The historical origins of Alcanar are situated in the Iberian village of Ilercavón de la Moleta del Remei (VII-II centuries), whose population previously descended from the Roman era: proof of this lies in the discovery of remains of a town and other evidence near to the town centre of Alcanar.
The vocabulary, place names, clothing and the most traditional farming techniques in Alcanar, all conserve abundant traces of the five centuries of Islamic presence: from the beginning of the eighth century until 1148 (when Tortosa was conquered by the Catalan Count Ramon Berenguer IV), the town boundaries of Alcanar housed a group of farmsteads, (whose names are well-known thanks to a document donated by Ramon Berenguer III "el Grande" in the summer of 1097), and which were inhabited by both aboriginal Iberian-Roman populations and Berber clans, at that time crop irrigation experienced an unprecedented boost.
After being an insecure and inhospitable "border land" in the horseback years of the eventful XII and XIII centuries, and having failed in the attempt to repopulate with the Town Papers on 28 February 1239 (conceded by Hug de Folcalquer, Master of the knights of Hospital de San Juan de Jerusalem), the donation on 11 May 1252 was finally successful, and Alcanar was converted into a new "lloc" (place) for the booming Catalan-Aragonese confederation.
WALLS AND DEFENSE TOWERS
During the following centuries, the primitive centre of Alcanar was walled (the Carrer Nou Tower still survives, it is one of the corners of the renaissance wall), and rising up from along its coastline are a series of defense towers against the attack of pirates from Turkey, Algeria, Genoa… Sant Pere Tower (later called San Felipe Tower), one of the most strategically important for defending the village, became the cradle of a new village centre dedicated to fishing and cabotage sailing: Les Cases d'Alcanar.
In spite of being officially situated in the Bourbon camp during the War of Spanish Succession (1705 - 1714), Alcanar hardly took advantage of it. A century later, apart from military disruption, the War of Independence caused considerable social unrest, which was to be the origin of the postition adopted by the inhabitants of the village in the successive Carlist Wars in the XIX century.
A couple of decades after the last civil war (1936 - 1939), with the expansion of irrigation, citrus crops and their nurseries, Alcanar experienced large economic growth, thanks to putting their utmost into monoculture, which was very profitable at the time; and whose future is now being reconsidered.