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With help of new plaque, Formentera remembers when ‘Constitution Square’ was ‘Republic Square’

foto 2021 constitucio BTop Consell de Formentera official Alejandra Ferrer and heritage chief Raquel Guasch were on hand today as a plaque went up to commemorate the rechristening, ninety years ago today, of Sant Francesc’s Plaça de la Constitució. On 14 April 1931, six weeks after proclamation of the Second Spanish Republic, decision-makers at the local plenary assembly agreed to change ‘Plaça de la Constitució’ to ‘Plaça de la República’.

Today, municipal archivists and the Formentera Department of Heritage have uncovered meeting minutes from 1931 in which members of the municipal council approved the renaming.

President Ferrer believes the Second Republic-era document can shed light on an important chapter of Formentera’s past. She described it as “a curious and thrilling find from a hugely significant period for democratic and social growth. On Formentera in particular, islanders hailed improvements in education and progress towards a more egalitarian society, and agitated for a government not subordinate to power holders on Eivissa. Trade unions and local civic organisations of the day were extremely active as well. We hope the efforts of our archivists keep illuminating the secrets of our past. It’s crucial we continue to recuperate this historical memory”.

Councillor Guasch said the moment underscores the “values, the true pillars of democracy —freedom, justice, equality, education and secularism— that permeated the Second Republic”. She insisted, “We must remember the historical moment when the aspiration for modernity was cut short by a coup, war and dictatorship under Franco”. And Guasch praised “the recent work by the archivists that resurfaced this document”, and highlighted a fragment now available for viewing.

Name change
The rebranding had been proposed by a man named Pedro Juan Ferrer. A sailor and a member of the Aliança Republicana party, Juan was Formentera’s first deputy mayor when the republican town council was formed on 19 April 1931. (The island’s mayor was Joan Colomar Escandell.) Self-taught in the systems of thought and anarchist praxis of social organisation, Juan was described by teacher Vicent “Blai” Serra Ferrer as one of the “authentic anarchists”.

“Plaça de la Constitució” had been so baptised in 1812. On 14 August of that year, a royal decree set out that “the main square of all the towns in Spain henceforth be called ‘Plaza de la Constitución’”. The designation appears in assorted documents until 19 May 1931, when the square became ‘Plaça de la República’ until the end of the Spanish civil war. Accounts of the new name under Franco are elusive, although some documents do refer to a “Plaza de la Iglesia”. In 1981, at a full-house gathering of Formentera’s municipal authority, socialist councillors led a successful push for “a commemorative plaque in the Sant Francesc square reading ‘Plaça de sa Constitució’, the plaza’s name for many years now”.

4 June 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Summer hours at heritage sites extended from June 1

cartell 2021 far horari ampliatThe local offices of culture and heritage report that from next Tuesday 1 June, extended summer hours will take effect at Far de la Mola, Molí Vell de la Mola, Torre des Pi des Català and the Formentera Ethnographic Collection.

During the summer high-season, the cultural and educational space at La Mola’s lighthouse will open Tuesday to Sunday from 10.00am to 2.00pm and, dovetailing with market days, Wednesday and Sunday evenings from 5.00pm to 9.00pm. El Far will close on Mondays. General admission is €4.50 and reduced entry is €2.50. Formentera residents and certain other visitors get in free.

Molí Vell, Torre des Pi des Català and the Formentera Ethnographic Collection
For questions about opening hours and visits at other heritage sites, or to reserve a visit, the heritage office has unveiled a new e-mail address, coneixpatrimoni@conselldeformentera.cat.

El Molí Vell will open from Wednesday to Sunday, 5.00pm to 8.00pm, from 1 June to 30 September. Torre des Pi des Català will open Saturdays from 9.00am to 11.00am. The Formentera Ethnographic Collection will open Tuesday to Saturday from 10.00am to 1.30pm

26 May 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Applications now accepted for €8,500 research grant from Consell de Formentera

cartell 2021 beca investigacioThe Formentera Department of Heritage is pleased to announce that applications are now being accepted for the Consell de Formentera’s 2021 grant to promote research in the arts, humanities and social sciences.
Terms of eligibility for the €8,500 grant have been published in the regional gazette (BOIB) and proposals can be submitted until 25 June.

