Told Stories Preserved Memories the Tungsten at Arouca Geopark

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Told Stories, Preserved Memories: the tungsten in the Arouca Geopark (Portugal)
A. PINTO – aninhaspinto@gmail.com (AGA – Arouca Geopark Association) C. OLIVEIRA – claudiarouca@gmail.com
G. BRANDÃO – goreti@adrimag.com.pt (CLDS AroucaInclui, ADRIMAG – Associação de Desenvolvimento Rural Integrado das Serras de Montemuro, Arada e Gralheira) I. RODRIGUES – museu@cm-arouca.pt (Arouca Municipal Museum / Arouca Council) V. MAGALHÃES – vmagalhaes@geoparquearouca.com (AGA – Arouca Geopark Association) ABSTRACT: The “Told Stories, Preserved Memories: the tungsten in the Arouca Geopark (Portugal])” project is focused on the collection of testimonies of several and different experiences related to the tungsten in the Arouca municipality during the first half of the 20th century. This project, concerned to the revitalization of the Arouca Geopark’s mining villages, shall be considered as an advantage for the Geotourism.

KEYWORDS: Arouca Geopark, Patrimony, Preservation, Memories, Tungsten.

1. INTRODUCTION
Located in northern of Aveiro district and included in the Porto Metropolitan Area, the Arouca council is composed by 20 parishes. In geographical terms, its actual composition was established in 1917 (Vilar, 1998) at the time of the annexation of Covêlo de Paivó parish, belonging to S. Pedro do Sul council until then.

Being a council located in the interior region of Portugal and a valley surrounded by mountains, the poor accessibilities not always enabled the local development. However, there was a time when, even through difficult and sinuous paths, Arouca was the destination not only for many Portuguese but also for two European rivals – England and Germany – due to the discovery of tungsten inside the mountains of Arouca (the precious ore, essential to produce armament for the 20th wars). During that time, English and German people cohabited while exploring the tungsten mines in the two main mining villages of Arouca, Rio de Frades (Cabreiros) and Regoufe (Covêlo de Paivó). Roads and other structures of mining and logistic support were built as well as accommodation buildings for the miners next to those villages. Coming from Valongo, Gondomar and Penafiel municipalities, Porto outskirts, and also from Santa Maria da Feira and Oliveira de Azeméis municipalities (Vilar, 1998), these migrants, by their own or with their families, came to work in the foreign exploiting companies established there. But there also were people who didn’t submit themselves to the power of those companies and tried to dig their own tungsten mine for selling it later in the smuggling (Vilar, 1998).

The tungsten was the black gold in the first half of the 20th century and Arouca was part of this economic route and used as a political trumps in the geopolitical negotiations (Vilar, 1(4)

1998). Many of those people tried to get rich by selling tungsten. Some succeed others have not. But those fortunes disappeared the same way they appeared. The Arouca’s tungsten exploitation, as well as the migrations to this territory, ceased with the end of the Second World War. Besides the decay of the great buildings of these two mining complexes, by the passing of time and the investment lack, stories of anonymous people who lived those golden days – a time when the location of Arouca was not obstacle to its local development – have survived. More than half a century passed by and it´s urgent to collect and preserve the memories of such an important period in the Arouca’s history because these unregistered memories vanish every time who can tell us about the experiences of that time departs.

The Told Stories, Preserved Memories: the tungsten in the Arouca Geopark (Portugal) project

aims not only to collect testimonies, documents, photos, mining tools and samples of ore in order to preserve and promote such an important legacy of Arouca but also to enrich the local patrimony and strength the...
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