Battle of Los Alporchones
|Battle of Los Alporchones|
|Part of the Spanish Reconquista|
The church of St. Patrick in Lorca named thus because of the date the battle was fought on.
| Kingdom of Castile
Kingdom of Murcia
|Emirate of Granada|
|Commanders and leaders|
| John II of Castile
Alonso Fajardo el Bravo
| Muhammed IX de Granada
Malik ibn al-Abbas
1,700-2,000 Foot Soldiers
|Casualties and losses|
|Part of a series on the|
|History of Spain|
The Battle of Los Alporchones was a battle of the Spanish Reconquista that occurred on 17 March 1452. The battle was fought between the troops of the Emirate of Granada and the combined forces of the Kingdom of Castile and its client kingdom, the Kingdom of Murcia. The Moorish army was commanded by Malik ibn al-Abbas  and the Castilian troops were commanded by Alonso Fajardo el Bravo, the head of the House of Fajardo and the Alcaide of Lorca Castle. The battle was fought in the area around the city of Lorca and resulted in a victory for the Kingdom of Castile.
After the successful recapturing of the Throne of Granada from his uncle, the Sultan Muhammed X in 1447, Muhammed IX continued his bellicose policies with regards to the Kingdom of Castile. His predecessor (Muhammad X) had managed to retake a few frontier towns from the Kingdom of Murcia through regular raids or Razzis which had become very feared by the Christian population of the region. Most of these incursions into Christian territory were taking advantage of the fact that the contemporary ruling family of the Kingdom of Murcia, the House of Fajardo was preoccupied with internal squabbles. The most successful of these incursions resulted in the sacking and capturing of the town of Cieza followed closely by a much celebrated Muslim victory at the Battle of Hellín, both of which occurred in 1448.
The continued incursions by the Emirate of Granada into Murcia obliged the Castilian monarch, John II of Castile to ask for a truce in 1450 in order to be able to better concentrate his own forces in a separate war against Juan Pacheco, the Marquis of Villena. Muhammad IX refused the truce offer in a bid to take full advantage of the disunity amongst the Castilian nobility. The following year, in 1451, the Granadan Sultan launched a fresh incursion into the Kingdom of Murcia which brought back much plunder to Granada's coffers. Between 1451 and 1452, Muhammad IX planned a large scale Algara (Arabic for incursion: الغارة) against the area of Campo de Cartagena. This incursion resulted in the capture of 40,000 heads of cattle and around 40 prisoners, mostly pastors.
The immensity of this incursion forced the Christians of Castile to put aside their internal squabbles and form a united front against the Kingdom of Granada. The Alcaide of Lorca Castle, Alonso Fajardo, nicknamed el Bravo (English: The Brave) sent his heralds to various towns within the Kingdom of Murcia to gain support for a counter campaign. They managed to gather an army peopled with soldiers from Aledo, Caravaca de la Cruz, and Murcia totaling around 300 knights and 2,000 infantry soldiers. Fajardo's army made camp in a field outside of Lorca called Los Alporchones in the full knowledge that the Granadan army would have to pass through the area when returning from their pillaging expedition.
On 17 March 1452, the Moorish army finally arrived at Los Alporchones and an action was fought between the two parties. The Castilian attack came initially as a surprise and the Christian forces were able to get an early advantage over the Granadan army. The Castilian army was nearly immediately victorious, however the Granadan commander, Malik ibn al-Abbas who was renowned for his courage and competence, succeeded in reforming his line twice during the engagement. The chronicles recount that the Alcaide, Alonso Fajardo, arriving to the conclusion that the fight could go either way, decided to enter into single combat with the enemy captain. The pair fought until Fajardo managed to unhourse al-Abbas, taking him prisoner.
The capture of the Granadan captain broke the morale of the Muslim army who were routed from the field. They were pursued by the Castilian forces all the way to Vera in the Province of Almería where it is mentioned that only 300 managed to escape. The Granadan casualties were very high with around 400 captured, whilst the Castilian castualties were around 40 dead and 200 wounded.
