Olvera’s history is full of unknowns and question marks, it being for some the HIPPA OR HIPPO NOVA that Plinio mentioned in his records and for others, a Roman Mansion, ILIPULA MINOR on the route from Cadiz to Córdoba.
Olvera is also mentioned in the Roman and Visigoth times as well as in Muslim chronicles where it appears as a frontier enclave in the Muslim controlled “seranía” or mountainous region (WUBIRA O URIWILA).
The Christian conquest was planned in Seville, forming part of a strategy to advance towards the Straits of Gibraltar to block the Muslim entry points. In one of the first expeditions, the Christians lost the Seville Standard, which flew in the Olvera castle.
The Olvera garrison couldn’t resist the last Christian blockade helped by machines and warlike ingenuity that terrorised the Moors.
Troops of King Alfonso XI first occupied the Olvera fortress in 1327.
After the surrender negotiations, Ibrahim-ibn-Utman had ensured that the integrity of the Moorish garrison was respected and that every one of its inhabitants could keep their homes and possessions.
With the village under Christian control, they started to organise a way to populate it. This was done through the “Carta de Población” which was officially agreed to on the 1 August of the same year, 1327.
The “Carta de Población” freed people from debt, the threat of prison even for the most serious of crimes, if they would stay in the village for one year and a day. It was a way of attracting people to populate the village being trialled first in Olvera, and then across the whole “frontera” frontier.
In the middle of the 14th Century and after the continuous attacks from the Muslims, the village became part of Don Alfonso Perez e Guzman’s estate. In 1395, Perez de Guzman agreed to the marriage of his daughter to the son of the Stuniga (or Zuniga) family promising as a dowry, the village of Olvera. In 1407 control of the Olvera estate was passed over to the Stuniga family.
Later it was sold to the Téllez Girón who later became Los Duques de Osuna, they would be the owners of the village until the 19th Century.
When Olvera returned to normality after 1484, the Olvereños gave examples of their initiative. One of those was Nicolás de Ribera “el viejo” (the Old one), born in Olvera in 1487. He took part in many important events during the conquest of Peru. In 1535 he was made first Mayor of Lima.
Olvera started the 18th Century with problems as a result of the French occupation of the Peninsula. Olvera was to be the headquarters of a detachment of Napoleonic troops that would be constantly harassed by groups of guerrillas organized from within the village and its surrounding area until the French retreat in 1812. The century advanced and some of the most important episodes in Spanish history were reflected in Olvera, such as the revolution of September 1868, known as “La Gloriosa” (The Glory). After the short republican experience, the return of the Monarchy meant the village was granted city status, the title being granted by Alfonso XII in a Royal Decree dated 8th of May 1877.
During the years of the Dictator Primo de Rivera there was an economical breathing space for the citizens of Olvera who benefited from the work on the Jerez-Almargen Railway that ran from East to West of it’s municipal boundary. The project was never finished.
Currently and after overcoming the difficulties of the first decades of the 20th Century, Olvera continues to dedicate itself to agriculture, forest development and farming, activities that have been complemented more and more by the growth of tourism in the city and its surrounding area, such as the agricultural cooperative.
Famous People from History:
Nicolas de Ribera, “El Viejo” (Olvera (Cádiz) 1487 – Lima 1563) was a Spanish conqueror and first Mayor of the city of Lima. The “El Viejo” (Old One) nickname was in response to his long stay in Lima, he arrived with Francisco Pizarro and lived there for almost 30 years. Trusted by Pizarro, Nicolas de Ribera was not involved in the incidents of Cajamarca. He had recently arrived in Peru along with Diego de Almagro in 1533. He was the first Mayor of the city of Lime (1535) and held the post again in 1544, 1546, 1549 and 1554. He died in 1563.
Hernando de Luque (died in 1532) was a Spanish priest, who took part alongside Francisco Pizarro and Diego de Almagro in the conquest of Peru. He was born in the second half of the 15th Century in Olvera (Cádiz). He went to Darien in 1514, accompanying Bishop Juan de Quevedo, with the fleet of the Governor Pedro Arias Davila and was prolific in the new Panamanian colonial society. He was named headmaster of the cathedral and provider of the Diosese of Santa Maria la Antigua del Darien. After Panama City was founded, he became its curate and parish priest.
Assigned by the Governor, he actively took part in the first relocation of Indians in Panamá. In 1522, Luque welcomed 70 Indians into the Perequete chiefdom. Two years later he got together with Francisco Pizarro and Diego de Almagro with the aim of organizing an expedition to retrace the footsteps of Pascual Andagova in search of Perú.
According to the agreed plan, Luque would be in charge of the administrative part of the expedition, Pizarro an advance party and Almago prepared a ship with provisions and emergency supplies. Following the surrender of Toledo on 26th July 1529, signed by Pizarro together with the Emperor Carlos V (Carlos I of Spain), Hernando de Luque requested the bishop’s office in Túmbez that he be made Protector General of the Indians. He fulfilled this government role for 12 years prior to his death in 1533.