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El Picazo (Municipality, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain)

Last modified: 2019-10-06 by ivan sache
Keywords: el picazo |
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Flag of El Picazo - Image by Ivan Sache, 24 June 2019

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Presentation of El Picazo

The municipality of El Picazo 679 inhabitants in 2018; 2,490 ha; unofficial website) is located 90 km south of Cuenca and 75 km north-west of Albacete.

El Picazo was mentioned in medieval documents as Picaçao / Pica├žo; the modern written forms, Picazo / El Picazo, appeared in the 18th century. In 1839, the official gazette of the Province of Cuenca listed the village as Picazo de Alarcón. Subsequently, the name in use was Picazo, except an occurrence of El Picazo in 1844. Article "El" (The) was added to the name of the village in 1910, so El Picazo has been used in all official documents since then.
The name El Picazo del Júcar was used in official documents released by other municipalities, for the first time, Campo de Criptana in 1917. It might have been used for the sake of differentiation from other places called El Picazo found in the Province of Guadalajara, or by association with the names used by other villages established along river Júcar: Olivares del Júcar, Valverde del Júcar, Villalgordo del Júcar, Alcalá del Júcar. The name of El Picazo del Júcar, was, however, never used by the village itself.

The etymology of El Picazo remains obscure. Trifón Muñoz Soliva (Historia de Cuenca, 1866) proposed a weird etymology, allegedly based on the Egyptian-Phoenician root pica, "rain", and on the Greek word zoo, "an animal". El Picazo would therefore have been a rainy place abundant in animals. There is no record of Egyptian, Phoenician or Greek colonization of the area, which makes the proposed etymology very spurious. More probably, the name of El Picazo alludes to its location; the Iberian root *pic / *piel means "a slope", while the -azo / -acho / -ayo suffix is derived from Latin "aceus, a, with an augmentative or pejorative meaning. Like other Spanish toponyms (Picacho, Picato, Picayo), El Picazo refers, beyond reasonable doubt, to a height. This explanation does not match the village's location, in the valley of river Júcar; it appears that the original settlement was established atop the St. Quiteria hill (today in the municipality of Tébar), and subsequently, long before the Roman colonization, moved down to the fertile valley.

The Muslim rule has not yielded any archeological remains but the legend of the Enchanted Rock. This rocky spur located north of the village is the alleged home of an enchanted Moorish woman, who goes down to the river every St. John's Day to comb her hair. The Moors introduced irrigation of the crops via a noria established on the river, which was fundamental for the villagers' life for centuries. The noria was replaced by motorized pumps only in the last third of the 20th century.
After the Christian reconquest, El Picazo was one of the first settlements established in the jurisdiction of Alarcón. The hamlet is listed in documents dated 1420 and 1433.

Ivan Sache, 24 June 2019

Symbols of El Picazo

The flag of El Picazo (photo, photo, photo) is prescribed by an Order issued on 13 March 1998 by the Government of Castilla-La Mancha and published on 27 March 1998 in the official gazette of Castilla-La Mancha, No. 15 p. 2,322 (text).
The flag is described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular, in proportions 2:3, composed of five horizontal stripes of equal width, the upper and the lower, red, the central, blue, and the intermediate, white.

The coat of arms of El Picazo is prescribed by an Order issued on 13 March 1998 by the Government of Castilla-La Mancha and published on 27 March 1998 in the official gazette of Castilla-La Mancha, No. 15 p. 2,322 (text).
The coat of arms is described as follows:

Coat of arms: Gules a bend sinister azure fimbriated argent cantonned with a pine argent and a cabbage head argent. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed.

The Royal Academy of History recommended modifications to the proposed arms. The bend sinister is not common in traditional arms, being considered as a mere variant of the bend. Accordingly, the Academy recommended to change it for a bend.
The Academy validated the proposed arms "without any inconvenience"
[Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia 195:2, 383. 1998]

Ivan Sache, 24 June 2019