Congreso del Jamon Salamanca

To the southeast of the province of Salamanca, at an altitude exceeding one thousand meters, Guijuelo conveys name and resonance to the most important Spanish district in the Iberian pig-meat craft.
Enclaves like Ledrada, Campillo de Salvatierra, Béjar, Aldeavieja de Tormes, Frades de la Sierra, Miranda del Castañar, Palomares de Béjar, Puerto de Béjar, and Tamames comprise this district that elaborates more than 65 percent of the products of the national Iberian livestock.
Enveloped in the Central System, the privileged microclimate of the district with its cold and dry winters, as well as soft and short summers, allows for the perfect drying and maturation of the hams. In this area of unrivalled microclimate, hundreds of artisans, children and grandsons of artisans, create day after day, slowly and wisely, the Guijuelo Iberian Ham that is “unique in the world”.
Since the 15th century, we have reports of the appearance of the muleteer figure playing a more important role in the economy of this town, until then always tied to the name of Salvatierra, head of the district. As a result, the Cadastre of Ensenada showed 19 registered muleteers in Guijuelo, while the head of the Council showed none. However, in the mentioned cadastre, Guijuelo continued being an agricultural and cattle-raising town.
Until the War of Independence, these muleteers (merchants) traded with grains; they subsequently devoted themselves to the collection of hams in the areas of Sayazo and Benavente. When mules were replaced by cars, they achieved greater mobility and were able to make longer trips, thereby reaching the North of Zamora and Galicia.


This situation lasted until the last 25 years of the past century, when in 1880 the sacrificing of pigs embarked in an industrial direction, fostered by the construction of the National Highway and the railroad line. At this point, the traditional slaughter that was carried out for survival purposes in the rural framework of the national territory during the last days of October and during November (a proverb states “Every pig has its San Martin's day”) became widespread and repetitive from October to May. Consequently, the imprint of the sacrifice and subsequent public scorching may be appreciated during the aforementioned months.
All of this, as well as the weather and geographical conditions, allowed Guijuelo to relegate the agricultural and cattle-raising sector to a second place and set the basis for the subsequent economic development that was somewhat detached from the rural decadence appreciated in Spain.
This developing industry became the focal point for numerous farmers in the district towns. Many decided to transfer their residence to Guijuelo in search of an economic improvement. Understandably, this immigration produced an increase in the Village’s population and more manpower. These factors, in turn, contributed to its economic development and its impact on our present society.
The peak that Guijuelo reached at the beginning of this century allowed it to be granted the Weekly Market and the Annual Fair, as well as the title of Village of Guijuelo.
The weekly market and the annual fair became the ideal framework to carry out the commercial transactions of the district and promote the agricultural and cattle-raising products manufactured, as well as to sell the products elaborated in the Villa.
Another important detail regarding the consolidation of the pig-meat industry entailed the construction of the Municipal Slaughterhouse that was inaugurated in the year 1935, when it registered a sacrifice of 30,000 pigs. The slaughterhouse modified the aforementioned slaughter system and made it more profitable.
After the civil war, the industry of Guijuelo faced a considerable crisis, as the rest of the country, but it managed to recover from this ordeal.
After the 60’s, Guijuelo and its pig-meat industry reached a considerable development that continues even now, placing our village in one of the first positions in the Iberian pig world table at a national level.