The birth and death of the great industrial regions: how CUF changed Portugal

Research output: Other contribution


Abstract This presentation aims to demonstrate a set of transformations performed in the city of Barreiro during the XXth century due to the actions of the Companhia de União Fabril (CUF). Until the beginning of the XXth century Barreiro was just a quiet fisherman village, however in 1909 when CUF started its activity it became the biggest industrial concentration in Portugal, which endures till the 70’ decade. At the beginning of the XXth century CUF has had a major role broughting a new way of treat the industrial activity in Portugal. In a country industrially backward CUF was essential to the Portuguese industrial revolution as it developed one of the most relevant industrial concentration in Europe. Politically, CUF had developed its activity mostly in the dictatorial period where industrial concentrations were not appreciated. CUF had managed to develop a unique concept that substitutes the social duties of the State such as social security system, health services, schools, workers neighborhoods, cultural equipment’s and a relevant sportive club. In the 50’ and 60’ decades CUF became a giant industrial conglomerate, especially in the light industry (e.g. hygiene, food and textile industries), heavy industry (e.g. chemical, metal-mechanic and shipyard industries) and tertiary sector (e.g. banking, hospitality, tourism and insurance industries). CUF has been detached and nationalized after 1974 after the Revolution that end the dictatorial period. Since then, CUF no longer had managed to restitute its former glory and had being decaying ever since along with Barreiro It is our intention to analyze the peak of CUF in its unique and completely isolated form of operation within a country ruled by and authoritarian government. We also pretend to analyze and expose the positive and negative aspects that CUF brought to Barreiro and Portugal under a social, economic, cultural, urban and environmental point of view.
Original languageUnknown
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

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