The impact of the canning industry in the Algarve

Peter Kingdon Booker, president of the Algarve History Association, will be giving a talk on the canning industry in the Algarve on March 29 in the Lagoa municipal library at 6pm and on April 1 in the Tavira municipal library at 11am.

Always a tuna fishing coast, the Algarve had preserved its catch in salt. The advent of new means for preservation of food in tins in the second half of the 19th century saw a massive swing towards canning.

The change began in Vila Real de Santo António and spread along the coast as far as Lagos. In the 60s and 70s, this phenomenon disappeared as quickly as it had arrived as a result of the decline in tuna catches and the advent of industrial scale freezing.

The skeletons of the industry in the major towns of the Algarve demonstrate that, in its time, canning was perhaps the most important industry of the region.

Photo: Casa Ramirez (Canning Magnate) in Vila Real de Santo António