Dénia against Diana: the outcome of seafaring independence and the end of the municipality born in Baix la Mar

February 11 from 2024 - 09: 00

After years in the shadow of the privileged nucleus of Dénia, the so-called Dalt Dénia of intramuros, the seaside neighborhood decided to become independent to form its own municipality. It was on August 7, 1837 when the Provincial Council of Alicante decided, following the request made by 40 residents of the port area of ​​the city, to agree to its elevation to the status of a town, thus giving birth to El Pueblo de Diana. Now, far from meaning the end of the conflicts with its walled neighbors, it represented an insult to the situation that prevented the municipality from lasting to this day.

If we look at the stray that survives, and how it makes us see the historian Javier Calvo, you can see a large concentration of squares in the Baix la Mar neighborhood. Between its streets, every so often you find a more comfortable space where today terraces reign and in the past, one senses, its neighbors socialized. It is no coincidence, in the neighborhood they celebrated devotion to their saints with many festivals, some of which still last today. In fact, the germ of Bous a la Mar is born there. It could be said, then, that it was a very festive neighborhood, more given to merriment than inside the wall. However, we assume that there were few celebrations like the one on the night of August 7, 1837.

Within the walls there would be little partying that night. The leaders of what was left of Dénia, representatives of approximately 2.000 inhabitants, they soon began to plan their response to get that opinion of the Provincial Council to be reversed and to recover the now Diana and her almost 1.000 neighbors. How to achieve it? Resort to oppression? Maybe to the blockade? War? Invasion? Javier Calvo, who has helped us understand this stage of the 19th century, points to a much deeper attitude: «the me'n photo».

Indeed, Dénia's response was that me'n photo, that passatism, or that ghosting What do we say now that we have connected to the world to seek to express ourselves like those on the outside to understand ourselves with those on the inside. But far from being an attitude of apathy, it was a brilliant stratagem with which they made Diana's life impossible, and sentenced him to death.

The Provincial Council scheduled a meeting between municipalities to delimit the new municipal boundaries. Dénia's response did not exist. While he ignored every order, he sent an avalanche of complaints to provincial and national institutions to demand the reunification of the term.

The municipality without land

Although it was impossible to agree on a peaceful division of the term, Calvo found in his research the keys that could give an idea of ​​how it was divided. Dénia was left with the bulk and the entire city surrounded by the wall, Diana received, as expected, little more than Baix la Mar.

However, if the limitation of each term is not established, the problems increase. One of the main objectives after independence was to achieve those services that Dénia had separated from the residents of the seaside neighborhood, concentrating them all within the walls. But Without establishing the limit of the municipal area, taxes could not be imposed to pay for the desired services.. To make matters worse, on Senieta Street there was an epidemic of tertians that they could not control because The Local Health Board belonged to Dénia, as well as the responsibility of draining the stagnant waters of a nearby marsh that was causing the disease. Dénia's response to Diana's pleas for her to take care of her? Me'n fot.

A year passed and the disappointment with his new situation was undeniable. Everything they wanted to achieve with that independence was still far from being a reality due to the interested disinterest that Dénia showed in making emancipation effective. The Provincial Council once again demanded a meeting between the town councils of both municipalities in November 1838 to carry out the demarcation. Dénia once again ignored all orders, thus achieving Diana's main failure, since without a municipal area on paper they lacked jurisdiction in her own town.

The inevitable failure of independence

Of course, there were more obstacles that together caused the end of El Pueblo de Diana. Its main economic engine was the sea, however The port captaincy did not manage to take it from Dénia, as they expected. Nor did they get the protection they were looking for living outside the walls in such a turbulent time with the creation of two companies of the National Militia, because despite requesting 250 rifles and many sabers to defend themselves from possible attacks, the information collected by Javier Calvo points to that never arrived. But it was the lack of a term that put an end to the dream of independence. Diana was a town without its own streets.

In May 1839, less than two years later, Diana's adventure came to an end. Dénia's insistence was heard and, alluding to the fact that several reasons that led to the separation no longer existed, They managed to get approval for the reabsorption of the brief maritime municipality. What sense did independence have when there was no longer a physical separation when the new buildings had caused the street to unite? They pointed out from Dalt Dénia. What was the point of independence if they could not rule over their own soil? They would do the same from Baix la Mar.

Furthermore, a large part of the seafaring population, who surely also participated years ago in the festivities to celebrate Diana's independence, They wanted to rejoin their former intramural neighbors. It was difficult to digest so much failure in a row. The royal order that arrived on May 2, 1839, motivated by Dénia's umpteenth report (this time more thorough than ever), united the city again.

Although it can be understood as a defeat of the seaside neighborhood against Dalt Dénia, the truth is that Their situation emerged strengthened from that conflict in many terms.. To begin with, they achieved milestones that were so necessary for a neighborhood of that size, such as the possibility of being able to hold their own weekly markets and fairs, independent of those that took place within the walls. In addition, the opportunity to have a municipal mayor's office was offered, although it was never named. But, above all, the feeling of unity between those neighbors who lived next to the port and who created their own parallel society stood out, with customs and celebrations that have transcended almost two centuries later to continue being part of Baix la Mar today.

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