The history of the municipality of Montijo is intensely linked to the Tagus River since a large area of its territory is delimited by it. The favourable natural conditions have been at the origin of the human presence since the Paleolithic; as evidenced by archaeological testimonies found in the region.
At the genesis of the municipality of Aldeia Galega is the wider municipality of Ribatejo, dating back to the 16th century. lts inhabitants were dedicated to fishing, the exploitation of salt pans, and the production of wine. The supply of wine, salt and fruit, both to Lisbon and ships anchored in the Tagus, was at the origin of the intense movement of vessels, namely, barges. The ferry from Aldeia Galega was specifically intended to transport firewood. ln the 18th century, there was a gradual change in the local economy: the preponderance of activities linked to the river and agriculture gave way to commercial and industrial activities, namely the trade and processing of swine cattle.
ln the fertile lands of Aldeia Galega, cereals, wine and fruits grew, pine forests abounded and the river provided fish, seafood and salt. lts agricultural and industrial economy, allied to the aforementioned geographical situation – a point of scale for those who wanted to reach the capital of the kingdom, coming from the south of the border, or for those who travelled from Lisbon to those directions -, made Aldeia Galega do Ribatejo an important trading post. The construction of the railway in the south and southeast, by diverting the flow of passengers and goods, led to an economic recession in the locality that was overcome by the increase in trade and processing of swine cattle.
The 20th century and until the 50s saw the expansion of this activity, as well as the cork lndustry. At the same time as this economic boom, the town of Montijo saw important infrastructures and facilities emerge: the Bullring, the Municipal Market, the Joaquim d’Almeida Cinema-Theater, the County Jail, the Palace of Justice, the reformulation of the Carlos Laurel Municipal Park. With Law no. 22/2012 of 30 May and Law no. 11-A/2013 of 28 January, the municipality of Montijo is now composed of five parishes and parish unions: União das Freguesias de Atalaia and Alto Estanqueiro-Jardia; Parish of Canha; Union of Parishes Montijo and Afonsoeiro; Union of Parishes of Pegões and Parish of Sarilhos Grandes.