On the Castle Hill of Alange is the best known village of the Extremeñan Bronze Age. Located on a visually dominant point, with good land and abundance of water, it formed a terraced hillside habitat known culturally linked to the “Bronze of the Southwest”. Its residents there developed an agricultural economy based largely on the cultivation of cereals.
In this connection, in 2005 a spectacular building of more than 19 by 6 meters was discovered, mounted on a terrace and interpreted as a large store of wheat (based on the huge amount of charred seeds appearing inside). This finding, dated to around 3,300 years ago, lets us infer integration and redistribution activities quite possibly managed by a “headquarters”.
Archaeological surveys have indicated human presence in these lands in the Lower Paleolithic period. From Middle Paleolithic times there was continuous settlement in the area, the first population able to be placed chronologically in the Bronze Age, a small fortified town under the remains of a village on the southern slope of the Castle Hill. The existence of this pre-Roman settlement has been confirmed by the appearance of several gold objects belonging to this period.
In the Roman period, the village of Alange was defined and empowered by the benefits of its medicinal waters, the origins of its magnificent thermal baths at first, and then its spa. At that time, there was only the thermal complex with some peripheral installations forming a residential facility for accommodation. Certain architectural findings also confirm the existence of a small cemetery where the deceased were buried, and a small temple.
Under Arab rule, an epoch that is manifested in the remains of the castle, Alange played an important role in fight of the mozárabe rebels against the central power of Córdoba, occupying as it did an obligatory point of passage on the way from the capital to Badajoz.
The castle was taken by the Christians in 1234 and inhabited until the end of the 15th century, in which era it was abandoned.
At the beginning of the 14th century Alange was entrusted to the Order of Santiago in the hands of which, a “Command” was constituted jurisdictionally belonging to the province of León. The hierarchical scope of the castle comprised Villagonzalo, La Zarza, Oliva de Mérida, Palomas, Puebla de la Reina, Puebla del Prior and Ribera del Fresno, whose tithes were delivered to the convent of San Marcos de León, through its administrator in Mérida.
In 1566 Felipe II granted the town of Alange the Privilege of First Level Court. In 1588 the King granted civil and criminal jurisdiction of First Level to Villagonzalo and a year later to La Zarza (until recently called la Zarza de Alange), which signified their independence from Alange.
Thereafter, Alange lost its historical prominence until the end of the 18th century when the baths (abandoned after the Roman occupation) were restored and put to use again.
In 1819 the Command of Alange passed to the Order of Calatrava, through a document issued by Fernando VII and endorsed by Pope Pius VII.
We will make a brief chronological journey through the history of Alange, while we point out the heritage points of interest.