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Newly renovated 91 m2 apartment in Torrevieja’s first beach line Playa Del Cura. It has south facing position and consists of spacious living room...
While most of the towns begin to settle in fertile valleys or mountains, near rivers or ports, Torrevieja has its reason for being thanks to the two salty lagoons and the tower from which it took its name.
In 1320 the Torre de la Mata was rebuilt, then called Turris de las Salinas de la Mata, under the reign of Don Jaime II. This is raised on the ruins of another existing one, probably of Roman origin. At this same time, the Cabo Serven or Cabo Cervera Tower, popularly known as Torre del Moro, is rebuilt.
The purpose of these towers was to serve as a shelter for a detachment that guarded the coast in prevention of possible attacks by corsairs or Berber pirates.
In order to decrease the concentration of salt in the lagoon then called Orihuela (today Torrevieja), the king of Aragon, Don Fernando el Católico in 1482, ordered the construction of a communication channel between the lagoon and the sea. This canal or canal is known in Torrevieja as the “Acequión”.
In 1767 the botanist Antonio Cavanilles, in his geographical study of the Kingdom of Valencia, found what could be the first written document of the existence of Torrevieja as an urban settlement. The document reads as follows: “Adjacent to Cape Cervera, looking southwest, a town called Torre-Vieja has been forming, where twenty-five years ago, there were three families, and currently (1792) 106 families occupied almost all in the various tasks of the salt flats that we are going to describe. “
In 1772, as for several years, the lagoon called Guardamar, (currently de la Mata) was dedicated to the extraction of salt, concentrated in its surroundings a small population center formed by the day laborers of the mentioned Salinas and the soldiers of the Tower . The religious attention to these inhabitants allowed the construction of the parish of Nuestra Señora del Rosario.
Due to the excellent quality of the salt that appeared in the Orihuela lagoon (Torrevieja), in 1776, shipments of this product began to be made at the Torre-Viexa or Torrevigía, which was the closest point to the Salinas and what better natural conditions met.
In 1777, work began on a small jetty in the vicinity of Torrevieja and a Sales deposit (Eras de la Sal). The delimitation of an own municipal term is decreed, by royal order, by segregation of Orihuela. The existing population at that time was approximately 400 inhabitants.
The population in Torrevieja in 1789 exceeded 500 inhabitants and the construction of a hermitage became necessary. Carlos IV authorized the construction of the same that, subsidiary of the parish of La Mata and provided with a vicar, was consecrated on May 21 by the Bishop of Orihuela, Don José Tormo.
In 1802 by royal order of Carlos IV, the offices of Salinas de la Mata were transferred to Torrevieja. A short time later, the drawing up of a construction plan for the town along with the existing one was approved, when in fact the number of inhabitants was approximately 1,500.
In 1805 the first commercial dock in Torrevieja was built, thus managing to ship the products from the Vega Baja orchard to different points on the Spanish coast. The name of this pier was Mínguez, being also known as del Turbio.
Don Manuel Godoy, Minister of King Carlos IV, in 1806, due to the maritime movement that existed in the town, ordered to build a customs office in Torrevieja.
Construction of the temple of the Immaculate Conception begins, as a consequence of the fact that the bishop of Orihuela ordered that the parish move to Torrevieja and the church of La Mata stay with the vicarage of the latter.
In 1810, due to a yellow fever epidemic that was declared in Cartagena, the 30 deputies of Levante and their families had to suspend their trip from this city to Cádiz, where they had to attend the Cortes, having to take refuge in Torrevieja for 27 days.
The earthquakes of March 21 and April 18, 1829, completely devastated the city. Fernando VII ordered Torrevieja to be rebuilt according to the plans drawn up by the engineer Don José Agustín de Larramendi.
In 1867 the Numancia Casino was founded, which would become, in 1882, the Torrevieja Casino Cultural Society. That year, the railway line of the Compañía de Andaluces Alicante-Murcia, on which the Torrevieja-Albatera branch depends, was inaugurated, with assistance to the act of the Head of Government, Mr. Antonio Cánovas del Castillo.
In 1898, as a consequence of a modernization plan for Las Salinas, a railway line was built from the Torrevieja-Albatera branch to Las Salinas and another, narrow-gauge line, from these to the pier. This second aspect involved the elimination of the transport of salt by means of cars.
In 1931 for its recent development in agriculture, industry and commerce, S.M.D. Alfonso XIII, grants Torrevieja, by Royal Decree No. 571, the title of City.
Due to a political revolt of the several that took place in 1936, the Parish Church of the Immaculate Conception was burned down. The fire was total, and only the walls were left standing.
In 1937 the Ministry of Finance rescinded the Salinas lease contract to the company Unión Salinera Española, which became dependent on the General Directorate of Properties and Territorial Contribution, corresponding to the suppression of the mayor of Torrevieja, assisted by the Unions, and to the Civil Governor of Alicante.
From September 26 to December 9, 1939, Don Joaquín Chapaprieta Torregrosa from Torrevieja was President of the Government of the Second Republic.
