GOLEGÃ

Golegã, once part of the village Santarém, was elevated to the category of village by letter of the King João III, on November 3rd, 1534. According to several authors, the village has its provenance during the reign of D. Afonso Henriques (1st King of Portugal) or D. Sancho I (2nd King of Portugal), when a woman, natural of Galicia (Spain), who lived in Santarém, settled down with an inn in the village. That Golegã already existed in the fifteenth century there is no doubt, and after Galega settled in, the village had many names: Venda da Galega, Póvoa da Galega, Vila da Galega and, later, by corruption of language, Golegã.

Already in the eighteenth century, and with the support given by Marquês de Pombal, the horse fain began to take an important and competitive nature, hosting equestrian contests and different horse breeds competitions; the best horse breeders exhibited in Golegã. In the nineteenth century, based on the agriculture development of the region, Golegã had great importance again, thanks to two great farmers and statesmen: Carlos Relvas, a nobleman from the Royal House, close friend of the King, commander, farmer, artist and owner of several farms and two palaces; and José Relvas, his son, vastly attached to the republican cause, Ministry of Finances and also a great artist.

In the mid-eighteenth century began the Fair of Golegã, called until 1972 Feira de São Martinho, and after that, the name was changed to National Horse Fair. It’s the most important of all the fairs of the same kind taking place in Portugal and worldwide. Here, all the horse breeders are presented, with their beautiful specimens, reason why, it’s in Golegã that the best Lusitano horses are sold to many parts of the world.