The name “Coitadinha” means ‘small hunting ground’, which hints at the land’s hunting characteristics. The history of Herdade da Coitadinha is connected with the history of the medieval town of Noudar.
This property of the Order of Avis was passed on to the town’s rulers with little change in its functions.
During the 19th Century, after the liberal revolution, the property is acquired by José Bonifácio Garcia Barroso, a business man and land owner from Barrancos.
In 1893, his son João Barroso Domingues purchases the Noudar Castle. Animal farming was a very important feature of this estate, and several portions of its land were rented out to citizens from Barrancos for vegetable and cereal plantations, as well as woodland resources.
The Spanish Civil War
Solidarity and a humanitarian attitude were staples of the Barrancos community during the Spanish Civil War (from 1936 to 1939). For these people, the door was always open for refugees from both sides of the conflict – Republicans or Nationalists, all were taken in and given a helping hand. This was also the place where a “refugee camp” was installed – many refugees that had been arrested in Portugal ended up in this place and managed to avoid a far worse fate that awaited them in the Civil War’s cruel battlefields.
Barrancos is associated to stories of contraband and smuggling that went on for centuries. This was a prime spot for unofficial trade carried out at specific times and places near the border, along the Ardila river, where there was safe passage spots and many hideouts. Everyhting was bought and sold in this trade, and this helped to create a solidarity network among the locals that helped them survive and improve their living conditions.
“Choças e malhadas”
“Choças” and “malhadas” are old agricultural structures used by shepherds of the Herdade da Coitadinha estate. The “choças”, small shacks built with stone or mud walls and thatched roofs, were designed to shelter shepherds and their families – many large families spent nights or even actually lived in these small spaces. “Malhadas”, usually located nearby, were stone fences used for keeping cattle.