In 1952, the new modernization of the Salinas involved the construction by the State of the Poniente dam and the Muelle de la Sal. The works were completed in 1958.
In 1953 an order from the Ministry of Finance was published, which provides that areas of land belonging to the municipalities of Almoradí, Guardamar del Segura, Rojales and Orihuela, are added to the municipality of Torrevieja.
The Torrevieja City Council, in 1997, chaired by its mayor Don Pedro Hernández Mateo, signed the deed by which the municipality of Torrevieja became the owner of the historic Eras de la Sal.
In 1999 Torrevieja is named head of the Judicial Party nº13 of the Province of Alicante. Its jurisdiction includes the municipalities of Guardamar del Segura, Rojales, Los Montesinos, Benijófar, San Miguel de Salinas and Torrevieja.
Torrevieja’s history is linked to that of the salt mines, which for centuries past reported many benefits to the Crown. The King could grant thanks and favors to his allies as a gift in perpetuity, although with the absolute prohibition that they ceded them to individuals. The salt flats of La Mata and Torrevieja were considered as Royal Preserves, traditionally belonging to the Crown.
On January 11, 1273, a Privilege of Alfonso X authorizes all those who are resident in the City of Orihuela to take salt for their consumption from the major salt flats that are in their term, that is, from the Torrevieja salt flats. Forty-eight years later, in 1321, it was the Infante D. Sancho, son of Alfonso XI, who granted the Salinas de Torrevieja in perpetuity to the Council of Orihuela, with the exception of those of La Mata. The donation prohibited the sale of said salinas, the commitment or change thereof and financially punished anyone who dared to go against this donation, having to compensate the Council for all damages it suffered for this reason.
In the middle of the 14th century, the La Mata salt flats, which continued to be a royal prerogative, were promised by Pedro I, the Castilian monarch, to his Genoese allies in exchange for naval aid against Aragon. In 1364 Pedro IV the Ceremonious, thanking the Council of Orihuela for the defense of the town as an ally of the Crown of Aragon and his appointment as lord of it, grants him various privileges such as the incorporation of Orihuela to the Crown of Aragon, the exemption payment of 15,000 pounds of rent and a perpetual donation of the La Mata salt flats.
1389-1759 Torrevieja lagoon as a fish farm project.
During the Middle Ages, the salt works of La Mata were, together with those of Ibiza, the two most important salt production centers in the Crown of Aragon. The preponderance of these contrasted with the production of the Torrevieja lagoon, clearly lower with respect to demand. The leasing, which was the form of exploitation of the salt flats, was carried out naturally in relation to the production that could be extracted from them.
The Torrevieja salt flats, due to their insufficiency, created a disinterest in the landlords in such a way that the Orihuela Council decided to convert it into a fishing lagoon. For this, he asked the monarch Juan I for permission, authorizing the Cortes de Monzón to build a communication channel between the sea and the lagoon; a ditch through which the contribution of water would enter for the development of the fish. However, the project to convert the salt lake into a lagoon were all inconveniences.
In 1500 the communication with the sea was cut due to the damage suffered by the strong east, Orihuela having to take over the repair, not getting a 25-year lease in exchange for the reconstruction of the canal. The work concluded in 1509 borne by the City. Once again, the maintenance of the lagoon was very expensive. On the other hand, the salinas de la Mata below its level were damaged and, more importantly, the high level of salinity prevented animal life.
In 1758 the lagoon had completely dried up. In the act of October 11 the order of the Crown is expressed to bring the lagoon up to date, the city replying that it has no flows for the cost of works and maintenance and therefore is exempt from the obligation. The State accepts a reversal of the lagoon, a fact that was made effective by Royal Order of July 12, 1759. The possibility of increasing the production of salt caused the State to test the first extractions, which would result in the beginning of the salt preponderance of the Torrevieja lagoon in the 18th century.
The exploitation and administration of salt income in the La Mata salt flats.
The La Mata lagoon was entirely used in the extraction of salt, this being a monopoly of the Crown and leasing its exploitation to individuals. The supply of the Kingdom was a priority, the surplus being exported by Guardamar, Alicante and Santa Pola. As a consequence of this leasing system, the extraction of the product was vetoed to the neighbors.
Until the fifteenth century the landlords were people from nearby towns Orihuela, Guardamar and Alicante; in 1465 the Crown leased them to Luis de Santángel, merchant of Valencia, and later by Royal Privilege to his heirs Luis and Jaume Santángel. The landlords of the salt right of the Kingdom of Valencia had the lease for a period of three years. Later, at the end of the 14th century, it was established for four years, renewable for another four.
The extraction system followed simply consisted of waiting for the evaporation of the waters of the lagoon, a circumstance that occurred in spring and summer. The shores were curdled with salt crusts that were ripped off with axes and other rudimentary instruments and then transported by chivalry through paths called footpaths, which are found within the lagoon itself.
