Urban development of Murcia city II

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Continuing the previous post On the urban development of Murcia, we are in the late Middle Ages.

After the great Christian victory in Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212. Castile began its expansion towards the south, favoring the Andalusian uprisings against the Almohads after their overwhelming defeat. Like the one that gave rise to the third Taifa kingdom of Murcia, ruled by the Banu Hud dynasty. During these years of splendor, the Alcázar Siga was built in the Arrixaca suburb, on the remains of the former palace of the Wolf King. In addition, the suburbs were walled, configuring the final defensive set of Muslim Murcia.

End of the Murcia Taifa Kingdom

The third taifa ended up losing ground between the Christian conquests and the Muslim uprisings so it could not prevent the future Alfonso X the Wise, on behalf of his father Fernando III, subjecting Murcia to vassalage through the Treaty of Alcaraz, incorporating the city ​​and his kingdom to the Crown of Castile in the form of a protectorate.

In a rough way, the Alcaraz treaty gave autonomy to the Muslims, allowing them to continue  Ibn Hud al-Dawla as king of Murcia in the Alcázar Follow. The Muslim population continued to live in the medina and in the suburbs of the arrixaca. The Castilian colonists settled in a new suburb called Murcia la nueva. This suburb is the origin of the San Juan neighborhood.

The Christian conquest

Alfonso X soon breached the treaty, aware that the city was not being Christianized. So he provoked the Mudejars of Murcia and they revolted in 1262. With a casus belli, Alfonso pidió ayuda a su suegro, el rey de Aragón, Jaume I.  El cual derrotó a los mudejares en nombre de Alfonso X, entrado en la ciudad el 2 de febrero de 1266.  Este fue el fin de la historia musulmana de Murcia.

Mapa Murcia durante la conquista cristiana 1243
Urban plot in the Christian conquest (1243)

With the arrival of the Christians, the city went into decline, since its border situation and the flight of the Muslim settlers caused its population to shrink. The cathedral began to be built on the old aljama mosque and in 1278 the bishop's seat from Cartagena was moved to Murcia without any official consent. In 1291 the city officially became the episcopal seat of the Diocese of Cartagena after the approval of Sancho IV el Bravo.

XIV-XV centuries

The 14th century was disastrous for the city. In 1348 came the epidemic of the Black Death. Almost half of the city's inhabitants die, adding the departure of the mudejars, the city is reduced to the heart of the medina and the Christian suburb. With the reduction of the population the suburbs of the Arrixaca are totally abandoned, their ruins being used as a cemetery. That is why the urban evolution of Murcia is negative in this century. In addition to the plague, war once again rocked the area during the war of the two Pedros (1356–1369) between Castile and Aragon. At the end of the century an economic recovery began thanks to the cessation of the Granada threat. As of 1482, both Murcia and Lorca became the base of operations for the military campaigns that the Catholic Monarchs launched on the eastern part of the kingdom of Granada.

Mapa de Murcia en el S.XV
Murcia XV century

16th-17th centuries

The 16th and 17th centuries signified the development of the Murcian silk industry after the collapse of the Granada industry. In this age; The course of the Segura river began to be modified to reduce the damage caused by the floods, after the San Calixto flood in 1651. The course of the west meander is modified, remaining with the current configuration.

Mapa de Murcia en el S.XVII
Murcia XVII century

Century XVIII

The 18th century is the most splendid of the city, not in vain is it called the Murcian Golden Age. Murcia's urban evolution in this century was expansive due to economic development. The basis of this growth was founded on an agricultural impulse based also on the increase of the cultivated area. The breakages caused a greater extension of the Murcia orchard and rainfed crops in the countryside, something that brought with it the appearance of human settlements in these areas (the origin of many of the current districts). Wealth continued to play an important role in the silk trade, in fact in 1770 the Real Fábrica de Hilar Sedas a la Piedmont was installed in Murcia. The buoyant situation was reflected in the arts and urban planning of the city, being from this period the construction of most of the city's churches, the city hall palace and the baroque façade of the cathedral.

River restructuring

From this century is the restructuring of the river course and the definitive channeling as it passes through the city. The bridge of dangers is built, given that the pre-existing bridge disappeared in a flood in 1701. At the initiative of Cardinal Belluga, an extensive public hydraulic work is carried out with the aim of expanding the arable area of ​​the orchard and developing the irrigation systems. To reduce the impact of the floods, the Guadalentín river is redirected through the Reguerón channel so that it empties downstream. The old retaining wall for the overflows of the river was rebuilt and converted into a promenade, the current promenade of the Malecón. The expansion motivated the human settlement on the right bank of the Segura to take hold; the well-known neighborhood of Carmen, where avenues and a square plaza with functions of a bullring were designed, the current Plaza de Camachos.

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