Alcala la Real is a municipality that belongs to the province of Jaen, with the particularity that it shares municipal district limitis with Granada and Cordoba. So its territory is connected with three of the eight provinces of Andalusia (Spain). This geographical location had a big influence on its history, mainly in Middle Ages when this area was an important boundary with the Granada Muslim Kingdom.
Its impressive fortress located on the hill called La Mota has been the main witness of Spanish history namely the Reconquest, which culminated in 1492 with the taking of Granada. This castle is the most emblematic place of the town.
According to the municipal census of 2016, the township has 21.758 inhabitants. A third of these people live in small villages that surround the urban area which lie at a distance of between 3 and 16 kms. The smallest of these villages has about thirty inhabitants while in the biggest one there are probably nearly a thousand people.
A century ago, the distribution of rural and urban populations was just the opposite of how it is nowadays. Then, only a third of the population lived in the urban area, while most people lived in rural areas where they could find a better way to make their living.
The names of these small villages are: Santa Ana, Ribera Alta, Ribera Baja, Charilla, Ermita Nueva, Mures, Villalobos, Pedriza, Rábita, San José de la Rábita, Venta de Agramaderos, Las Grageras, La Hortichuela, Las Peñas de Majarcorón, Fuente Alamo y Caserías de San Isidro.
The main economic activities in the area are the cultivation of olive groves and livestock breeding, mostly goats and sheep. Nevertheless, the industry of plastic products as well as commercial and tertiary sectors have continuously increased in the last decades.
In terms of health services, at present, Alcalá la Real has two health centres for primary health assistance and a High Resolution Hospital (ARE) in its urban area. In most of the small villages there is a small medical centre which offers the services of a doctor and a nurse in each of them. There are also several private medical centers with physiotherapists, labs, x-rays, scans and other diagnostic tests.
To complete the description of health services available to Alcala la Real inhabitants, we have to mention those offered in Granada city, where the hospital area to which Alcala la Real belongs is located. At a forty minute drive, people from Alcalá have the services of four big hospitals.
However, as you can imagine, this health assistance was not always like it is today. In fact, in the twentieth century, which is the period of our research, health services were very different.
This blog is focused on studying health assistance in Alcalá la Real in the last century, but also illnesses and health problems in its inhabitants. We will share information about health services and professionals as well as data about adult and child mortality, infectious diseases, immunization and so on and so forth.