The name Alcántara comes from the Muslim invasion, which denominated to this locality like “Al-qantarat”, that in Arabic means “The Bridge”, in reference to the Roman bridge.
The definitive reconquest of Alcántara takes place in 1218 by Alfonso IX of Leon, yielding its defense to the Order of Calatrava, and of this to the Order of Pereiro, that would change its definitive name by the one of Order of Alcántara.
The Order of Alcántara is one of the four great military religious orders arisen in the time of the reconquest. The other three great Orders would be those of Santiago, Calatrava and Montesa. The location of the Order in the locality gave to Alcántara great importance during the reconquest and the advance by Christians, but also it turned it into an area of conflicts.
During centuries XVII to XIX it continues being an important strategic enclave in the conflicts between Castile and Portugal and the War of the Independence against the Napoleonic invasion.