Historia

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Pirineos-Monte Perdido

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This will cross-reference all available documents in our data base related to the UNESCO World Heritage Site

19th century: Revolution and Romanticism

The Peninsular War

When the 19th century began, Spain was occupied by the French, resulting in the Peninsular War.

At the start of the war in 1808, a number of regiments were quartered in Torla, while several companies were billeted in the canton of Bielsa.

In March 1809, following a general withdrawal, Jaca was defended against the French by just a few units, among them a brave squad from Broto.

Smugglers

In the political climate of the 19th century, a series of conflicts broke out between liberals and absolutists, including revolutions. New proletarian doctrines began to spread and a Workers' Federation was set up in Boltaa.


Casco antiguo. Boltaa.

The Alto Aragn region saw the start of activity by smugglers, characters who were the stuff of legend and surrounded by romantic notions.

Tales are still told in the local mountains of several of these individuals who risked their lives on a daily basis. The passing of goods from one side of the border to the other merely continued an ancient tradition in cross-Pyrenean relations, unaffected by the restricting taxes imposed by national boundaries.

While attempting to get rich themselves, smugglers also contributed to the struggling domestic economy in these mountain valleys.

Puerto Viejo

The first local and cross-Pyrenean excursionists

The first Romantic excursionists, people who made outings for scientific or cultural reasons, began to appear in the Pyrenees in the mid-19th century.

Through their photographs and writings, these excursionists raised outsiders' awareness of the natural, environmental and cultural characteristics and qualities of the Pyrenean environment.

The Ordesa, Broto, Escuan and Vi valleys were visited by Lucien Briet and other eminent figures, all of whom fell in love with the grandeur and ruggedness of these lands and with the peoples who lived here and their culture and austere and enigmatic gaze.

The imposition of liberalism

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the political and economic doctrine of liberalism gradually came to predominate.
Spain experienced growth and investments were made in industry and infrastructure across the length and breadth of the country.
The party system was set up and power was distributed among the liberals and the conservatives.

The district of Boltaa, to which the Pyrenees-Monte Perdido World Heritage Site belongs, voted conservative.

In the late 19th century, demographic growth coupled with poor harvests gave rise to critical times of poverty and hunger. It was now that people began to migrate from the valleys up in the mountains to the flatlands below.