Eleven years in, with a newly-expanded award package of €8,500 and top-quality proposals apparently the new rule, local heritage chief Raquel Guasch described the grant as “an entrenched feature of the local landscape” and “the perfect opportunity to deepen what we know about the island”.

Once the application period closes, a multi-person panel will evaluate the projects presented based on scientific interest, coherence, methodology and the curricula of the researchers. Research must be carried out within twelve months from the day grants winners are announced.

Last year, the Consell’s research grant was awarded to “Paleoformentera—History of the landscape and management of plant resources among Formentera’s first settlers”. In May researchers and coordinators Pau Sureda and Jordi Revelles started collecting sedimentary sequences from Estany Pudent and Estany des Peix to reconstruct its environmental and climatic history.

20 May 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Paleoformentera’s unprecented look at island’s first settlers and the history of the Formentera landscape

foto 2021 paleo CThe Formentera Department of Heritage is pleased to announce that the winners of local government’s 2020 research grant —Dr. Pau Sureda, postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Heritage Sciences (INCIPIT-CSIC), and Dr. Jordi Revelles, postdoctoral researcher at the Catalan Institute of Human Paleoecology and Social Evolution (IPHES-CERCA)— started work this week on ‘Paleoformentera—History of the landscape and management of plant resources Formentera’s first settlers’. Sureda and Revelles have set out obtaining sedimentary sequences in order to piece together the environmental and climatic history of Estany Pudent and Estany des Peix.

Pioneering research in Pine Islands
The unprecedented effort has seen geologists from the Pyrenean Institute of Ecology (IPE-CSIC) partnering with colleagues from the Centre for Energy, Environmental and Technological Research (CIEMAT). “In the coming months samples will be processed and studies will aim to reconstruct the history of vegetation, fires and climatic fluctuations over the last millennia”, said Sureda, asserting the data would offer “key insight into natural dynamics and prehistoric populations’ relationship with the island environment”.

Funding increase
FDH chief Raquel Guasch welcomed the news: “The study will shed light on the history of our island, and help us better understand the footprint of Formentera’s natural heritage”. At €8,500, the 2020 grant constitutes a €2,500 increase on previous years’ amount. Guasch insisted the change was crucial given the importance of the proposed study. Six applications were received in 2020, two more than 2019.

Paleoformentera received additional support from Trasmapi.

15 May 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Civic group coordinating body turns over documentary holdings to municipal archives

foto 2021 donacio AThe Consell de Formentera received yesterday the entire documentary collection of the Formentera Civic Group Coordinator (Coordinadora de Entidades Cívicas de Formentera, CECF), a citizens’ platform formed in 1987 to mobilise opposition around plans for a major hotel complex in Punta de sa Pedrera and campgrounds near Es Ca Marí.

Consell premiere Alejandra Ferrer and heritage chief Raquel Guasch were present as the donation was made official, with Pep Mayans, Xicu Ferrer, Isidor Torres and Andreu Ferrer on hand to represent CECF.

Among the holdings are CECF’s minutes and statutes, writings and communiqués, press clippings about the campsite and hotel complex and a video about the campsite. And then there are the petitions: to protest construction of the campsite, to push for reduced fares on ferries to and from Eivissa, and to defend local decision-makers who faced court challenges in connection with their opposition to the planned construction. Offered in the name of the people of Formentera, the donation includes a gold medal, diploma and three photographs from the award ceremony that was held on the island’s first yearly celebration, the Diada de Formentera.

According to Xicu Ferrer, who, together with President Ferrer, supplied his signature to make the donation official, “Now that the CECF is no longer operative, these documents belong to Formentera’s catalogue of local heritage”.

Alejandra Ferrer called CECF’s work in the 1980s and 1990s “essential to defending our values and a model that set the tone for future generations”. In a show of respect and gratitude, the Consell offered the CECF its gold medal award on the occasion of the first-ever Diada de Formentera.

‘More visible and closer to islanders’
Raquel Guasch applauded the donations: “Although recent, these items form part of our history and heritage, and stand as important reminders of the island’s political gumption”.

The holdings will now be incorporated into the municipal archives. “Efforts are in full swing to further define the shape and content of the Arxiu de Formentera, and make it more visible and bring it closer to islanders”, Guasch said.

14 May 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

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