HISTORY OF SPAINS TORREVIEJA SALT LAKES
The Acequión. In the fourteenth century, the lagoon that today the Torrevieja salt flats occupy had been donated to the city of Orihuela, although the benefit that the Oriolano council obtained was nil, since the production, exploitation and sale of salt could only be carried out by the Crown, for having established a monopoly by which only the Royal Treasury could negotiate with it.
In the year 1389, in the Cortes de Monzón, Juan I of Aragón authorized Orihuela the construction of a channel that he had requested, causing it to communicate the lagoon with the sea, in order to clarify the waters and, as it has less saline graduation, it could be used as a “fish farm” even in the summer months when its salinity increased, becoming a lagoon, although it only produced disappointment and fruitless expenses. More financial than technical difficulties forced the project to be postponed until 1439 when, carefully studied, it was agreed to open the canal in accordance with the chapters approved by the corporation. The scarcity of available resources imposed a new postponement. Almost half a century had passed, when in 1482 the company was approached until, when the funds were exhausted, it was necessary to resort to different loans. As the funds collected were insufficient, he had to resort to the alienation of a part of the old almudí – grain warehouse – located in the street of the Orihuela Fair.
In 1503 strong easterly winds caused serious damage to the recently completed canal. Once again the lagoon was isolated from the sea. Since the fish was necessary for the livelihood of Orihuela, the city council offered to give the lease of the lagoon free for twenty-five years on condition of rebuilding the canal. Anrich Masquefa and Pere Gómez Daroca promised to do so, but their efforts were unsuccessful. The works had to be completed on behalf of the city of Orihuela in 1509. The total length of the canal turned out to be 1,684 varas (approximately 1,300 meters). The council prohibited outsiders from slaughtering and fixed the price of the merchandise at four monies, the gross sin of less than three in pound.The Torrevieja lagoon – known then by the Orihuela lagoon – disappointed the hope of the councilors. The maintenance expenses absorbed the profits, harmed the neighboring salt flats of La Mata – below its level – and the waters, poorly communicated with the sea, were too healthy for the life of the fish. Orihuela stopped paying attention to him, so the channel was soon blinded. The Oriolano historian Francisco Martínez de Paterna emphasizes that in the times of Emperor Carlos I the lagoon was lost “due to the lack of diligence that those from Orihuela had of their big mouth through which the sea water enters it.
” In 1578, a year of exceptional aridity, it completely dried up and the last fish perished. When Martínez Paterna wrote – year 1632 – the old lagoon offered the biblical semblance of an enormous natural salt mine in the middle of a fertile field. The case of the Torrevieja lagoon is one more example of the climate change suffered by the Mediterranean world in the 16th century.
In 1590, the Orihuela Council observed that the conservation costs of the lagoon were higher than the products and cut off the water communication. He still tried again after the creation of the lagoon, but had the same results and had to abandon the project. According to the Orihuela Municipal Archive, this project was suspended until 1721, which made the last attempt to reopen the canal so that it communicated with the sea and thus be able to hold the fish, and on January 29, 1723 they leased it for four years for fishing, paying 100 pesos per year.It was a total failure because the transformation of the saline lagoon into a lagoon greatly affected the fields that surrounded it, as explained in the minutes of the session held by the Orihuela town hall on November 14, 1739.
On September 30, 1758, an order was issued by the government of S. M. sending the municipality of Orihuela to update the Torrevieja lagoon; But the city council, which knew from experience the inconvenience of the project and the damage suffered by the lands bordering the lagoon and that the previous floods from the sea had sterilized by widening the circle of the salt farm, far from fulfilling the royal mandate, respectfully begged its revocation. The government insisted, and as the owners of the lands that were being exalted, also insisted on their complaints and claims, the Orihuela city council not wanting to remain any longer among such conflicting interests, seeing the scarce product that the lagoon then provided by agreement of December 22, 1758, it ceded the salt flats to the Crown, and by order issued by the Count of Valparaíso, it was incorporated into it on July 12, 1759.
Those who governed the Royal Treasury considered that all those who had tried to exploit the lagoon as a lagoon they must have been memos who did not know what they were up to and wanted to prove themselves to be very superior technicians; For this, in that year the general administrator of the salinas of the kingdom of Valencia, Manuel Ceballos, was ordered to try again to put the lagoon into operation and, as in previous times, the degree of salinity prevented the survival of the fish, being the The same general administrator who ordered to put the Torrevieja lagoon in conditions for the manufacture of salt, since being larger than that of La Mata, they had to produce and yield more.
In 1766, while Antonio Parra was the administrator of the Salinas de La Mata, he ordered the manufacture of heaps of curdled salt by trial route in the Torrevieja lagoon, providing good quality and excellent quality. The event works both in the lagoon and in the incipient population began in Torrevieja, building an administration house, housing for the employees and the salt eras. In 1770 the boundaries were undertaken, which were also intended to indicate the lands that were to form the uncultivated area around the lagoon.
Torrevieja Salt Station
Torrevieja had a railway line that was used to move the salt it was introduced to the city in 1884. It finally disappeared, along with its station, in the late 1970’s
Lagunas de la Mata y Torrevieja Natural Park, Salt Lakes
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