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La Peña (Municipality, Castilla y León, Spain)

Last modified: 2020-10-06 by ivan sache
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Flag of La Peña - Image by Ricardo Gil Turrión, 11 December 2016

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Presentation of La Peña

The municipality of La Peña (110 inhabitants in 2015; 2,519 ha) is located 90 km north-west of Salamanca.

La Peña is named for the huge rock locally known as Peña Gorda (Big Rock), a single block (40 m in height, 70 m in diameter) of syenite, which was relieved from surrounding material by erosion. The local legend recalls that a shepherd once used stones to guide his sheep. The Blessed Virgin picked up a stone that had missed the target and had fallen down to the ground, then another one, but decided not to pick up the third one, resuming her way. The stone "decided" to stay there and grew up into a big rock. The rock is also said to conceal a statue of the golden calf.
[La Gaceta de Salamanca, 4 February 2015].

Ivan Sache, 11 December 2016

Symbols of La Peña

The flag and arms of La Peña (designer's images) are prescribed by an Agreement adopted on 14 March 2016 by the Municipal Council, signed on 21 June 2016 by the Mayor and published on 5 July 2016 in the official gazette of Castilla y León, No. 128, p. 31,010 (text).
The symbols, which are supported by a memoir written by Ricardo Gil Turrión, are described as follows:

Flag: Quadrangular, in proportions 1:1. Green with a yellow saltire with arms in width 1/6 of the flag's hoist and charged in the center with the municipal coat of arms. A red border in width 1/6 of the flag's hoist, charged with eight yellow saltires.
Coat of arms: Spanish shield rounded-off in base. Per fess, 1. Vert a rock or, 2. The arms of the Duchy of Alburquerque, "Or two pallets gules grafted in base vert a dragon or a bordure gules eight saltires or". The shield surmounted by a Spanish Royal crown closed.

The Duchy of Alburquerque was erected in 20 August 1464 by Henry IV for his favourite, Beltrán de la Cueva (1435-1492). The increasing influence of Beltrán de la Cueva on the weak king stirred the wrath of the Castilian nobility, especially after the king had transferred him the title of Master of the Order of St. James, usually bore by the king himself. Accordingly, Beltrán de la Cueva was removed from the Court and from the Order; as a compensation, he was granted several towns (Anguix, Cuéllar, Roa, La Codosera, Aranda, Molina de Aragón, and Atienza) and made Duke of Alburquerque, a town in the Province of Badajoz (Extremadura). His lineage kept the title until 1811, when JosˇéMiguel de la Cueva y de la Cerda, 14th Duke of Alburquerque, died in London without male heirs. After a long lawsuit, the title was transferred in 1830 to Nicolás Osorio y Zayas. The present-day's head of the House of Alburquerque is Juan Miguel Osorio y Bertrán de Lis, 19th Duke of Albuquerque, Duke of Algete, Marquis of Alcañices, Marquis of Cadreita, Marquis of Montaos, Marquis of Cuéllar, Count of Fuensaldaña, Count of Grajal and Count of Villanueva de Cañedo.
[Noble y Real, 20 March 2011]

The arms of the de la Cueva recalls the legendary origin of the lineage: a knight Beltrán once killed a snake at the entrance of a cave located in the Sobrarbe mountains (Province of Huesca, Aragón), and was renamed as de la Cueva ("the Cave's"). Historical sources, however, indicate that the lineage most probably emerged in a place called La Cueva, located in the Manzanedo valley (Province of Burgos). Various sources say that the lower quarter was originally "Argent a dragon vert" (Argote de Molina calls the beast sierpe, "a snake"), to be changed to "Vert a dragon or" by the Dukes of Albuquerque.
The saltires (St. Andrew's crosses) are a tribute to the knights from the de la Cueva lineage who contributed to the reconquest of Baeza by Ferdinand III the Saint on 30 November 1227 (St. Andrew's Day).
[Blasones Hispanos]

Ivan Sache, 11 December 2016