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Arévalo (Municipality, Castilla y León, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-06-03 by ivan sache
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Flag of Arévalo - Image by Ivan Sache (reconstructed image, no original seen), 24 June 2011

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Presentation of Arévalo

The municipality of Arévalo (8,114 inhabitants in 2010, therefore the 2nd most populous municipality in the province; 4,607 ha; municipal website) is located in the north of Ávila Province, on the border with Segovia Province, 60 km of Ávila.

Arévalo, mentioned for the first time in 1090 as Arevalorum, is named for the Celtic words are valón, meaning "close to the wall", "between the rivers" or "the extreme Vacceae".
The local tradition says that the town was reconquerred in 746 by King Alfonso I after the victory of five Christian knights over five Moorish knights. The effective resettlement was started in 1082 by Alfonso VI and managed by the Five Lineages.
Transferred to the Bishop of Palencia in 1090, Arévalo sent in 1111 its militias to the Battle of Valdespino, supporting Urraca and her son Alfonso. In 1140, Pope Innocent II confirmed the transfer of the town and the neighboring parishes to the Bishop of Ávila, made in 1135 by Alfonso VII. The domains of the Five Lineages, the villages, the church and the town council formed the Universidad de la Tierra de Arévalo, mentioned for the first time in 1219.
Until the unification of the Kingdoms of Castilla y León in 1230, Arévalo was a significant fortress located in Castile, watching the border with Leon. The Castilian court stayed in the town in 1174-1178, starting the negotiations that would end with the reunification. On 16 July 1212, five regiments form Arévalo fought in the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa, bearing the banner (pendón) of the Bishop of Ávila and commanded by the King of Navarra. The tradition says that the municipal arms and the Old Charter (Fuero Viejo) were granted on this day.
In 1214, Alfonso VIII died in Gutierre-Muñoz, a hamlet of Arévalo.

Alfonso X confirmed on 20 June 1256 the Charter of the Arms (Fuero de los Excudos) while Sancho IV issued in 1287 the Charter of the Laws (Fuero de las Leyes); these charters formed a legal corpus known as the Arévalo Charter (Fuero de Arévalo). In the 12th-13th centuries, Arévalo was embellished in the Mudéjar style, forming today the biggest settlement in Castile built in that style. Protected by thick walls, Arévalo became a strategic place in the Kingdom of Castile. In 1353, King Peter I the Cruel transferred the town to his wife, Blanche of Bourbon; three days after the celebration of the Royal marriage on 3 June 1353 in Valladolid, Peter jailed Blanche in the castle of Arévalo.
Alvaro de Stúñiga was made Duke of Arévalo on 20 December 1469. Isabel the Catholic, born in 1451 in the neighboring town of Madrigal de las Altas Torres, spent a part of her youth in Arévalo; on 23-25 July 1480, the Duke of Arévalo retroceded the Duchy to the Crown.
Arévalo was granted the title of ciudad on 19 June 1894 by Regent Queen Maria Christina of Habsbourg-Lorraine, in the name of her son Alfonso XIII.

Arévalo has a significant railway station, inaugurated on 25 November 1860 with a passenger train coming from Valladolid. On 1 June 1863, the railway was extended to Madrid while the first Madrid-Irún train crossed Arévalo in 1866. The wonderful Railway Bridge crossing river Adaja was designed by the French engineer Santiago Bergonier.
A big accident occurred during the night of 11 January 1944 in the Arévalo station, claiming 41 lives; on 28 December 1945, the town was granted the Grand Cross of Beneficence with the black and white ribbon and the title of "Muy Humanitaria" (Very Humanitarian), as a reward to the help provided by the inhabitants to people injured in the accident.

Ivan Sache, 24 June 2011

Symbols of Arévalo

The flag of Arévalo (photo, 16 February 2011) is crimson red with the municipal coat of arms in the middle.

The coat of arms of Arévalo (municipal website) is prescribed in the Royal grant of arms issued on 25 January 1905 in the name of Alfonso XIII, as follows:

The coat of arms represents a warrior armed with a helmet, a spear and a coat of mail leaving a fortress, born by the municipality "from immemorial time", decorated with the titles of "Muy Noble, Muy Ilustre y Muy Leal" [Very Noble, Very Famous and Very Loyal] granted by Alfonso VIII for the bravery shown by its regiments in 1212 in the famous Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa. Since then the arms were awarded the title of "Muy Humanitaria" and the Grand Cross of Beneficence.

The arms of Arévalo appear in the 3rd quarter of the arms of Ávila Province.

Ivan Sache, 24 June 2011