Last modified: 2020-10-11 by ivan sache
Keywords: capilla |
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The municipality of Capilla (182 inhabitants in 2019 vs. 894 in 1930; 14,700 ha; municipal website) is located on the borders with Castilla-La Mancha (Province of Ciudad Real) and Andalusia (Province of Córdoba), is located 220 km east of Badajoz and 40 km east of Castuera.
Capilla has yielded eight steles dating from the late Bronze Age, as found in other places of the eastern Province of Badajoz. The steles, made of more or less rectangular quartzite flagstones, were planted in the soil; they are engraved with a central human figure surrounded by personal stuff that indicates exchanges with other cultures, especially from central Europe and eastern Mediterranean basin. The steles found in Capîlla are either of the feminine, diadem-bearing type or of the masculine, warrior's type. These artifacts are usually interpreted as funerary steles indicating the place of burial of people of significant social rank; more recnt studies offer an alternative interpretation, as posts delimiting a territory or indicating key sites, used by cattle-breeders during the process of territorialization. The representation on one stele of two-wheeled carts of archaic Greek type provides evidence for a Phoenician influence initiated in the 8th century BC.
The same eastern influence apeears on the rock paintings of La Posada de los Buitres, in the Sierra de la Moraleja. Some 240 figures are scattered over 12 shelters, which makes datation tedious - the possible range starts with the Neolithic and ends with the First Iron Age. Feminine and masculine figures are represented, either isolated or grouped, drawn with schematic strips of varying width. Spirals, concentric circles and radial shapes, also frequent, resist interpretation. Two-wheeled carts are represented, as a symbol of power.
The site of La Tabla de las Cañas, originally located on the right bank of river Zújar and now flooded by the Serena dam, is attributed to the Turdetani, a people that appeared in the 5th century BC in the south of the Guadlaquivir. In 1969, a small bronze statue representing a dancing man, called the Capilla silene, was found. Of clear Greek influence, the statue is dated to the second half of the 5th century BC.
The fortified village of Peñón del Pez, located on a rocky spur 600 m south of the present-day's village of Capilla, was most probably established by Celtic invadors who submitted the local people. Composed of shepherds and warriors, the newcomers were equipped with bronze weapons and carts drawn by oxen and horses. The remains of the fortress are parts of wall of 3 m in height and probable cisterns used to store freshwater. Those fortified settlements strongly resisted the Romans during the Lusitanian Wars. The Capilla fortress was identified to the pre-Roman Mirobriga Turdulorum.
After the Roman conquest, Mirobriga was transferred to a small hill located on the left bank of brook Esteras, 2 km upstream its cnfluence with the Zújar and 6 km from today's Capilla. The town belonged to the Conventus Cordubensis, although Ptolemy assigned it, erroneously, to the Conventus Carthaginensis. It was granted the title of municipium flavium under Emperor Vespasian, indicating a town of significance. The excavation of the site revealed a military organization required to control communications and the Sisapo mines, which progressively turned into an administrative organization.
Amador Ruibal states, without providing any evidence, that the first Muslim citadel, whose remains are still visible near the castle, was erected during the Almoravid rule in Andalusia (1086-1147). The village would have been transferred from the river bank to the top of the Sierra del Palenque to facilitate defense and watch of the area, the Zújar being used as a natural barrier against Christian raids. After the conquest of Toledo (1085) and Coria (1142), Capiila became an outpost of the Almoravid state and the key to advance to the south. After the seizure of Calatrava in 1147 by Alfonso VII, attacks against Capilla increased in frequency and intensity.
The Almohads could reconquer partizlly the territory lost by the Almoravids, but the defeat of Las Navas de Tolosa (1212) caused the share of the state in smaller kingdoms (taifas). Capilla was incorporated into the Seville taifa until 1224, when transferred to the Baeza taifa. Al-Bayasi, king of Baeza, pled allegiance to Ferdinand III the Saint in 1225 and conquerred Córdoba with Christian support. Among the requirements made by Ferdinand was the surrender of different fortresses, Capilla included, which was done by Al-Bayesi. However, the inhabitants of the citadel refused to surrender, which caused a long siege. The Knights of the Temple seized Capilla but could not keep it. The fortress eventually surrendered in 1226, severely damages by the assault machines and towers used by Ferdinand III. This event is represented on the miniatures that illustrate Alfonso X the Wise's cantiga 256.
Ferdinand III allowed the defenders of Capilla to move safely, with their goods, to the castle of Gahet (Belalcázar), where they resisted to the Christian advance for a longer time. The mosque of Capilla was transformed into a church and blessed by the Archbishop of Toledo.
On 9 September 1236, Ferdinand III offered to the Order of the Temple, then led by Esteban de Bellemonte, the domain and town of Capilla, which included Garlitos, Baterno, Risco, Peñalsordo and Zarza Capilla, covering more than 500 km2. The domain was added in December 1236 the castle of Almorchó,n, doubling the size of the domain, the second largest ruled by the Order.
The Commandery of Capilla was extremely wealthy, especially due to sheep bredding, which caused territorial disputes with the Order of Calatrava. Due to the decrease of the Muslim threat, Capilla lost its military significance; in 1310, only the commander and a servant lived in Capilla.
After the suppression of the Order of the Temple, Capilla was transferred by Ferdinand IV to the Order of Alcántara, whic retroceded it in 1320 to Alfonso XI. The king swapped in 1344 Capilla, Valdemoro and Bayona for Puebla de Alcocer, Herrera and Alcocereje with the Council of Toledo. This started a long court case, since the commandery of Capilla had also been granted to Alfonso Fernández Coronel, lord of Montalbán. After his death in 1352, Capilla was reincorporated to the royal domain; Henty II offered it in 1370 to his Justicia Mayor, Juan Núñez de Villazán, who sold it in 1382 to Diego López de Estúñiga, the King's Chamberlain.
The Zúñiga, Dukes of Béjar, revamped the castle in the 15th century. Following fruitful alliance with the Guzmán, Francisco de 2úñiga y uzmán increased the State of Capilla to an area of 4,000 km2, kept in the family until 1777, when transferred to the Dukes of Osuna.
The Dukes of Béjar issued municipal ordinances composed of 115 articles, amended in 29 January 1624 in Fuentes de Béjar.
Capilla gained emancipation from the Dukes of Béjar on 26 August 1837; the duke, however, attempted to keep control of the four largest pastures of Capilla, being eventually turned down in 1875 by the Supreme Court.
Ivan Sache, 14 March 2020
The flag (photo,
photo) and arms of Capilla, adopted on 26 February 1997 by the Municipal Council and validated on 16 July 1997 by the Assessing Council of Honors and Distinctions of the Government of Extremadura, are prescribed by an Order issued on 27 November 1997 by the Government of Extremadura and published on 8 January 1998 in the official gazette of Extremadura, No. 2 pp. 51-52 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:
Flag: Rectangular, in proportions 2:3. Composed of two vertical white thirds at hoist and a vertical blue third. The municipal coat of arms in full colors in the center of the white stripe.
Coat of arms: Per pale, 1. Azure a warrior's stele or, 2a. Argent the castle of Capilla or on a base sable, 2b. Argent a bend sable in orle. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed.
The description of the flag, omitted in the original Decree, was added on 5 February 1998 in the official gazette of Extremadura, No. 14 p. 604 (text).
Ivan Sache, 14 March 2020