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Cabezón de Pisuerga (Municipality, Castilla y León, Spain)

Last modified: 2015-01-17 by ivan sache
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Presentation of Cabezón de Pisuerga

The municipality of Cabezón de Pisuerga (3,440 inhabitants in 2010; 7,597 ha; municipal website) is located in the northeast of Valladolid Province, 10 km from Valladolid.

Cabezón de Pisuerga is located on a strategic site, at the most convenient place for crossing river Pisuerga between Palencia and Valladolid.
The Cerro del Altamira hill was the site of a Celtiberian citadel, excavated by the archeologist Federico Wattemberg. Among the several Roman remains found in the municipality, the most spectacular is the mosaic found in 1958 in Finca de Santa Cruz, located three km from the downtown on the right bank of Pisuerga. Representing the "Diomedian swap" after Homer's Iliad (Book Vi), the mosaic belonged to a Roman villa dated from the 4th century, as part of a gallery watching the river. The Santa Cruz mosaic was transferred in 1986 to the Valladolid Archeological Museum.

In 905, King Alfonso III resettled the village as Cabezón de Cerrato; a primitive castle was built on the Cerro del Altamiro, as part of the fortification line protecting Valladolid from Moorish raids, together with the fortresses of Simancas and Tordesillas. The village was then surrounded by a wall connected to the castle, which made of it an impregnable Christian stronghold. The tradition says that there was also an underground fortress with hidden access to the river to get water for horses in case of siege. Resettled earlier than Valladolid, Cabezón was the capital of an alfoz (group of villages), including Valladolid as mentioned in a chart dated 21 May 1095. In 1089, Alfonso VI granted Valladolid to Count Pedro Ansurez, lord of Cabezón, as a reward for his support against his brother Sancho; this boosted the development of Valladolid, which superseded Cabezón. In 1243, Fernando III the Saint incorporated Cabezón into the Valladolid Council, which was confirmed in 1255 by Alfonso X the Wise.

In 1359, the fortress of Cabezón was the place of an episode of the struggle that opposed King Peter I the Cruel to his adulterine brother Henry, related by the chronicler Alonso Marténez de Toledo. Ten esquires were about to betray the commander of the fortress, who had taken Henry's party, asking to be supplied with ten women to became loyal; the commander proposed to supply them with the only two available women, his wife and daughter; upset by the bargain, two of the revolted esquires left the fortress and informed the king, who asked to be delivered the eight remaining esquires and order to quarter them.
In 1494, the Cabezón Truces were signed by King Henry IV and his brother Alfonso, who would succeed him instead of his probably adulterine daughter Joan. Alfonso's unexpected death reopened the struggle between Joan and Henry's sister, Isabel; Juan de Vivero, commander of the Cabezón fortress, took Isabel's party and raised her banner, an act for which he was rewarded in 1473 by Henry IV with the title of Viscount of Altamira.

On 12 June 1808, the Spanish army commanded by General Gregorio de la Cuesta was defeated by Napoleén's troops, commanded by General Lassalle. The Battle of Cabezón is considered as the first significant battle in the War of Independence that took place in Castile. The swift victory allowed the French to enter Valladolid on the same day.

Ivan Sache, 24 May 2011

Symbols of Cabezón de Pisuerga

The flag and arms of Cabezón de Pisuerga, adopted on 16 June 1988 by the Municipal Council and validated by the Royal Academy of History, are prescribed by a Decree adopted on 17 February 1989 by the Government of Castilla y León and published on 24 February 1989 in the official gazette of Castilla y León, No. 39 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Yellow with a blue wavy saltire. In the middle of the flag is placed the municipal coat of arms of Cabezón.
Coat of arms: Per fess, 1. Gules a tower or masoned sable port and windows azure a men's head issuant, 2a. Per pale wavy serrated or and gules, 2b. Azure a bridge or masoned sable on waves argent and azure. The shield surmounted with a Royal crown closed.

The bridge (municipal website) represented on the arms, built in the early Middle Ages, was revamped in 1587 by the architect Juan de Ribera Rada, who also worked for the building of the Escorial palace and designed the Palencia Main Bridge and the apse nave of the Salamanca New Cathedral, where he was buried. The last significant modifications to the bridge were performed in 1638 due to the revamping of the causeway. In 1812, the third arch from the left bank of the river was destroyed to stop the advance of the French troops; the arch was subsequently rebuilt, first of wood and then of stone, as it was before.

Ivan Sache, 24 May 2011