WCEH




















Painel Rails, rivers and vines: technologies of history making in Tua river valley
World Congress on Environmental History, 
Guimarães, 8 de Julho de 2014


CO-02 (CFPG)
Tuesday 8 July, 16:00 – 17:30
Organizer: Ellan Spero, United States, E-Mail: efs8@mit.edu
Chair: Eduardo Beira, Portugal, E-Mail: ebeira@dsi.uminho.pt



1. Introduction
Eduardo Beira, Portugal, E-Mail: ebeira@dsi.uminho.pt



2. Narratives from an Isolated Region: Population and Commodity Dynamics of a Rural Hinterland
Anne McCants, United States, E-Mail: amccants@mit.edu
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, History, Cambridge, United States

Oral history interviews with elderly residents of the Tua Valley, deep in the heart of the Trás-os-Montes port wine region of the Upper Douro River, shed light on the difficult experience of making a living in one of the most remote regions of Portugal across the twentieth century. Despite what appears to the contemporary observer to be an extremely isolated environment, the region actually experienced a surprisingly extensive historic circulation of people and goods. The concentration of land holding in the port wine vineyards and the quite limited size of the secondary and tertiary sectors forced many of those born in the region to either a permanent out-migration (a phenomenon well captured in the demographic and passport data of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries), or to seasonal and long-term labor migrations, especially for men. The opening of the Tua railroad in 1887,and the extension of the line to Braganca in 1906, of course facilitated the easier movement of people in and out of the region than had been possible before. However, the railroad also opened up new employment opportunities in the region and greatly expanded the capacity of the region to export agricultural commodities to Porto and beyond, both of which worked to lessen the pressure for out-migration precisely at the same time that contact with the wider world was becoming more possible.



3. Railways in Trás-os-Montes during the Second Half of the 19th Century: Projects and Achievements
Hugo Silveira Pereira, Portugal, E-Mail: efs8@mit.edu
Universidade do Porto, Oporto, Portugal

This paper focuses on the interplay between the physical and political landscape of Portuguese railroad construction in the late 19th century. In Portugal, as in most of Europe at this time, narrow gauge rail lines were projected in the last quarter of the nineteenth century to serve peripheral regions distant from the most important centers of economic activity, in order to boost local markets and to integrate them in wider regional enterprise. From the investment, the Portuguese expected the development of that region and the destruction of the obstacles that separated Trás-os-Montes from the rest of the country, namely from the shoreline around Oporto. However, in practice the construction of these railroad projects was wrought with unanticipated environmental, technological and political challenges.



4. Migration and Commodity Flows in the Douro Valley
Nuno Miguel Lima, Portugal, E-Mail: efs8@mit.edu
Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Instituto de História Contemporânea, Lisboa, Portugal

This paper presents the impact of the railroad within the Douro Valley in terms of human migration and commodity flows both locally within this region as well as in the larger Portuguese and international context where possible. It focuses on the introductory phase of the Tua railway, from the opening of the line in 1891 until 1925. The Tua, which derives its name from the river that it follows, along with the Tâmega, Corgo, and Sabor lines, served as extensions of the Douro line and structured Oporto's hinterland. Through analysis of a wide range of data including human and commodity circulation, they evaluate the premise that the railroads would serve to integrate people and goods from peripheral regions and boost local markets in this process of connection. This section will address analysis of traffic data, including both passengers and goods. The distribution along the individual stations of the line and their local context will be highlighted. This will allow the presentation of a more detailed picture of the local economic activity, particularly considering the traffic and distribution of goods visualized within a spatial hierarchy. The regional integration of the Tua line in the context of northern Portugal will also be considered using spatiotemporal analysis of the exports and imports of this line. Using Portuguese census data at the county and parish levels, this section will also present demographic trends in the geographic context of the Tua valley with particular attention to the impact of the railway on human migration.



5. Landscape Evolution in the Tua Valley: 150 Years of Natural and Cultural Changes, a Historical GIS Approach
António Vieira, Portugal, E-Mail: efs8@mit.edu
Universidade do Minho, Geography, Braga, Portugal

The landscape of Tua valley has suffered a significant evolution and transformation over the last 150 years. The socioeconomic, cultural and environmental changes occurred in this rural area of northeastern Portugal (a remote and peripheral region), since the second half of the 19th century, had direct consequences on land use and land cover changes, favored by the alterations on the economic activities developed in the countryside. This dynamics promoted profound transformations on structures and patterns of land use and thus on landscape configuration.
Human activities promoted a crescent modification of the landscapes' organization and evolution patterns. Nevertheless, this human influence should not be considered merely as a landscape's depreciative factor. From the interrelations established over the times between nature and humankind results identitarian characters of the different landscapes, which constitutes highly relevant cultural values, both in terms of heritage and scenery.
Based on the cartography of the land use available from different sources, characterizing distinct moments over the considered period, we intend to present the analysis of the changes occurred in the studied area, identifying the main differences observed in different periods between 1868 and 2007, as well as the different factors involved in the dynamics observed and its relations. Photographic records were collected to support the transformations observed in the landscape.
The complex cartographic analysis process was developed recurring to GIS technology.



6. Commentary
Robert Schwartz, United States, E-Mail: rschwart@mtholyoke.edu