Purchena - History


Copper Age settlements known as Churuletes and various Roman villas have been found in the Onegas area.

Purchena was the capital of the Almanzora River during the Moorish period and was founded, according to the chronicles, by the last Emir of Córdoba, Abdalah, towards the year 900 AD with the name Hins Burxana. The town acquired its greatest importance during this Al-Andalus period as it was the centre of the displacement of the rebel, Husun Summuntan (Somontín). Its importance was such that, in 985 AD, it was visited by Almanzor.

With the Christian Re-conquest, after the capture of Baza in 1489, the capital of Almanzora was handed over, but its warden, Ibrahim Abenidir, refused to accept the gifts of the Catholic Monarchs and departed to Africa with his people and servants. Purchena was granted in señorío to the Duchy of Medinaceli and, from 1501, was the place of realengo.

During the Moorish Rebellion (1568-1570), in the summer of 1569, Aben Humeya, head of the Moorish rebellion, made Purchena the capital of the Moorish uprising. Athletic, musical and dance competitions were held in which Moriscos from the former Kingdom of Granada and North Africa participated. In 1993, these Moorish Games were recovered, which are currently held annually in August and have been declared of National Touristic Interest by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports. For a week, the town of Purchena travels in time and recovers all Andalusian traditions, clothing, gastronomy, folklore, crafts and sports. It becomes, at the same time, a meeting place for numerous visitors from the Maghreb countries.

After the Moorish Rebellion and the expulsion of the Moors from the Kingdom of Granada, Purchena gradually became dominated by iron and mercury exploitation, and eventually by the cultivation of Ohanes grapes during the second half of the nineteenth century. The construction of the railway took place in 1890.

The twentieth century was another period of decline, especially during the Spanish Civil War, during which Purchena saw its population halve due to emigration. From 1993, it became one of the headquarters of the summer courses of the Complutense University. The grape cultivation was replaced with the growing of oranges, vines and olive trees. The exploitation of the marble quarries was a major turning point, fuelled by industrial development. Along with canned vegetables and ham dryers, Purchena has managed to develop numerous exports in spite of its small size.