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Oropesa (Municipality, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain)

Last modified: 2020-04-04 by ivan sache
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Flag of Oropesa - Image by Ivan Sache, 11 September 2019

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Presentation of Oropesa

The municipality of Oropesa (2,658 inhabitants in 2018; 33,656 ha) is located 120 km west of Toledo and 40 km east of Talavera de la Reina.

Oropesa might have been named for the Celtiberian town of Orobesa, renamed by the romans to Comedium Orbis (the orb's center, as a reference to its localization in the center of Iberia).
The Moors established a settlement of certain significance, surrounded by walls (1,500 m in perimeter; 3-5 m in height, and 1 m in width), and watched by a fortified tower, on the model of the towns founded in border areas.

Reconquered by Alfonso VI at some time between 1080 and 1085, Oropesa, hardly populated and with its fortress reduced to a tower, was incorporated in the wide Common of the Town and Land of Ávila.
The re-settlement of the town and the building of the old castle was initiated by Alfonso VIII. In 1274, Alfonso X granted privileges to the re-settlers of the castle of Oropesa in order to boost the town. Infante Juan, son of Alfonso X, chartered the town in 1301 and initiated the increase of the town's fortifications and of the new castle, which turned into one of the strongest fortresses in Castile. Alfonso XI allowed in 1344 the organization of a fair to foster the economical and demographic development of the town.

In the 14th century, Oropesa belonged for a short period to Juan Núñez de Lara, lord of Lara, Albarracín and Biscay, who supported the aspiration of Henry of Trastámara to the throne of Castile. Henry's rival, Peter I, seized Oropesa and commissioned in 1355 his fidel supporter, García Álvarez de Toledo, Master of the Order of Saint John, to defend the town. Henry, crowned as Henry I, "pardoned" García Álvarez de Toledo, confirming his rule over Oropesa but appointed Gonzalo Mexía as the new Master of the Order of Saint James. The sacked Master became in 1366 the 1st lord of Oropesa, which was confirmed in 1369. The Álvarez de Toledo would rule the town for the net five centuries.

The feudal state of Oropesa included the towns of Alcañizo, Alcolea, La Calzada, Cebolla, Corchuela, Navalcán, Guadiervas Alta y Baja, Lagartera, Parrillas, Caleruela, Herreruela, Torrico y Torralba, Las Ventas de San Julián, and several depopulated villages, the whole forming the so-called Camapana de Oropesa (Land of Oropesa). This was the second biggest domain by its area in Ávila afdter the domain of Valdecorneja. The lords of Oropesa were also lords of Jarandilla de la Vera (Cáceres), which belonged until 1366 to the Council of Plasencia.
Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, 4th lord of Oropesa, was erected Count of Oropesa in 1477 as a reward for his support to Isabel the Catholic's claim to the throne against Joanna La Beltraneja.
The County of Oropesa declined in the 18th century, in the aftermath of the War of the Spanish Succession. Transferred at the end of the century to the Dukes of Alba, it was claimed and obtained in 1806 by the Duke of Frías.
[Historia y Genealogía, 22 January 2010]

Ivan Sache, 11 September 2019

Symbols of Oropesa

The flag of Oropesa, which does not seem to have been officially approved, is red with a chequy of 3 x 5 white and pieces in the center.
The flag is widely used during the town's Medieval Days organized every year (photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo).

Ivan Sache, 11 September 2019