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Cebolla (Municipality, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain)

Last modified: 2020-10-08 by ivan sache
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Presentation of Cebolla

The municipality of Cebolla (3,263 inhabitants in 2018; 3,677 ha; municipal website) is located 50 km west of Toledo and 30 km west of Torrijos.

Cebolla is a toponym of Arab origin, kept by the Mozarabs who re-settled the place. The name could have been derived from yevayla, "a hill", through Yubaila / Zeboila / Zebolla (14th century), referring to the place where the church and the neighboring settlement were built. Another possibility is gebel'la, "God-made", referring to the establishment of the village around the mosque (subsequently transformed into the parish church).

The Roman estate of Los Merillos was established on the most fertile plot of the area, close to river Tagus. The place was abandoned in the 11th century, probably because of the proliferation of mosquitos or floods. Los Merillos was granted in 1215 by Alfonso VIII to the bishop of Plasencia.
On 17 April 1640, Domingo Francia obtained permission to collect artifacts (pottery, glasses, mosaics and funerary remains from the Roman and Visigoth periods) scattered near the river. A Roman altar and the fragment of a big sarcophagus indicate that the estate belonged to a noted person, probably a Celto-Roman named Asterio.
The Romans also build the early castle of Villalba to watch the road connecting Emerita Augusta (Mérida) and Toletum (Toledo). The castle was replaced in the 11th-12th centuries by a big Muslim fortress.

Cebolla was first mentioned in a Mozarab document dated 1184. The settlement included the hamlets of La Aldehuela, Villalba, Sanchón and Las Casas de Cebolla (the first name of Cebolla). Las Casas de Cebolla and the castle of Villalba were granted in 1205 to the Order of Calatrava, and, subsequently, to the Order of the Temple. King John II took shelter in the castle of Villalba after having escaped from Talavera, where Infante Henry of Aragón intended to overthrow him.
Cebolla was granted the title of villa in 1477.

Ivan Sache, 9 September 2019

Symbols of Cebolla

The flag of Cebolla (photo, photo) is prescribed by an Order issued on 28 February 1994 by the Government of Castilla-La Mancha and published on 9 March 1994 in the official gazette of Castilla-La Mancha, No. 16, p. 1,209 (text).
The flag is described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular, in proportions 2:3, yellow. In the center, a green fig tree above two blue keys crossed in saltire.

The coat of arms of Cebolla is prescribed by Decree No. 14, issued on 10 February 1987 by the Government of Castilla-La Mancha and published on 24 February 1994 in the official gazette of Castilla-La Mancha, No. 10, p. 359 (text).
The coat of arms is described as follows:

Coat of arms: Spanish shield. Per fess, 1. Or a fig tree vert in base two crosses azure in saltire, 2. Argent two wolves sable in pale. The shield surmounted by Royal crown closed.

The arms were designed in 1986 by Buenaventura Leblic García.
The fig tree symbolizes the inhabitants' work and productivity.
The keys recall the village of Mañosa, now part of Cebolla as the origin of most of the founders of the town. The keys are taken from the wrought iron chair (16th century) of its former parish church, dedicated to St. Peter (today, to St. Blasius).
The wolves are taken from the canting arms of the López de Ayala lineage, lords of Cebolla. These arms are featured on the pillory erected after the status of villa was granted to Cebolla in 1477.
[Municipal website]

The Royal Academy of History validated the proposed symbols "without inconvenience".
[Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia 184:2,376. 1987]

During the processions of the Holy Week, a square yellow flag is used by one of the brotherhoods, the Agrupación Baile de la Bandera y Tambores de Cebolla. The flag (photo; video) is charged in the center with the municipal coat of arms and the name of the town written in black letters beneath the shield.

Ivan Sache, 9 September 2019