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Mira (Municipality, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain)

Last modified: 2019-10-07 by ivan sache
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Flag of Mira - Image by "Asqueladd", Wikimedia Commons, 29 June 2019

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Presentation of Mira

The municipality of Mira (926 inhabitants in 2018 vs. 2,564 in 1930; 21,286 ha) is located on the border with the Valencian Community (Province of Valencia), 100 km south-east of Cuenca and 60 km north-west of Requena.

Mira is of disputed etymology. In 1866, the historian Muños y Soliva claimed a far-fetched Hebrew origin, the word schamira, "a sentinel", referring to the location of the town on a height from which a large territory could be watched; in this context, Mira would have been established as a limit between Thobelian and Phoenician possessions.
Bernat Mira Tormo, a specialist of Iberian toponymy, relates Mira to an Iberian hydronym meaning "The River" (also the root of several place names in Spain and Portugal, such as Mier, Miera, Mieres, Mera, and Miranda). Francisco Piqué Más believes that the town was named for the Banü Amira lineage, which had significant regional presence in the beginning of the Muslim colonization.
An Iberian necropolis was excavated in Los Villares in 1932, during the building of the Cuenca-Valencia railway. Engineer Julio Larrañaga Mendia submitted on 1 August 1932 a memoir reporting, with little detail, funerary urns with painted decoration and metallic artifacts. Unpublished, the memoir is kept at the library of the Royal Academy of History.

The castle erected by the Moors to watch the road to Valencia was seized in 1219 by Rodrigo Jiménez de Rada, Bishop of Toledo; the re-settlement of the areas by northern colonists was initiated a few years later, after the bishop had granted Mira on 30 September 1220 to an Aragonese knight, Gil Garcés de Azagra (c. 1170-1237).
The first lord of Mira was succeeded by his son, Gil Garcés II de Azagra, a diplomat who settled border disputes between Castile and Aragón; also a warlord, he commanded the assault of Cartagena in 1263 and supported Infante Peter (later, King Peter III of Aragón) in the definitive reconquest of the Kingdom of Murcia, achieved in 1266; the chronicles report that he saved the Infante's life during the siege of Murcia. Gil Garcés II de Azagra sold Mira in the early 1260s to Alfonso X the Wise, who incorporated the town to Requena.
Mira was granted the status of villa in 1537 by Charles I, separating it from Requena. Having lost its strategical significance, the castle was most probably used as a quarry to build the Town Hall and the new parish church. The castle was mentioned for the last time in 1801 by José Andrés Cornide de Folgueira y Saavedra, who described Mira as "overlooked by an old, ruined castle". Nothing has remained form the castle except the opening of a big well, locally known to be connected to river Mira by a tunnel dug through the hill.

Mira is the birth place of Antón Martín (1500-1553), the preferred disciple of St. John of God (1495-1550; canonized in 1690 by Alexander VIII). Martín initiated the set up of the Hospitaller Order of the Brothers of Saint John of God, which would be recognized in 1572 by Pius V. He founded in 1552 the Hospital de San Juan de Dios in Atocha, Madrid, and the Hospital de San Juan de Dios in Córdoba.
Mira is the birth place of the Romantic poet José González Iranzo (1848-1930), and of Dalmacio García Izcara (1859-1927), the founder of modern veterinary science in Spain.
[La Historia de Mira]

Ivan Sache, 29 June 2019

Symbols of Mira

The flag of Mira (photo, photo, photo) is prescribed by an Order issued on 23 May 1997 by the Government of Castilla-La Mancha and published on 2 June 1997 in the official gazette of Castilla-La Mancha, No. 25, p. 3,123 (text).
The flag is described as follows:

Flag: Quadrangular, white with the coat of arms in the center.

The coat of arms of Mira is prescribed by an Order issued on 23 May 1997 by the Government of Castilla-La Mancha and published on 2 June 1997 in the official gazette of Castilla-La Mancha, No. 25, p. 3,123 (text).
The coat of arms is described as follows:

Coat of arms: Vert a tower argent.

The arms (not crowned) are based on a municipal seal dated 1252, featuring a watch tower standing on two steps, surrounded by a writing and surmounted by a cross patty.
This seal represents the southernmost known example of the models used in the 13th century in Aragón and northern countries. As opposed to the Castilian seals, the Aragonese seals are one-sided and usually smaller in size. The seal of Mira was used to stamp a treaty with the Council of Teruel, which used in 1217 a similar seal.
[Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia, 194:2, 402-403. 1997]

Ivan Sache, 29 June 2019