Yecla (Murcia)

History of Yecla

Yecla is a city of the Murcia province whose name comes from Yakka, an Arabic name that received the fortress of the “Cerro del Castellar”, at whose feet the current urban area extends. However, the expression comes from the pre-Roman root Iko or Ika.

The first vestiges date from the Upper Paleolithic, approximately 30,000 B.C. They are tools made of silex located in La Fuente and El Madroño.

Many deposits correspond to the Eneolithic and the Bronze Age, which transcend the pre-Roman or Iberian era. Of the latter, the finding of the “Dama Oferente” or “Dama de Yecla” stands out. It is an impressive Iberian sculpture from the 3rd or 2nd century B.C. and is currently exhibited at the National Archaeological Museum of Madrid.

From the Roman period, the site of Los Torrejones stands out. From the 1st century B.C. to the 5th century A.D., it functioned as the administrative centre of a large region.

Its first settlement was achieved at the end of the 11th century, around the Andalusian square of Hisn Yakka, in the middle of the Almoravid period. Later, at the beginning of the 13th century, it became a flourishing rural area. After the Christian reconquest, the Muslims in Yecla became vassals of the Crown of Castile in exchange for some considerations that were not respected. This ended in the Mudejar revolt or rebellion of the Mudejars (1264-1266), which was very important to the history of the Murcia region.
Basilica of La Purisima (Yecla - Murcia) 
The town experienced strong growth and economic development from the middle of the 15th century and the beginning of the 16th century, thanks to its customs. This would lead to increases in its demography during the reigns of Carlos V and Felipe II.

In the 17th century, Yecla went through a continuous recession in all aspects, motivated mainly by wars, emigration, epidemics, and plagues, among other factors. It is noteworthy that in the early 17th century, the Franciscan community obtained new facilities, currently keeping the Church of Saint Francis and its Chapel of the Virgin of the Anguish.
Yecla experienced an impressive population increase between the years 1760 and 1774, going from a population of 3,450 to 10,440 in those prosperous years, thanks mainly to the conquest for the cultivation of most of its lands. In 1878, King Alfonso XII granted the formal title of city to Yecla.

In the mid-19th century, Yecla experienced a new period of expansion that allowed it to strengthen its agricultural character, especially in terms of wine. At the end of the same century, the alcohol industry appeared in Yecla. The sector would undergo its first industrial development.

In the 1920s, a new industrial impulse took place in the area, after the transformation of artisan activity from carpenters and coopers to furniture manufacturers. Between 1950 and 1960, the furniture industry in Yecla was consolidated due to the formation of the "Esteban Díaz" Furniture Workers' Cooperative and, later, the organization of the Furniture Fair, which was the first event of its kind in all of Spain, performed once a year.