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Valencia de Don Juan (Municipality, Castilla y León, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-04-12 by ivan sache
Keywords: valencia de don juan |
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Flag of Valencia de Don Juan
Left, as prescribed - Image by Alfonso Muñoz (Wikimedia Commons), 6 June 2011
Right, as used - Image by Antonio Gutiérrez (VexiLeon website), 10 March 2015

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Presentation of Valencia de Don Juan

The municipality of Valencia de Don Juan (5,079 inhabitants in 2010; 5,850 ha; municipal website) is located in the southeast of the Province of León, 40 km of León.

Valencia de Don Juan was originally known as Coyanza. The old "castrum coviacense", of probable Roman origin, was known in the 9th century as "castrum coyanca" / "castrum coianca". In 1055, King of León Ferdinand I (1037-1055) and his wife Sancha (1013-1067) invited the Bishops of Oviedo, León, Astorga, Palencia, Osma, Calahorra, Pamplona, Lugo, Iria (Santiago) and Portugal to the Coyanza Council. Aimed at the reform of the local church, the Council officialized the Roman rite instead of the Visigothic / Asturian rite, therefore placing the bishops under the papal authority, and established the Benedictine rule for all monasteries.

The town was reorganized and renamed Valencia (known as Valencia de León / Valencia de Campos) in 1180 by King Ferdinand II (1157-1188). A brand new fortress (motam valentie) was built in the 12th-13th centuries. In 1387, Infant John ("Juan") of Portugal (1349-1387) was made Duke of Valencia, the town being promptly renamed Valencia de Don Juan. The adulterine son of King Peter I (1320-1367, King in 1357) and Inés de Castro (1325-1355, "The Dead Queen"), John, unsuccessfully claimed the throne of Portugal and was eventually exiled to Valencia. Valencia was inherited by his daughter María de Portugal y Enríquez, who married Martín Vázquez de Acuña, another Portuguese noble exiled in Valencia, and transferred him the title, as Count of Valencia.
The old castle was completely revamped by the Acuña in 1465-1484. A fortified palace, the castle was not really intended to be used in war acts. The only exception was the War of the Spanish Succession, when Juan de Acuña was murdered in the castle in 1475. The castle was eventually abandoned in the 16th century.

Ivan Sache, 6 June 2011

Symbols of Valencia de Don Juan

The flag of Valencia de Don Juan (image) is divided white-purple by the descending diagonal. In the middle of the flag is placed the municipal coat of arms. The symbols were designed in 1940 by José de Rójula y Ochotorena, amended by the Royal Academy of History, and eventually approved in 1946 by the Government.

The flag actually hoisted on the Town Hall and inside the meeting room is horizontally divided purple-white with the coat of arms in the middle (photos in Esla, No. 320, February 2010: p. 16, Town Hall; p. 18, meeting room).

The coat of arms of Valencia de Don Juan is "Sable a bend or a cross florentine gules cantonned in chief and base with nine wedges azure 3 + 3 + 3, a bordure argent five escutcheons azure charged with five bezants argent per saltire each charged with a point sable the motto "CO-YAN-ÇA" gules. The shield surmounted with a Duke's coronet."
These are the canting arms of the Acuña lineage, cuña meaning "a wedge". The five escutcheons must recall the Portuguese origin of the lineage.
[VexiLeón website]

Ivan Sache, 6 June 2011