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Espinosa de los Monteros (Municipality, Castilla y León, Spain)

Last modified: 2019-01-13 by ivan sache
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Flag of Espinosa de los Monteros - Image from the Escudos y Banderas de la Provincia de Burgos website, 24 January 2014

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Presentation of Espinosa de los Monteros

The municipality of Espinosa de los Monteros (2,007 inhabitants in 2012; 1,375 ha; municipal website) is located in the north of the Province of Burgos, 100 km of Burgos.

Espinosa de los Monteros was founded c. 800 BC by Cantabrian tribes; the settlement, known as Velliga, was established on a wide, safe place, protected by mount Edilla and river Trueba. Velliga was one of the last pockets of resistance to the Roman colonists. The Romans seized and completely destroyed the town, which was rebuilt and renamed Barrutha / Barrustha ("a place completely enclosed", referring to the thick wall protecting the town). During the Visigothic invasion, the town was once again totally destroyed after a battle won by King Atanagildus in 554. The Visigothic re-settlers established a series of small settlements (Santotis, Nestedo, San Miguel, Villaverde, Santiago, Santuyán, San Pedro de Tasugueras and San Juan), the area being known as Val de Espina, later Val de Espinosa, as a reference to the thorny bushes (espinos) common in the region. Located in the no man's land (terra de nadie) between the Christian and Moorish states, Espinosa was once again destroyed c. 920.

Espinosa re-emerged in 1006, according to a story mixing historical facts and legends. Count Sancho García then lived in San Esteban, while his opponent, Mahomad Almohadio, lived in Gormaz. The count invited the Moorish prince to a hunting party, after which Mahomad had a passionate romance with Aba, the count's mother. Upset by the strong opposition of the count, his mother decided to get rid of him by serving him a poisoned beverage. The countess planned to warn her lover of the success of the plot by throwing a huge quantity of straw into river Duero, giving to the Saracens the signal to attack San Esteban.
Faithful to the count, Cobigera, the countess' maid, asked her husband, Sancho Espinosa Peláez, majordomo of the count, to warn him of the plot. Back from a hunting party, the count was offered a refreshment by his mother; he forced her to drink the beverage, which killed her immediately. Sancho ordered to throw straw into the Duero to fool Mahomad and attract him in a place where he defeated him. His majordomo fought side by side with him, acting as a shield protecting his lord. As a reward, the count established the Corps of Monteros of Espinosa for the majordomo and his family. The Monteros de Espinosa, the oldest bodyguard unit of Royal Guards in Europe, are still part of the Spanish Royal Guard.
The re-settlement of the town was indeed started in 1084 by the Navarrese knight Martín Ruiz de Berrueza, commissioned by King Alfonso VI.

Ivan Sache, 24 January 2014

Symbols of Espinosa de los Monteros

The flag (photo) and arms of Espinosa de los Monteros are prescribed by a Decree adopted on 17 March 2004 by the Municipal Council, signed on 19 March 2004 by the Mayor, and published on 1 April 2004 in the official gazette of Castilla y León, No. 63, p. 4,349 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Or, from the dexter border of the flag at 0.25 from the upper and lower angles emerge two gyrons of 0.15 in base and 0.50 in length. The first gyron is gules and the second is vert. In the middle of the flag is placed the municipal coat of arms.
Coat of arms: Or a castle gules masoned or and sable surrounded by two trees vert terraced of the same. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed.

Ivan Sache, 24 January 2014