the terraces of the rivers. In the third millennium BC, the land was occupied by small nuclei (Santa Cecilia, La Casilla de Maroto) and other larger ones, possibly fortified (La Aragonesa and Las Torrecillas), which served as defense to Marmolejo.

In the seventh century AC, these lands were colonised by settlers from Tartessos. This process developed in successive waves of settlers who densely occupied this territory with small single-family settlements such as Las Calañas, which relied for their defense on the oppidum of Aragonesa and Obulco. At the end of that same century, it became the border area between the Tartessian and Iberian worlds.

In Roman times, the original population nucleus was located on a small promontory known as Las Torrecillas, which is cited by Pliny ‘the Elder’ as Uccia or Uciense Manor. During the second century, a proliferation of small houses belonging to the peasantry was detected in its territory, some of them villae, with stuccoed walls, columns and mosaics such as those of El Cerro Pimiento de San Julián, La Casilla de los Mártires, El Pozo, Santa Amalia and many others. The Romans already knew many of its water sources and mineral-rich springs. The exploitation of these, as well as water’s use for irrigation, is confirmed by the presence of storage tanks in many of the settlements.

During the Moorish occupation there must only have been a small village or farmhouse, as the town is barely mentioned in the chronicles, until 1311 when it is mentioned as a parish. It had a small castle, in which the Ermita de San Lorenzo was located. The earliest evidence of this castle dates to the fifteenth century as it was the subject of an ownership dispute between the Marquis of Villena and the Constable Miguel Lucas de Iranzo. The best preserved medieval settlement in its municipality is the Castillo Aragonesa, of Islamic origin, which after the Reconquest was transformed into a palatial residence.

During the Modern Age, what is now Marmolejo was nothing but a village dependent on Andújar. On May 27, 1791, King Carlos IV granted the village Privilege. In 1781, the French doctor, Tissot, referred to the benefits of the mineral-medicinal waters of Marmolejo. In 1875, the first inn was opened, run by the French citizen Pablo Rostaing, established to welcome visitors to the springs. From this date and into the early decades of the twentieth century, many more inns appeared in the town to welcome visitors and the Balneario (Spa) was erected, specialized in using the medicinal waters for digestive and kidney ailments.

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