The battle had many lasting consequences. Incursions into the territory of the Kingdom of Murcia stopped all together as the Kingdom of Granada asked for a five year truce. Future conflicts would remain on Granadan territory until the Granada War. The prestige of Lorca and in particular the House of Fajardo rose significantly. It was one of the branches of this noble house that would eventually go on to form the powerful House of los Vélez.
In homage to St Patrick of Ireland, whose saint's day is celebrated on 17 March, the same day as the battle, he was named the patron saint of the city of Murcia. A church was built in Lorca which would later house the Colegiata de San Patricio
Malik ibn al-Abbas was executed by his captors shortly after the battle whilst the victory, Alonso Fajardo el Bravo would go on to be slain in a battle in Caravaca de la Cruz against soldiers under the command of his cousin, Pedro Fajardo, the Adelantado in the service of Henry IV of Castile.
The battle, as many battles of the Reconquista, was the subject of poetical works. The following Spanish language text is an excerpt from the beginning of a short poem describing the events of the battle. Of note, the Arabic names have all been used with their Spanish equivalents, the names that they would have been known by to their Spanish enemies. For example, Malik ibn al-Abbas was known as Alabez de Vera.
Allá en Granada la rica
instrumentos oí tocar en la calle Gomeles, a la puerta de Abidvar, el cual es moro valiente y muy fuerte capitán. Manda juntar muchos moros bien diestros en pelear, porque en el Campo de Lorca se determinan de entrar; con él salen tres alcaides aquí los quiero nombrar: Almoradí de Guadix, éste es de sangre real; Abenaciz es el otro, y de Baza natural; y de Vera es Alabez de esfuerzo muy singular, y en cualquier guerra su gentebien la sabe acaudillar
- Soriano, Antonio (13 March 2011). "Los Alporchones, una Gran Batalla Medieval". La Verdad.
- Hita, Ginés Pérez de (1610). Historia de los Vandos de los Zegries y Abencerrages Cavalleros Moros de Granada, de las Ciuiles Guerras Que Vuo en Ella, y Batallas Particulares que Vuo en la Vega Entre Moros y Christianos, Hasta Que el Rey don Fernando Quinto la Ganò (in Spanish). Emprenta de Sebastian Mateuad y Lorenço Déu, a costa de Raphael Vives, in the Library of Catalonia. pp. 8–15. ISBN 978-84-338-2569-8
- (sometimes referred to as Malik ibn Alabez or Alabez de Vera)
- Molina Molina, A. Luis; Torres Fontes, Juan (1981). "Un Reino de Frontera". Historia de la Región Murciana. Volume IV. Ediciones Mediterráneo. pp. 14–15. ISBN 84-858-5601-5.
- "Historia de Lorca- E. M. Cristiana". Región de Murcia Digital.
- Martínez, T. (29 April 2008). "Alonso Fajardo, 'El Bravo'". La Verdad.
Hita, Ginés Pérez de (1610). Historia de los Vandos de los Zegries y Abencerrages Cavalleros Moros de Granada, de las Ciuiles Guerras Que Vuo en Ella, y Batallas Particulares que Vuo en la Vega Entre Moros y Christianos, Hasta Que el Rey don Fernando Quinto la Ganò (in Spanish). Emprenta de Sebastian Mateuad y Lorenço Déu, a costa de Raphael Vives, in the Library of Catalonia. pp. 8–15. ISBN 978-84-338-2569-8. Retrieved 25 March 2013
Delgado, Santiago (1990). "Relación Apócrifa de la Famosa Batalla de los Alporchones (English: Apocryphan Revelations of the Famous Battle of Los Alporchones)". Monteagudo: Revista de Literatura Española, Hispanoamericana y Teoría de la Literatura (in Spanish) (Murcia: Universidad de Murcia) (8): 69–73. ISSN 0580-6712. Retrieved 20 March 2013