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Villages in Huelva

Zalamea la Real

Villages in Huelva

Zalamea la Real – Huelva

Zalamea la Real is a mining town belonging to Andévalo situated in the middle of the Las Minas area. Limits with the municipalities of Santa Ana la Real, El Campillo, Valverde del Camino and Berrocal.

Its landscape is characterized by low hilly land with areas of pine and eucalyptus, with other lands being devoted to the cultivation of cereal.

The first signs of population date back to prehistoric times. Of particular interest is the archaeological site known as “Dolmen of El Pozuelo”, a collection of megalithic funerary monuments, dating back to between 2800 and 3000 BC.

The nucleus of the current population seems to have its origins in Roman times, a period which was called “Callenses Aenanicci” (place in the copper road) in reference to the nearby mines at Rio Tinto, to which it supplied provisions.

The Muslims, who appreciated the abundance of water in the place and its tranquil surroundings, named it “Salamun” or “Salameh”, which meant something like “peaceful place” and “healthy”.

Reconquered in the time of Fernando III of Castile, in 1252, it passed through a period during which it changed hands several times, until finally, in the time of Alfonso X the Wise, it moved definitively into Christian hands. It was ceded by the king to the archbishopry of Seville as recorded in one account, dated 1279, and preserved in the Cathedral Archives. The name was “Castilianized” and it came to be known as “Zalamea”.

For 300 years the town remained under the dominion of the Archbishop of Seville, during which time were developed municipal ordinances, such as, in 1535, the balanced organization of a rural society. In 1579, it separated from the archdiocese, with buying and spending becoming attached directly to the crown, and enjoying a certain autonomy which was given in a “charter of privileges” granted by Felipe II on June 15, 1592. From that moment, the town came to be known as Zalamea la Real.

During the Modern Age, Zalamea became the head of a vast region that included numerous towns, and encompassed within its boundaries a large number of villages, among which were the current municipalities of Nerva, El Campillo and Minas de Riotinto. Its activities focus on agriculture, livestock, and a burgeoning artesan industry based on leather, wax and linen.

During the nineteenth century, exploitation of the copper mines at Rio Tinto intensified, which resulted in continued clashes between the City of Zalamea, to which they belonged, and successive administrations for the jurisdiction of the surrounding land. Finally, in 1841, it became an independent mining town with the name of Minas de Rio Tinto. Later, in 1885, the village of Rio Tinto separated, and in order not to be confused with the former municipality, adopted the name of Nerva.

In 1873 a British company bought the copper mines from the state, bringing production to industrial levels and using a system of outdoor calcinations to remove the metal, which were known as “weavers”. They gave off a huge amount of sulphur fumes which greatly damaged agriculture, with farmers from Zalamea being the most affected, thereby exacerbating the clash between the traditional Zalamea and the mines. This conflict, known at the time as the “question of the Huelva smoke” culminated in a demostration of farmers and miners, who were then on strike, which was concentrated at the municipality of Minas de Rio Tinto. This demonstration was harshly suppressed by the army, causing hundreds of deaths and injuries. Today Zalamea remembers these facts with a square in which stands a bust of D. Juan Talero, deputy ombudsman for the issue of the “smoke”.

During the first third of the twentieth century, Zalamea reached its highest levels of population, a result of the use of agricultural and livestock resources, and exploitation of the mines of Rio Tinto and other small-scale localized mines within its borders. During the Second Republic, in 1931, the village of El Campillo was emancipated.

Today Zalamea is a town which faces the copper mining crisis using various initiatives in agriculture and livestock, and small industries that take advantage of the resources and traditional activities.


Parish Church of Nuestra Señora of the Assumption, seventeenth century. Baroque style.

Banner of the town.

Shrine of la Divina Pastora, seventeenth century.

Shrine of San Vicente.


Zalamea la Real Archaeological Sites

Dolmens of Campo El Pozuelo, 23 currently uncovered.

Dolmen of Pozuelo.
Copper Age.

Town and Mine of Chinflón.
Bronze Age.

Urban Sites

Town Centre
Plaza with fountain.



Sausages and hams.

Sweets: Pestiños. Rosa. Tortas. Roscos de vino.

Drinks: Liqueurs.

Zalamea la Real Directions

From Huelva, take the N-435 (Huelva-Badajoz), which crosses the Sierra de Aracena transversely through Gibraleón, Beas, Valverde del Camino and Zalamea la Real.

From Seville, head in the direction of Camas – Gerena. Once you pass these two places, head for the SE-535 to El Garrobo. Follow signs to El Castillo de las Guardas. Pass through Minas del Castillo de las Guardas. Pass through Minas de Rio Tinto, and follow signs to Zalamea la Real.

Distances from Zalamea la Real

Nerva 12 km
Huelva 62 km
Sevilla 90 km
Galaroza 44 km
Marigenta 13 km
El Buitrón 17 km
Traslasierra 3,5 km
Fuenteheridos 46 km
Minas de Riotinto 7,5 km
Valverde del Camino 18 km

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