You want to know the history of the Ons Island, we will tell you some details that you surely do not know.

History of Ons

There really are few remains of temporary settlers on the islands, except in the Bronze Age, where remains of castros did appear, one of them known as “Castelo dos Mouros“You can see its circular distribution with defensive structures, it is located above the neighborhood of Canexol. There is another called “Cova da Loba“, is in the northern part of the island, but there is hardly any structure left.


Their habitants

Like other islands of the Atlantic coast, Ons could have been inhabited by the Greeks and Romans, in the case of the Greeks there are hardly any indications to confirm it, but they could have been a base for their trade. Of the Romans there is no certainty either, but we know that they settled in the existing Celtic settlements, they named the island “Aunios Islands”.

Nor is there any knowledge of Sueves and Visigoths, despite the fact that they left their mark with their occupation in Galicia.

the middle ages

In the year 899 A.D. the first documents that speak of the Ons Islands appear, when King Alfonso III donates the “Isla Aones” to the Cabildo Compostela, proof of this is that there was a church known as the church of San Martin.

During the fifteenth century there was a monastery on the island, today, there are hardly any remains and it is unknown if it housed religious on a stable basis. It is said that it was near a tomb on the beach of Area dos Cans, this tomb is known as “Laxe do Crego”, the lid is not preserved but it is visible at low tide.

Flora in Ons

The modern age

Already in the 16th century, the Church granted the island as a fiefdom to the Montenegro family, which is known to have already been inhabited and had a parish church. Everything changed with the arrival of the English corsairs, specifically the famous pirate Francis Drake and other Turkish and Barbary pirates, who besieged the islands until they caused their inhabitants to flee to the coast.

It was not until 1810, when it was decided to fortify the island, thus allowing its repopulation. One fortification is located in the Pereiró neighborhood and another in Curro, known as “Castelo de Rueda” a few meters from the arrival dock.

With the arrival of the army, the land that the state gave to the islanders in exchange for a canon was divided, in this way, the collection would serve to maintain the defensive structures, with the passage of time, the canon was delivered directly to the Montenegrin .

The salting factory

In the years 1835-1840, a salting factory was built near the dock, increasing the population of the island and its economy, but the lack of sardines ended up closing the factory.

The purchase of the island of Ons

In 1929,D. Manuel Riobó bought the island and set up the company “Isla de Ons” to market octopus and conger eel, occupying the old salting factory, once again reactivating the economy of the island and its inhabitants. The heirs of D. Manuel ended up committing suicide after the civil war, leaving the island without management on their part.

The expropriation of Ons

In 1940 the State expropriated the island, the idea was to create a submarine base that was never built, so finally a mayor was appointed to manage it. From then on, several changes were made, such as the constitution of a civic center with a church, schools, warehouses, and housing for teachers and doctors.

History of Ons

the golden age

The best years were lived in 1940-1950 when about 500 inhabitants resided on the islands. Corn, rye, potatoes, vegetables for the dwellings, and also grassland for livestock: cows, oxen, sheep, and goats were grown. There was abundant fishing for shellfish and fish, so many islanders specialized in the business of marketing these products. People lived happily and shared their experiences together in the civic center.

It was not until 1970 when another progressive depopulation began, coinciding with the tourist boom.

In the year 1983-84, the State transferred to Galicia the dependency of the territory, the Ministry of Agriculture would take control, although it finally depended on the Ministry of the Environment.

Casas en Ons

Remember, let’s take care of the islands, they are our best heritage.

➡ Visit our website: https://isladeons.es

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