Lorca is the third most populous municipality in the Murcia region, with 94,404 inhabitants, according to the 2019 census.
In the Guadalentin valley, many civilizations have been established over the centuries, due mainly to the springs of water and the wealth of minerals. Flint utensils have been found demonstrating the existence of Homo erectus
in the area in the Lower Paleolithic (1,500,000 - 95,000 B.C.).
During Roman times, Lorca was used as a commercial establishment, receiving important shipments of amphoras for its commercialization. The main reason for Lorca’s use as a base of operations was its excellent location in the Levante-Andalusia corridor, in the middle of the penetration path inland from Cartagena (Via Augusta). From the 2nd century A.D., numerous Roman settlements began to be produced in the Lorca area, dedicated mainly to the agricultural exploitation of the fertile plain of Guadalentin.
The Guadalentin valley was occupied by a high number of Arab settlements. These caused changes in the region, turning it into a solidly Islamized land.
Islamic armies arrived in Lorca in 711, making the city one of the medinas preferred by the Arabs to settle. The Muslims called it Lurqa
and it became one of the most important nuclei of Al-Andalus
. Lorca soon became the capital of the Kingdom of Tudmir
, displacing Orihuela in importance, due mainly to its excellent geographical location.
In the 9th century, internal fighting led Emir Abd al-Rahman II
to found a new city on the banks of the Segura River. This new medina took the name of Mursiya
and was the origin of the current city of Murcia. Despite this, Lorca still served a few years as the capital of the Kingdom of Tudmir
, though over time Mursiya
became increasingly important to the point that it became the capital of the kingdom.
With the conquest of Lorca by the Castilians in the year 1244, Lorca continued to play a role as an important nucleus within a rich agricultural region and with an important artisan activity. However, due to its border character and continuous disputes, agriculture was difficult to develop. The continuous border danger influenced the life of the population, who, frightened, decided to concentrate on the town's enclosure and its fortress.
With the fall of the last Muslim stronghold, the border danger disappeared, giving way to years of prosperity that promoted the transformation of Lorca and its commercial, agricultural and livestock development.
This situation produced a demographic explosion thanks to the workers who arrived attracted by the numerous public works that were undertaken in the area.
Later, the 17th century saw a slow-down in Lorca's development due to economic and demographic catastrophes resulting from droughts, floods, earthquakes and epidemics.
In 1802 a new catastrophe occurred in Lorca: the breakage of the Puentes reservoir, which inaugurated a period of misfortunes that would take its toll on the economy and demography of the city of Lorca.
It would not be until the 20th century that Lorca would experience a technological take-off with the specialization of the productive sectors. The intense mining exploitation of the deposits in the coastal area was an economic boost for the entire region.
In 1964 the urban center was named a Historic-Artistic Site. It contains symbolic buildings such as the Guevara Palace, the City Hall, the Monumental Site of Santo Domingo, the Church of Saint Francis and the Casino.