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Gibraleón (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-12-20 by ivan sache
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Flag of Gibraleón - Image from the Símbolos de Huelva website, 27 August 2016

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Presentation of Gibraleón

The municipality of Gibraleón (12,508 inhabitants in 2015; 32,800 ha; municipal website) is located 15 km north of Huelva.

Gibraleón was already settled in the Prehistoric times; artefacts excavated in the Sierra de la Cavilla, kept in the Huelva Archeological Museum, are among the oldest Paleolithic remains in the province. Remains of Phoenician and Tartessian settlements were found near rivers Tinto and Odiel.
During the Muslim period, the town was known as Yabal Al Uyum, the Fountains' Mount. After the fall of the Caliphate in the 11th century, the town became the seat of a local ruler; remains of the fortress of the time are still visible. The fortress was described by the chroniclers Ibn Haayyan (11th century) and al Idrisi (12th century).

After the reconquest of the area by Alfonso X the Wise in 1262, Gibraleón was granted to the Council of Seville. Trade and cattle-breeding (the yearly cattle fair was first organized in 1523) were the main source of income of the town, which enjoyed a swift urban increase in the 14th-15th century.
Álvaro II de Zúñiga y Guzmán (d. 1531), 2nd Duke of Béjar, was made Marquis of Gibraleón in 1526 by Charles I. Encompassing Rincón de San Antón, Cartaya, San Miguel de la Arca de Buey, Punta Umbría, San Bartolomé de la Torre, Villanueva de los Castillejos, Sanlúcar de Guadiana, and El Granado, the Marquisate covered 1,060 square km, that is more than 10% of the future Province of Huelva.
Miguel de Cervantes dedicated the first part of"El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha, published in Madrid in 1605 by Juan de la Cuesta, to Alonso Diego López de Zúñiga y Sotomayor (1578-1619), 6th Duke of Béjar and 7th Marquis of Gibraleón.

Ivan Sache, 27 August 2016

Symbols of Gibraleón

The flag (photo, photo, photo, photo, photo) and arms of Gibraleón, adopted on 28 July 2009 by the Municipal Council and submitted on 4 August 2009 to the Directorate General of the Local Administration, are prescribed by a Resolution adopted on 1 September 2009 by the Directorate General of the Local Administration and published on 14 September 2009 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 180, p. 32 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular, in proportions 2:3, purple. Charged in the center with the municipal coat of arms.
Coat of arms: Single-quartered shield. Argent a bend sable orled by a chain or. The shield surmounted by a Marquis' coronet.

The flag is a "rehabilitation" of the flag used, unofficially, since the 1980s.
The coat of arms is a "rehabilitation" of the arms granted on 28 February 1905 by Luis Rubio y Ganga, Chronicler and King of Arms of King Alfonso XIII, as "Argent a bend sable a bordure dimitiated purpure charged with a chain of 27 pieces or. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown ancient."
Tomás López' Relaciones (1787), for long forgotten, describe canting arms featuring a snake (jiba / jiva) struggling with a lion (león). This refers to a spurious explanation of the town's name, which alludes to a lion sent by the king to get rid of a snake that scared the inhabitants of the town. The shield is surmounted by an orb, a scroll inscribed with "tod es poco", and an Imperial crown. Rubio indeed designed the arms after Madoz' description: "The arms of the Zúñiga lineage: a black bend, a field argent and a chain or".
[Juan José Antequera. Principios de transmisibilidad en las heráldicas officiales de Sevilla, Córdoba y Huelva]

The Zúñiga lineage is related to the old king of Navarre Iñigo Jiménez de Arista. His son, García Iñiguez, King of Navarre in 867, married Urraca. One of their sons, Fortún García, married Oría; their son, Lope Fortún, got a child with an unknown woman, Fortún López, Duke and lord of Zúñiga. His grand grand-nephew, Sancho Iñiguez, appears to be the first to have used Zúñiga as his family name - then written Stúñiga.
Diego Iñiguez, 4th lord of Zúñiga, was Alferez Mayor of Navarre; during the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa (1212), he was among the knights who broke the chained Black Guard surrounding the tent of the Moorish king Miramamolín.
The Castilian branch of the Zúñiga wisely supported Henry of Trastamare during his struggle against his brother, Peter I the Cruel. They were rewarded with the title of Counts of Ledesma and Plasencia. Alvaro de Zúñiga first supported Joan la Beltraneja; anticipating her defeat, he betrayed her for Isabel the Catholic, being rewarded with the title of Duke of Béjar. His son Juan changed his written name from Stúñiga to Zúñiga.

The original arms of Zúñiga were "Gules a bend or". The chain was subsequently added to commemorate the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa. In 1270, Diego López de Stúñiga changed the arms to "Argent a bend sable...", as a sign of mourning of the kings Louis IX of France (St. Louis) and Theobald II of Navarra, who had died during the 8th Crusade.
[F. Piferrer. Nobiliario de los Reinos y Señoríos de España, ilustrado con un Diccionario de Heráldica. 1857-1859]

Ivan Sache, 27 August 2016