El Almendro, El Andévalo Region
The village of El Almendro belongs to the region of Andévalo, which is close to the border with Portugal. Its agriculture is based around cereal, cropland, livestock, pasture and pears.
Near one end of the village is the Presa de la Chanza, one of the largest dams in the province. Other points of interest include the Church of Our Lady of Piedras Altas and the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The first traces of human activity are from the Bronze Age, evidenced by a series of megalithic tombs linked to mining activity. After a dark period in mid-century, Muslim XIII reforested the land resulting in a repopulation of the area, which has always had a subsistence economy. In the times of Alfonso X or as he was known, Alfonso the Wise, the village of Osma, cited by historians as the first village, was at the Hermitage near Piedras Albas. Some decades later, in the fifteenth century, Prado de Osma in his writings talks about this village and its population and favours disease as being the cause of the drop in inhabitants. However, other historians have cited danger from invasion as being the main reason for moving the population to its present site.
The terms of new building are set out in the settlement charter granted in dated March 22, 1519 to the Duke of Medina Sidonia, However, the reasons for depopulation may have run deeper. This shift was probably due to the policy of preventing the occupation of land in the Andévalo by residents of Villanueva de los Castillejos who belonged to the estate of the Marquis de Gibraleón. Belonging to the Lordship requires the residents to deliver part of their almond harvest to the Duke, so they had to share the 1500 cereal harvest. There were also other constraints such as fault tithing; which was to the advantage of the Church, the King and the Duke of Medinaceli.
However, the sixteenth century was a period of economic boom, reaching the 80 surrounding villages (about 300 inhabitants) in the final years of the century. During the traumatic war with Portugal (1640-1668) the area was hard hit by the continuing Portuguese incursions, which caused a great migration, death of many of its inhabitants and a psychological climate of terror. This is why the plague of 1649 and the decrease in cultivated land caused frequent famines. However, we see some recovery in 1693.
In the eighteenth century we find that the cultivation of almonds involves almost the entire population. But there was negligible activity by many carriers who benefited from trade with Portugal. Sheep rearing and bee hives also helped to supplement the shortfall in income, while wineries were erected around mills for further processing.
Once the town and church were built the population increased quickly. In the late eighteenth Century -1786 – the villagers of the region were still under the dominion of the Duke of Medina Sidonia, making its population about one thousand inhabitants.
During the War of Independence, El Alemendro became headquarters of the Spanish troops operating along the border with Portugal. This brought great suffering to the people in the area due to being forced to be hosts to the soldiers and were left without major sources of funding.
El Almendro became part of the new province- Huelva. By 18th century population has diminished to 800 with low agricultural potential – they planted almost exclusively wheat and oats. The landscape was dotted with mule tracks in appalling conditions so travelling communication was difficult . However there was a modest industrial sector, which included hats, calañeses industries, wax presses, windmills and looms.
In 1864 villagers lose a major agricultural benefit, the pasture boyal.
Currently the emphasis is on local development and El Almendro is found within the Association of Municipalities Beturia -1993 – which organized major projects resulting in European Union investment.
El Almendro Monuments
Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Ermita de Nuestra Señora de Piedras Albas
Pata negra ham. Migas. Turma Rice. Enzapatadas beans. Lamb stew
Exit Huelva. At the roundabout, take exit 2 and continue: N-441. Take N-431 direction Gibraleón and San Bartolomé de la Torre. Take the A-490 and cross Villanueva de los Castillejos, go to El Almendro.
Distances from El Almendro
Huelva 48 km
Alosno 17 km
Aracena 102 km
Gibraleón 33 km
Puebla de Guzman 14 km
Santa Barbara de Casa 47 km
San Silvestre de Guzman 16 km