History of the Town of Caracena

© Fernando Carace 2017

Location of The Town of Caracena

The town of Caracena is located along an ancient route out of northern Spain in the Duero River drainage in Soria, which leads over the Guadarrama mountains toward the side of Madirid. [See "Views of the town of Caracena."] This route features an ancient Celt-Iberian Castro (or fort). This is the path that Spain's famous hero, El Cid, took when he was exiled from the kingdom of Castile and Leon.

A castro is a fortified settlement, usually pre-Roman, some from late Bronze Age and Iron Age, the oldest research associated with the Celtic culture. These are frequently found in the Northern Spain, particularly in Asturias, Galicia, Cantabria, Basque Country and the province of Ávila, with the Castro culture and on the plateau with Las Cogotas culture.

Regarding the names Soria and Duero, the following appears in Wikipedia: “the name Soria may have its origin in the word dauria from the river Durius (Duero).” Further, “The area of Soria was inhabited by the Iberians, who merged with the Celts to form the Celtiberians around the 4th century BC.”

Los Godos

As the Roman Empire began to crumble, groups of western Germanic tribes (the Goths) began to overrun portions of the empire during what is known as the Migration Period. Three of these, the Vandals, Alans and Sueves invaded Iberia—see this article. The Suebi tribe occupied what is now called Galicia, amd an area that extended into the Duero river drainage, from which they were displaced westward by the Visigoths.

An article in Wikipedia about the Visigoths  states that “The Visigoths emerged from earlier Gothic groups (possibly the Thervingi)[4] who had invaded the Roman Empire beginning in 376 and had defeated the Romans at the Battle of Adrianople in 378.” The Wikipedia article continues with the following statements:

The Visigoths invaded Italy under Alaric I and sacked Rome in 410. After the Visigoths sacked Rome, they began settling down, first in southern Gaul and eventually in Spain and Portugal, where they founded the Visigothic Kingdom and maintained a presence from the 5th to the 8th centuries AD.

The Visigoths extended their rule from France into the Iberian Peninsula, then known as Hispania, where they drove out the other Germanic tribes that had preceded them, into north Africa.

The result of the migration of Germanic tribes is that almost all of Europe is a blend of local peoples with Germanic people. This includes the Spanish and Portuguese.

Northern Spain became the stronghold of the more Germanic population the population to the south remaining more Hispano-Roman accoding to a Britannica article on Iberia:

Despite the collapse of imperial rule in Spain, Roman influence remained strong. The majority of the population, probably about six million, were Hispano-Romans, as compared with 200,000 barbarians.

Although Romanized the Visigoths did not generally merge with the Hispano-Roman population to the south. "[S]ignificant legal, cultural, social, and religious differences kept them apart from the Hispano-Roman population."

Los Moros

In 711 the Moors invaded Iberia, renaming the Visigothic Christian Hispania, Al-Andalus . This invasion was part of one that included SW France (Septimania) and portions of Italy. This invasion was stopped in France by Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours on 10 October 732, who commanded Frankish and Burgundian forces.

Th Moors were able to conquer most of Iberia in a short period of time, being stopped by a defeat in 722 AD at the mountain passes of the Cantabrian Mountains in Asturias at the Battle of Covadonga.

The above cited article on Iberia in the Britannica describes the events leading up to the decisive battle:

 Soon after the Islamic invasion, fleeing Visigothic nobles and the mountaineers of Asturias united under the leadership of Pelayo (718–737), a Gothic lord, in opposition to the Muslim forces. Later generations acclaimed Pelayo’s victory over the Muslims at Covadonga, about 718, as the beginning of the Reconquista and the “salvation of Spain. [Subequently, ] Alfonso I (739–757) expanded the Asturian kingdom by occupying Galicia after the withdrawal of rebellious Imazighen garrisoned there. He also created an uninhabited no-man’s-land between Christian and Islamic Spain by devastating the Duero River valley to the south.”

The Town of Caracena was situated in this uninhabited no-man's-land, at times taken over by the Moors and at other times taken over by Christians. The above cited article on Iberia goes on to describe what happened in the land of the Duero, which affected the town of Caracena:

In the late 9th century Alfonso III (866–910) ... initiated the repopulation of the lands reaching southward to the Duero that had been deserted for about a century. His construction of numerous castles to defend his eastern frontier against Muslim assaults gave that area its distinctive character and thus its name, Castile.



This entry was posted in Caracena, History. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *