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  • Photograph inside the Prison
  • Scale Model of the building
  • Model of the building
  • Detail of the prison cells
  • Ruins
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Almadén > World Heritage Site > Royal Forced Labor Prison
 

Royal Forced Labor Prison

The writings attest that in 1525 it was already operative the first Almadén Prison, a prison for common criminals but especially for the Crown’s forced laborers, gypsies and slaves.

Since 1559, the lack of workers in the mercury mines to maintain the volume of production required agreed between the Crown leases and Fugger begins to be supplied by prisoners sentenced to forced labor, slaves bought by the administrators or sent there by its owners for their "correction" and gypsies accused of robbery without having committed any crime.

The forced laborers, also known as “galeotes”, had to serve their temporary or life imprisonment sentence, although most of them did not live long enough to achieve their freedom   after serving their sentence, because they were commissioned the toughest jobs.

The old prison, located in a house next to Mina del Pozo, housed between 30 and 80 forced laborers and equal number of slaves.In 1644, a gallery was built connecting the prison with the mine, thus intending to prevent jail breaking, since the prisoners went to the mine from the prison without going outside. This gallery was called "crujía", which was the passage in the galleys which communicated the ship from bow to stern, hence the jail was known by the same name.

Given the need for labor and the lack of space to house the forced laborers in La Crujía, in 1754, the Real Carcel de Forzados (Royal Forced Labor Prison) was built by the engineer Silvestre Abarca. The building consisted of two floors with a large central courtyard, all surrounded by a great wall. The staff premises were on the first floor and the prisoners cells on the second floor. It has a chapel and baptistery, nursing, medicine cabinet and two wards for patients.

The forced labor continued until 1799, when after more than two hundred and fifty years, the King abolished the mines penalty. The reasons for this abolition was that there was no work that could be entrusted to the forced laborers, as, since the mine fire in 1755 attributed to them, they were excluded from all  the tasks in the interior of the mine. In 1800 the prison was dismantled and the occupants moved to Ceuta’s prison.

After this, these facilities were used during the XIX century as Provincial Prison, going through a period in which it was used as a concentration camp (1939-1941), followed by another period in which it was used as a wheat silo-store of the Servicio Nacional de Cereales (National Grain Service) (1941-1969). Finally, the Real Cárcel de Forzados was demolished in 1969 and the current Mining and Industrial Engineering School of Almadén was built on the site.

Nowadays, only the basement of the building, which have been recovered and integrated into the building of the Mining and Industrial Engineering School of Almadén (EIMIA) are partially preserved. The archaeological site consists of a central aisle with cells on the sides, being the walls preserved to a height of two meters.

+ Info: blog.uclm.es/carcelforzados
 


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