Church of the Assumption (Huercal-Overa - Almeria)

Huércal-Overa - History

History


Huercal-Overa is characterised by its fertile lands that allow high agricultural and livestock production. Here there is also a Holy Week that is recognised worldwide for the majesty of its representations.

Huercal-Overa played a key role during the Second Punic War (218-201 BC), due to its proximity to Cartago Nova and Baria. In this confrontation, the Carthaginians and Romans fought for control of the Mediterranean Sea and the Iberian Peninsula.

It was the Romans who finally triumphed in the conflict, and the area where Huercal-Overa is located then became part of the Tarraconense Province, which reached the Almanzora river, and which became the border of the Byzantine, Visigoth, Muslim and Christian peoples.
 
Huercal-Overa Tower

The territory was strengthened and an important society was created there. There are historical monuments from this period that still stand, such as the Fortress of Huercal la Vieja, the Fortress of Overa and the Castle of Huercal.

In the year 1488, Huercal and Overa were united under the jurisdiction of Lorca. The fields of Huercal were notable for their wealth in agriculture and livestock, which led to a conflict in 1511 between Lorca and Vera (to whom it previously belonged) that lasted for many years.

The zone continued to experience warlike events, including the Rebellion of the Alpujarras (1568), which resulted in the total depopulation of Huercal and Overa. After the expulsion of the Moorish in 1572, the lands within the valley were gradually repopulated by Christians. This period of peace resulted in a population regrowth, as well as great commercial and agricultural development.

The emancipation of the area took place on March 3, 1668. Huercal-Overa, as it was formally named, separated from Lorca and became a town with its own civil jurisdiction.

The fertile lands began to produce economic growth and allowed development of the region. This period yielded important constructions, such as the Parochial Church of Our Lady of the Assumption (1709-1739), a baroque building with outstanding sculptures, which was paid for by the Huercal-Overa people. But not everything prospered, as nature created obstacles in the development of Huercal-Overa. As well as all the inclemencies of the weather, two regrettable incidents occurred: the earthquake of 1863 and the flood of 1879, both of which were responsible for the loss of lives and many hectares of crops.
 
The War of Independence in the 19th century strongly affected Huercal-Overa as it served as the general headquarters for General Joaquin Blake. Great battles against French troops took place in and around its location.

Despite the deep wounds of war, the inhabitants knew how to stand up with gallantry as they rebuilt a remarkable town in the region, which once again thrived thanks to its agriculture and livestock farming.
 
Main Square of Huercal-Overa
 
The economic prosperity obtained from harvests, mining and construction of important roads made the town grow in population and resources, to the point of becoming the provincial seat of the Assize court (1884), which led to the construction of the current City Hall. The Main Casino, the Cultural Cooperative and the Circulo Instructor Obrero, as well as several newspapers such as El Horizonte, La Voz del Ateneo and El Almanzora, among other works of great importance, remain from this period. Holy Week processions were also established, which since then have made Huercal-Overa famous throughout the country. The majesty of its processions led to the Spanish Government declaring the city of National Tourist Interest in the year 1983.

The entrepreneurial character of the people of Huercal-Overa did not allow the consequences of the Civil War to destroy the town. Indeed there was an economic recession and many emigrated; however, those who remained did not stop working as they were supported by the State with their construction of irrigation systems.

The arrival of democracy allowed the improvement of production techniques and facilities of social interest to achieve greater progress in Huercal-Overa. At present, its inhabitants are still giving their best so that the town is a world leader in terms of commerce and historical interest.