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CALAFAT QUARANTINE

     The geographical position of Calafat favored the economical and social development of the settlement. Its origins are still uncertain. It is supposed to be of Genoveese or Byzantine origin. The documented settlement dates from 1424, when Dan the 2nd attests through a document the ownership of the Tismana monastery over the village Valea Cumarilor and of the customs from Calafat.
      Calafat was at a crossroad of some important commercial routes. On the Danube, on the E-V direction, but also on land, on the N-S direction. Calafat linked Wallachia to the commercial routes network south of the Danube. The commercial importance of the settlement is demonstrated by the fact that the customs were documentary attested before the town!!!
In 1830 came into function the quarantines set on the Danube shore, that had the role to form a sanitary belt, protecting the country from the plague and cholera epidemics that started south of the Danube. The idea existed for a longer period. In 1812, during the Caragea plague, functioned on the border crossing points, on the Danube (among which also in Calafat), such quarantines.
      Among the 11 quarantines established in 1830 was also the Calafat quarantine, first class quarantine, complete withmedical and administrative personnel. The medical personnel was made up of a "cirovnic doftoricesc" (medical doctor) and two undertakers, and the administrative one of a commissary, sub-commissary and three servants. The Quarantine Inspector of Oltenia was supposed to have its headquarter in Calafat.
      On the 20th of January 1830 as captain of the Calafat Quarantine was elected flag-bearer Costache Nicolaide, having as help "logofat" (a local administrative rank) Dumitrache Truica. Three servants and two undertakers completed the personnel.       In the spring of the same year arrives at Calafat "podpolcovnic" Nilson and "medelniceru" Iancu Dimarcea to choose the place were to build the quarantine headquarter. The first medical doctor of the Calafat Quarantine was Mihalache Andronic, who had a salary of 400 lei per month. After him followed Dr. Constantin Papaiodoros and Dr. Scarla Tinc. Between the years 1837 - 1840 was Dr. Dimitrie Culur and in 1853 the quarantine and city doctor was Dr. Victor Pozi.
      A military guard made up of "dorobanti" (foot soldiers) and "calarasi" (cavalry) assured the guard of the quarantine, as well as two river ships. The disinfecting system was made up of the washing with water of the various categories of goods, the soaking of letters with vinegar or other purifying substances (chlorine-gas) and later the passing through an oven or a smoker. Purified letters were applied a quarantine stamp. Kiriac Dragomir described the types of seals and stamps used over the years by the Calafat Quarantine.
      The quarantine activity was based on professionalism and determination, the decisions of the management being respected totally. Therefore, in September 1848, the leader of the Calafat Quarantine held negotiations with the Vidin county, which solicited the reduction of the quarantine term for turkish troops that were to enter the country! If initially the isolation term for quarantine was for 40 days (even the name quarantine comes from the French "quarente" meaning 40), in 1830 it was down to between 4 - 24 days for people. Non-observances of the quarantine measures were severely punished, going up to conviction of forced labor in salt quarries and confiscation of goods.
      The activity of the quarantine was closely linked to the activity of border control and customs.
      The Calafat Port was in the N-V part of the town, on the riverside. Next to the port were the "dorobanti" quarters the captains headquarters and the customs.
      The quarantine was higher up on the hill. The commander of the border patrol also had the function of port captain. Up to 1883 in Calafat was stationed, temporary or permanently, a series of military detachments entrusted with the border patrol. In 1883 were finished the new barracks of the 31st regiment Calafat.
      Organized by the Law from 1850, the Border Patrol Corps was split into five battalions of four companies each, totaling almost 7700 soldiers. The residence of the 1st battalion was in Calafat.
      In 1864, by Royal Decree, the border patrol troops were split into four inspecting units. The 3rd Company of the 1st battalion was quartered in Calafat.
      
Engineer C. Scaiceanu
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