The shipment of the salt was carried out at the pier of the Torre de las Salinas, where in addition to the salt for the Kingdom of Valencia, it was also shipped for the Kingdom of Galicia and abroad, reaching an active sea trade with Italy. It should be noted that in La Mata a nucleus of population began to be created based on the workers of the neighboring towns dedicated to the tasks of salt, employed in salinas and towers. The fact is demonstrated by the construction of the parish in 1772.
Extraction begins in the Torrevieja lagoon. Its consequences.
The first shipments were made through the Old Tower as it was the closest point to the salt flats and the one that offered the best conditions for docking ships. Since the shipments began at the new pier of the Old Tower, Orihuela has fulfilled an old aspiration, to have a port for its exports, a privilege that it lost in the 17th century when the Courts of the Kingdom of Valencia ordered maritime trade through the port of Alicante. .
On the occasion of the extraction and shipment of salt, the first houses are built. The population begins to increase and the population contribution is nurtured mainly from Campo de Salinas, Guardamar, Rojales and Campo de Cartagena. The exploitation of salt acts as a trigger for demographic and economic development.
In 1777, a merchant was given permission to set up a grocery store in order to make it easier for the inhabitants to buy food cheaper than in Guardamar, the same year that the separation of Orihuela was decreed. Meanwhile, the salt of La Mata continues to be shipped through the Torre de las Salinas, where in 1792 a new pier begins to be built on a site called “las peñetas”. With the increase in population, in 1789 the first hermitage was built with its own vicar and paid for by the royal treasury.
In 1803, Carlos IV approves the plan of the town and gives it the name of Torrevieja. For the service, a revenue clerk, a doctor and a teacher of first letters were established on behalf of the Treasury. The salt of the new saline was very well received by foreigners, appearing stronger because it is darker than that of La Mata, but cheaper, since they can now load directly from the Rada de Torrevieja jetty.
The extraction procedure was the evaporation of the lagoon, some areas were marked, the roads where the salt collected only from the banks was stacked.
The Ages of Salt
The set of the Eras de la Sal is made up of two piers; the one in the west built in 1776 together with the salt deposit, the one in the east in 1829, and an adjoining plot that constituted the salt deposit. Until the end of 1958 its purpose was the storage and loading of salt. As a consequence of the industrial transformation in the salt flats, with the construction of the dock of salt or Poniente de Poniente, the facilities were abandoned, proceeding with the demolition of the old wooden loading dock built on the eastern dock and the lifting of the railway line of the railway salt.
After the 1829 earthquake, the era and the pier were seriously damaged. Later, after being rebuilt three years later and due to a storm, they were damaged again, and a second repair was carried out. When falling into disuse the facilities were required by the municipality without success.
History of the Municipality
Torrevieja City Council. Beginning and first years of history.
In 1803 the plan for the new town was approved, giving it in the name of Torrevieja. On behalf of the Royal Treasury offices were built, a warehouse for the clearance of salts, a dock for shipping, a hermitage for divine worship with a priest and a sexton, an oven was built and a grocery store was established for the public service; he was endowed with a revenue clerk, doctor, and primary instruction. The store was leased to Antonio Blasco Menor, a neighbor of Guardamar, on behalf of and authorized by the Royal Treasury in 1777.
It seems that due to the simple installation of a store in the land of Realengo, there were problems when it came to competitions, the city of Orihuela wanting to prevail over the Royal Treasury. As anecdotal data we can see that the material that was sold in this store-bakery-tavern and the price relationship gives an idea of the market that existed at that time, for example, Flanders cheese, once again indicates the transfer that existed in the last quarter of the eighteenth century.
In 1810 we found a document that represents a request in form for obtaining a City Hall and Justice that denotes a continuous need to order the daily life of the town. A fact that was carried out by the different administrators of the salinas and, ultimately, by the central government through the Royal Treasury. The population, more and more pleads in one way or another for the creation of a City Council independently of the central order.
On July 2, 1830, the first city council was formed, being King of Spain, Fernando VII, the agreement of the Royal Audience of Valencia, as “Public Officials of the Place of Torrevieja” and sending the file to the Administrator of the salt works. In the capitular act there is an oath and possession diligence on July 12, 1830, and they were summoned to the dwelling-house of “Contador de las Reales Salinas, in default of the Town Hall” on the same day to hold the first plenary session, reaching the following agreements, the cleaning of supplies, the formation of a neighborhood register, the constitution of the Town Hall and the health board.
Historical evolution of Torrevieja
When it comes to talking about Torrevieja, reference must be made to the earthquake of March 21, 1829, the catastrophic effects of the aforementioned earthquake should be highlighted. José Agustín Larramendi made the reconstruction plan of the city with the characteristic configuration of fashion during the last century: streets laid out in checkerboards, perfectly particular and parallel, forming blocks of houses that are rigorously square and perpendicular. It should be noted that there is no indication or any street name.
It is a silent plan in which we can know the denomination of the streets by numerous references contained in the agreements of the plenary acts of the City Council corresponding to the immediately following years. If the first years were characterized by the pressing need to face reconstruction, the forties are a strengthening. This is reflected in the considerable increase in municipal documentation that, as regards the street, sees the appearance of population registers, references to street names, increased public works, the formation of roads, etc.
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