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History of Porcuna

History of Porcuna

Since its periodic Paleolithic settlement, Porcuna has been uninterruptedly occupied by numerous settlers throughout Prehistory (Neolithic, Copper and Bronze), Protohistory (final Bronze, Ancient Iron), the Turdula period, whenit was the city-state of IbolcaTúrdula, Roman times, when it was Obulco, and the Muslim occupation of the period of al-Andalus, when it was termed Bulkūna before being Christianised. In this way, the municipality demonstrates the bustling exchange of cultures that so defines Andalusia’s history.

The origins of Porcunadate to a group of Final Neolithic villages located in its surroundings. In the Copper Age (third millennium BC) the area became a nuclear center of La Campiña. Archaeological investigations have uncovered one of the oldest documented fortifications in Alto Guadalquivir(Cerro de losAlcores) with a double walled enclosure surrounded by circular huts. Another similar town is located on Cerro Albalate. Both were maintained during the Bronze Age (second millennium BC).

In the seventh and sixth centuries AC, the Túrdula culture was formed; a new urban arrangement appeared with a geometric layout, rectangular houses with adobe walls that are raised on stone baseboards, sometimes stuccoed with mud. The area maintained its status as a great centre and in this turbulent time an aristocracy emerged with heroic political models, as did other Mediterranean regions. At this time, Porcuna was the city-state of Ibolca, with its own mint. The language used was the ‘túrdulo’, whose alphabet has been described by historians, but the meaning of the words is still unknown. Alphabetic symbols have been found on coins and stelae.

The Roman Obulco was the origin of the current Porcuna, confirmed by the epigraphic finds and the texts of Pliny, Ptolemy and Strabo. During the Republic and the First Empire the city had great importance and enjoyed certain autonomy, since it minted its currency. In the Civil War between Caesar and Pompey, Obulco took a decided party for the former and, according to Strabo, this was where Caesarprepared the decisive Battle of Munda, in 45 BC.

In Muslim times the city was known asBulkuna, and it was one of the district capitals (iqlim). After being conquered in 1241 by Fernando III, the King gave it to the Order of Calatrava, which made it one of its main enclaves (Encomienda de Porcuna). The Order endowed it with strong defenses, of which some towers and sections still remain, housing a fortress and an octagonal keep.

In 1242,Alfonso Xexchanged the town for Cabra. Porcuna became Royal and was ceded to the Council of Jaén. The town returned to the Order of Calatrava in 1402and remained there until the nineteenth century. Of the five priories that the Order had in Andalusia in the sixteenth century, two were in Porcuna. At this time the Encomienda de Porcunahad disappeared but the Encomienda de la Torre del Cañaveral had been established in this town.

After the end of the Re-conquest by the Catholic Monarchs, the dominion that the Order of Calatrava exercised over Porcuna was only theoretical, since, in addition to appointing the holders of its benefits, it was the Crown that owned or controlled the rights of the señoríos, managing and enjoying their most valuable and profitable assets, receiving for this most of the income that the Order had in the town.

During the reign ofCarlos I,a community problem arose, which in Porcunamaterialized in support of the Emperor’s rights, against the commune uprising and under the command of the Marquis of Mondéjar. The commune defeat brought stability to Porcuna, and its definitive consolidation as a population entity. This consolidation was translated at the beginning of the seventeenth century in the royal concession by Felipe III. At that time the satirical poet of the golden age Juan del Valle y Caviedes was born in Porcuna.

From then on, and throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Porcunaunderwenta long depressive phase, marked by bad agricultural conditions, strong pressure from the Royal Treasury and a decline in its population. In 1808, General Castaños’ troops met in Porcuna to design the decisive Battle of Bailén against the French. The heroine,MaríaBellido, who had been born in Porcuna, intervened in that Battle.

Porcuna actively participated in the framework of the first struggles of Spanish liberalism,on the side represented by the Cadiz Cortes and in defense of the dynastic rights of Fernando VII. After the first Carlist War, a long period of institutional stability arrived in the middle of the nineteenth century. The demographic growth was also accompanied by a process of agrarian expansion, centered in the locality on the extension of traditional crops such as cereal and, to a lesser extent, the olive grove.

In 1919, together with Lopera and Arjona, Porcuna was one of the towns that led the peasant struggle against the domination, totally implanted at that time to the point that a vacuum of public power was produced. The situation between the farmers and the forces sent by the caciques turned to the point of violent clashes in Lopera and Porcuna with the death of a girl wounded by a bullet, 18 workers injured and more than a hundred prisoners.

The 1930s saw the dismantling of cacique politics, the political triumph of republicans and socialists within the framework of the Second Republic, the radicalization of positions and confrontations and the escalation of social tension in the town. All of this, as in the rest of Spain, led to the Civil War that began in 1936, between Republicans and Francoists in the line of Córdoba.


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