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Turismo de Alcalá de Guadaíra

Late Middle Ages

FROM THE 13TH TO THE 15TH CENTURIES

Alcalá of Guadaíra surrenders to the invaders commanded by King Ferdinand III in 1247. Initially, the Hill Castle fortification would become one of the bases used by the Castilian monarch to besiege Seville, which would be conquered in 1248. Through written sources we know that king Ferdinand carried out works of reconstruction and enlargement of the castle, laying the foundations of the powerful late medieval fortification.

Gothic fresco of Saint Matthew, in Santa María Church
Gothic fresco of Saint Matthew, in Santa María Church

When does Alcalá de Guadaíra come into being? During Al-Andalus period the Castle Hill an urban character, being limited to work as fortification or place for troop camping. These characteristics are kept even at the end of the 13th century: Until 1280 Alcalá village is not founded by King Alfonso X, being the first inhabitants entrusted with the protection and custody of the Castle.

After its foundation in 1280, inhabitants would move in on the Castle Hill, outside the fortification. From this time on, Alcalá's Village would keep on growing during the entire Late Middle Ages (14th & 15th centuries), around the quarters (collaciones) of Santa María and San Miguel, both of them built with walls around during this period. Late 13th century, Alcalá de Guadaíra would proceed to depend on the Town Council (Concejo, former Ayuntamiento) of Seville, in charge among many other matters of appointing the successive constables entrusted with the Castle custody.

After the 13th century the territory dependent on Alcalá Village is established and has reached to present time as municipal district. About the end of the Al-Andalus period, this area's agricultural resources were highly exploited. From the 13th century on, the land's propriety system is completely changes, as a consequence of the expulsion of Al-Andalus inhabitants and the distribution among the conquerors, origin of the system of large states (latifundios) or large agricultural exploitations that were developed mostly at the Campiña during Late Middle Ages.

El Algarrobo Mill Inside
El Algarrobo Mill Inside

Between the 14th and 15th centuries, Alcalá de Guadaíra developed an important agricultural economy, focused on the wheat and olive cultivation. The cereals production favoured Alcalá's milling industry, and so, in this period many mills (San Juan, El Algarrobo) are built along the Guadaíra and its tributaries courses, in addition to use again some of those that existed at Al-Andalus period. Flour production allowed also the development of an important bread industry, being this way Alcalá, ca. 15th century, the supplier of the capital city, what caused Alcalá's nickname "Of the Bakers".

In the 15th century, Alcalá de Guadaíra was already one of the most populous villages of the surroundings of Seville, with a powerful castle, numerous inhabitants, a solid agricultural economy and a flourishing transforming industry. During the nobility fights linked to Isabel I's coronation as Queen of Castile (1474 - 1504), Alcalá becomes a daily battlefield between the confronted families Ponce de León and Guzmán. The Castle would be taken by the Ponce of León party between 1471 and 1477, being used like headquarters to harass Seville (under the Guzmáns' rule). After the Marchenilla Peace Treaties, the Castle would go back to Castilian Crown.

Along with the Village of Alcalá, during Late Middle Ages other populations inside its district were developed, consequently to the distributions made after Castilian Conquer. Among them we highlight the Gandul and Marchenilla hamlets, as parts of a vast dominion that has been kept until almost 19th century.

What can you do today?

In Alcalá there is no time for boredom. Because besides there is a lot to see, there is much more to be done.

Pictures Gallery - The River

Watching, looking at in Alcalá is filling the retina with photos. Your eyes will take snapshots at every step. Access to our picture gallery.
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