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Ayamonte (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-12-11 by ivan sache
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Banner of Ayamonte - Image by Ivan Sache, 18 August 2016

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Presentation of Ayamonte

The municipality of Ayamonte (20,357 inhabitants in 2015; 14,200 ha; municipal website) is located in the extreme south-east of the Province of Huelva, on the border with Portugal, here river Guadiana, 60 km of Huelva.The municipality is made of the town of Ayamonte and of the settlements of Punta del Morla, Pozo del Camino, and Barriada de Canela.

Ayamonte is of unknown historical origin. The town might have been established by the Iberians on the top of a hill to watch the mouth of river Guadiana. The settlement would have been named Aya, a word allegedly meaning "a mount" in Iberian language. The subsequent Roman colonists renamed the place Aya Montis, Mt. Aya. Another possible origin is Greco-Phoenician; the place would have been named Anapote / Anapotanema, that is, "a fortress over the river". A last explanation invokes a Moorish ruler or saint named Ayud / Ayad.
The main archeological remains, however, are Roman. Pliny and Ptolemy mention the settlement of Ostium Fluminis Anae, meaning "the mouth of river Guadiana". The town was subsequently mentioned in the history and geography chronicles of Ahmed Mohamed Arrasi (10th century).
Like the neighbouring coastal towns, Ayamonte significantly contributed to the discovery of America. Rodrigo de Jerez, an experienced seaman from Ayamonte, and the young Gonzélez de Aguilar and Juan de Zamora, were members of Colombus' first expedition.

After the Christian reconquest, Ayamonte was fiercely disputed between Spain and Portugal. King of Castile Alfonso X the Wise (1222-1284) offered a part of the town to his daughter Beatriz, a her dowry when becoming Queen of Portugal. Partially reconquerred in 1239 by Sancho II of Portugal (1223-1247), the town was granted to the Order of St. James and eventually incorporated to Castile in 1335.
The Marquisate of Ayamonte was erected in 1521 by Charles I for Francisco de Zúñiga y Pérez de Guzmán (c. 1460-1525), the 2nd son of Pedro de Zúñiga y Manrique de Lara (1430-1484), 1st Count of Ayamonte.
Francisco Manuel Silvestre de Guzmán y Zúñiga, 6th Marquis of Ayamonte, was involved, together with Gaspar Pérez de Guzmán y Sandoval, 9th Duke of Medina Sidonia, in an alleged Andalusian independentist plot, exposed in 1641. The Duke of Medina Sidonia was pardoned by Philip IV while the Marquis of Ayamonte was publicly executed on 12 September 1648 in Segovia.
Ayamonte was granted the title of ciudad in 1664 by Philip IV, as a reward for the defence of the border with Portugal and its contribution to the discovery of America.

Ivan Sache, 18 August 2016

Symbols of Ayamonte

The flag of Ayamonte (photo, photo, photo) is vertically divided black-red with the municipal coat of arms, placed on a white disk, in the center.

@The coat of arms of Ayamonte is made of a tower or masoned sable the gate superimposed with a tree eradicated vert and surrounded by branches of laurel and palm tied by a ribbon gules. Neither the flag nor the arms appear to have been officially registered.
The tower represents the castle of Ayamonte (presentation). Probably rebuilt in the 13th century by the Moors on Roman foundations, the castle is listed on the donation made by Sancho II to the Order of St. James. Revamped in the 16th and 17th century, the castle was destroyed in 1755 by the Lisbon earthquake. Its last remains were suppressed in the 1960s.

Ivan Sache, 18 August 2016