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Villages in Huelva

Santa Bárbara de Casa

Villages in Huelva

Santa Barbara de Casa

Santa Barbara de Casa is a town belonging to Andévalo, in the west of the province, in terrain which is a little rough, and devoted to agriculture and livestock, with areas of pine and eucalyptus. Within its border is the Dolmen of Zarzita, which is in a poor state of repair.

The settlement of Santa Barbara de Casa was begun in the Chalcolithic period, as the site of La Zarcita shows. This enclave is located west of the village towards Paymogo. Nearby, stands the fortified settlement from the same period, called El Cabezo de los Vientos (Pinon Varela, 1987), which is fortified with bastions. Outside the citadel there were circular huts and brick sockets arranged around the village square. The site covers four burials: el Cabezo del Molino, a circular chamber, surmounted by a false dome and corridor; el Cabezo de la Suerte del Bizco, similar to the previous structure; the Charco del Toro, which is 2.80 m. in diameter, placed in a circular mound; and La Zarcita, or Cabezo del Tesoro, a burial coated in thin, rectangular sheets of carefully carved slate.

It seems that this community was especially developed. It had a basic rural economy, and was associated with other cultures, as evidenced by the copper axe which was discovered in the burial chamber of “The Zarcita”.

The Arabs left clear traces of their passage within the borders, such as the castle-fortress in the finca Zurita. It was included in the Cora de Niebla, until Alfonso X conquered that city after nine and a half months of siege in 1262. Later, it came within the domain of the Guzman family, which began with Don Juan Alonso Pérez de Guzmán, in the late fourteenth century. It was one of his descendants, Don Juan de Guzman III (1436-1468), who won the title of Duke of Medina Sidonia (1445) for defending Sevilla. He came to own land from the Guadiana River to Almonte, including the future Santa Barbara, despite attempts by the city of Seville to place it under the jurisdiction of Andévalo.

In the first quarter of the fifteenth century, the Campo de Andévalo remained an area of colonization, but the creation of new villages was difficult (Sancha, F., 1992). Around this time they tried to populate El Hornillo and Los Palacios, core parts of the future “Santa Barvola”, the name given to the village after the Christian reconquest (Gordon and Rhustaller, 1992).

However, the first written evidence does not appear until 1500, testifying that the residents of places such as “Los Palacios”, “El Hornillo” and others, individually, and Don Gonzalo Gómez, Domingo Martin and Don Diego Perez , went to the Duke of Medina Sidonia and Count of Niebla, in supplication, so that, being a fairly large neighborhood where they lived for over 100 years, they asked for a meadow around the town in which they could graze their cattle and make pens for wheat (Anonymous, 1948).

The Duke sent the Governor of the City of Niebla to record the borders, and report to neighbouring towns. Disagreeing, they protested to the Duke and his descendants. The definitive demarcation was made on December 5, 1550, ordering hereinafter that the place be called Santa Barvola. This name was changed to Santa Bárbara de Hornillos until October 12, 1916 when the tow was given the name Santa Barbara de Casa, in allusion to the brook which runs near the town.

Soon, Santa Barbara de Casa faced the constant incursions of Portuguese who were fighting for their independence. In 1643, the town was assaulted. looted and robbed by the Lusos, the inhabitants flleing to the Sierra and returning later in 1650. The persistence of looting caused them to leave during other periods.

These disputes also affected the pace of the economy, as the Santa Barberans planted cereal in the fincas ‘ Palladares” and “La Negrita” in the neighbouring kingdom of Portugal, which closed its borders at harvest time, causing them to lose the entire harvest. These political and economic events led to the whole Andevaleña being subject to a bloody depopulation.

The eighteenth century was one of relative prosperity, leading to a growing population whose decline did not occur until the late nineteenth century. However, life in the eighteenth century was not easy, as evidenced by the persistence of contraband, which gave rise to many bandits and criminals. The subsequent royal orders bear witness to this situation. In 1754 orders were made “against smugglers and criminals” (AMSB, leg, 21).

In the nineteenth century, as Madoz states (1845), Santa Barbara belonged to the Judicial District of del Cerro, but the revenue was administered from Puebla de Guzmán. The population, around 640 inhabitants, was situated to the left of the small river “Casa”, on a small hill. Santa Barbara had 168 houses, a customs office of 1st class with Portugal, a “posita”, a primary school and a parish church under the patronage of Our Lady of Mercy.

Like the surrounding towns, it sits on the peneplain of the Sierra Morena. 83.6 percent of its lands are metamorphic rocks that jut out and make for poor land. At its boundaries, Santa Barbara, according to their geomorphological formation, comprises four distinct landscape units: the Northeast, the Sierra Pelada, the Central Plain and the mountains of the South.

In this precariously balanced ecosystem, you can find birds such as partridge, thrush, quail, doves, turtle doves, the Azure, royal herons, the net, warblers, the pollock, the tit, nightingales, blackbirds , crows, magpies and jays. The mammals include rabbits, wild pigs, and foxes. As a casual visitor you can see the black vulture nesting in the Picos de Aroche.

Some scenically outstanding natural areas of interest display the areas beauty and advantages. Thus, Rivera del Chanza, considered a Forest Area of Environmental Interest, and the Dehesa de Santa Barbara, classified as Singular Agricultural Landscape, have strong rural and ecological tourism appeal.

Santa Barbara de Casa Monuments

Hermitage de Santa Barbara.

Church of Mercy.

Archaeological Sites

Dolmen Zarzita.
In very poor state of repair.

Gastronomy of Santa Barbara de Casa

Game dishes. Scrambled eggs with mushrooms.

Directions

Leave Huelva heading towards Gibraleón. Once you have passed Gibraleón head in the direction of San Bartolomé de la Torre, and continue to Santa Bárbara de Casa.

Distances from Santa Barbara de Casa

Huelva 78 km
Aroche 37 km
Aracena 79 km
Paymogo 16 km
Gibraleón 64 km
Cortegana 52 km
Cabezas Rubias 13 km
Rosal de la Frontera 24 km


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