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Puebla de Sanabria (Municipality, Castilla y León, Spain)

Last modified: 2020-02-11 by ivan sache
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Flag of Puebla de Sanabria - Image by Ivan Sache, 20 February 2014

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Presentation of Puebla de Sanabria

The municipality of Puebla de Sanabria (1,540 inhabitants in 2012; 8,139 ha; municipal website) is located in the northeast of the Zamora Province (Sanabria region), 120 km from Zamora. The municipality is made of the villages of Puebla de Sanabria (capital), Castellanos de Sanabria, Ungilde and Robledo. The main village is situated on a spur dominating the confluence of rivers Castro and Tera.

Puebla de Sanabria claims to be one of the oldest settlements in Zamora Province, being mentioned in a document of the Lugo Council dated 509 - although some authors argue that the whole region of Sanabria is referred there. Anyway, "urbe Senabria" existed for sure in the 10th century as the administrative center of the territory. The village might have been then surrounded by fortifications built by the Kings of León during their march southwards, but there is no historical or archeological records of such buildings.
The medieval castle was mentioned for the first time in 1132; Roderico Petri (Rodrigo Pérez) was listed as the lord of Senabria and Carvelada, while Ponce de Cabrera and Rodrigo Pérez were listed as the owners the fortress in 1158-1161. Fernando Ponce commanded the fortress in 1164, while in 1171 "mandante Senabrie comite Poncius et comitissa Maria Fernandiz" (Count Ponce and Countess María Fernándiz managed Sanabria); in 1188 "Fernandus Aldefonsus tenes Senabria".

In 1195, King Alfonso IX organized Puebla de Sanabria as a political, economical, judicial and military stronghold watching the border of León with Portugal. A charter was granted in 1220, while the castle and the walls were revamped. The quadrangular castle, protected by circular towers, built at the time, was quite innovative in its plan.
The significance of Puebla de Sanabria was maintained in the 13th century, a new charter being granted in 1273 by Alfonso X.
In the 14th century, the town belonged to Juan Alfonso de Albuquerque. King Peter I subsequently transferred it to Count Fernando de Castro, and, later, to Men Rodríguez de Sanabria. Peter I's son, John I transferred Puebla de Sanabria to Alvar Vázquez de Losada to reward his family for the support to his father during his struggle against his brother Henry. Losada merged Pueblo de Sanabria and La Carballeda into a single domain. In 1451, Mayor de Porras, mother and tutor of Marina de Losada, sold the half of Puebla de Sanabria to Alonso de Pimentel, 3rd Count of Benavente. The two main branches of Losada vanished in 1451 and 1476, respectively, leaving only the minor branch of Rionegro; this offered the Pimentel the opportunity to purchase the second half of the town, which was eventually achieved in 1489 after a long quarrel with the Losada heirs.

The castle of Puebla de Sanabria, rebuilt in the late 15th century by the Counts of Benavente, was severely damaged in the 17th century during the wars against Portugal. The Portuguese seized the town and its nearly ruined castle in 1710, being expelled by the Spanish troops only in 1716. Damaged again during the War of Independence and the Carlist Wars, the castle was transferred in 1887 to the municipality.

Ivan Sache, 20 February 2014

Symbols of Puebla de Sanabria

The flag of Pueblo de Sanabria ( photo, Town Hall) is light blue with the municipal arms in the center.

The coat of arms of Pueblo de Sanabria is "Azure a saltire or cantonned by four fleurs-de-lis of the same a bordure azure eight crescents argent. The shield surmounted by a Royal Spanish crown".

Ivan Sache, 20 February 2014