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Prehistoric remains from the Paleolithic (La Calera), Neolithic (Cortijo de Amelia) and even Argaric have been found in the area. However, there are more references and remains from the period of Roman occupation due to the local lead and silver mines which worked at full capacity until the late fourth century. (Remains of the Roman road at Hornillo may still be seen). The remains of a watchtower, dating back to the Muslim period, stands near the town.

La Carolina, which eventually became the capital of the New Towns, was built around a Carmelite convent called "Peñuela". The new settlement was also known as “La Peñuela” until its name was changed to “La Carolina” in honor of King Carlos III. The convent, which was founded in 1573 and refounded in seventeenth century, was frequently visited by Saint John of the Cross. Pablo de Olavide acquired the convent to be used as the headquarters of his Administration.

The “New Towns in Sierra Morena Project”, by means of which the present town of La Carolina was created, was one of the largest reform projects in the history of Spain. It was a development project that envisaged the creation of forty-four towns and eleven cities on the barren plains of La Parrilla and in Sierra Morena. The aim of the project was to rid the country of bandits, make better use of the land, generate wealth and establish some ten thousand foreign settlers in the area.This in turn ensured that the road from Madrid to Cadiz, which carried almost all the freight traffic and riches from the New World, would be kept safe.

The first settlers were brought by the Bavarian adventurer Thürrieguel in 1767. They came from different parts of central Europe and suffered numerous difficulties and disappointments. Nevertheless, the colonization project, designed by Pablo de Olavide, was gradually becoming a reality and by 1770 construction work on La Carolina was completed.

The fact that La Carolina was the capital of the New Towns had its implications in terms of production and economic development. Olavide himself focused his efforts on La Carolina becoming one of the most industrious and active centres in the reign of Carlos III.
By 1775 there were factories producing cloth, silk, robes and coats, a pottery factory, two milliners etc. This industrialization process was accompanied, in the last quarter of the eighteenth century, by a resurgence of mining in the area which came to its height in the first two and a half decades of the twentieth century.
This splendid period for the mining industry was characterized primarily by the low participation of Andalusian capital and the strong presence of foreign capital in the larger mining companies. There was a marked rise in population growth, to the point that by the late nineteenth century the number of inhabitants had increased fivefold over the first years of the century.

In 1925 a slow decline, made worse by the Spanish Civil War, began and continued until the 60´s. It was then that the process of demographic recovery and industrial revival began. This process, having been intensified in recent years, continues to the present day.

La Carolina is considered the best and most complete example of Spanish urban planning from the time of the Enlightenment. It was built on a grid-system, with spaceous avenues and is dotted with public squares in a variety of geometric forms; circular, rectangular, octagonal etc.The rationale of the project is enhanced by the stylistic uniformity of its facades, with front gardens that give width and perspectives. A blueprint ahead of its time, La Carolina incorporated all the resources and advances of baroque and neoclassical town planning.


Mapa de La Carolina


b2b La Carolina

Sello 1- Color

Plaza del Ayuntamiento 1, 23200 La Carolina
Telf.: +34 953 66 19 59 / +34 953 68 17 41
Fax: +34 953 66 02 55


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