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Cigales (Municipality, Castilla y León, Spain)

Last modified: 2019-02-10 by ivan sache
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Flag of Cigales - Image by Ivan Sache, 15 January 2014


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Presentation of Cigales

The municipality of Cigales (4,572 inhabitants in 2010; 6,140 ha; municipal website) is located in the north of Valladolid Province, 15 km from Valladolid.

Cigales is named for the Celtic root Sicaria/ Sicales, of unknown meaning. Mentioned for the first time in 1100 and once a Royal domain, Cigales was transferred on 23 December 1289 to the town of Valladolid by King Sancho IV, upon request of his wife María de Molina, who found that "it was a place of malevolent acts not sanctioned by justice as they should be". Accordingly, Cigales lost its title of villa; granted in 1314 to Infant John of Castile, Cigales was ruled by lords until the suppression of the feudal systems, its last lords being the Counts of Benavente (1513-1840).

According to chronicles from the 13th-15th centuries, Cigales was a place "of great significance"; located close to Valladolid, the local manor, documented in the 15th-18th centuries, was a convenient place for diplomatic meetings involving the kings of Castile.
In 1325, King Alfonso XI reached his majority, then fixed at the age of 15 years, and reorganized the Court, to the great distress of his two former tutors, Juan Manuel (1282-1348), the son of Infante Manuel and the nephew of King Fernando III the Saint, and Juan de Haro "el Tuerto" (The One-Eyed) (? - 1328), the son of Infant John and lord of Cigales. The two knights met in Cigales to set up an alliance against the king and his supporters; made aware of the plot, the king sent a messenger to Cigales stating that he would like to marry Manuel's daughter, which convinced Manuel to support him. He subsequently got rid of Juan de Haro by organizing his murder.
In May 1353, King Peter I the Cruel, about to marry Blanche of Bourbon in Valladolid, became reconciled in Cigales with his illegitimate brothers Henry and Tello, who submitted for a while. Henry defeated and killed Peter in 1369, and was crowned King of Castile as Henry II.
In August 1427, King John II and his Council met in Cigales with King of Navarre John II and Infante Henry; the two Aragón Infantes obtained from John the disgrace and exile of his favourite Álvaro de Luna. This prevented for a while a war between Castile and Aragón, which eventually broke out in 1429 and ended the next year with the restoration of Álvaro de Luna and the expelling of the Infantes.
The most famous event, however, that took place in Cigales was the birth of Queen Ann of Austria on 1 November 1549; on her way to Valladolid, her mother Mary of Austria decided to stop in the palace of the Counts of Benavente. Ann married in 1570 her uncle, King of Spain Philip II. Mary of Austria, Queen of Hungary, Governor of the Low Countries and sister of Emperor Charles V, died in Cigales on 18 October 1558, less than one month after her brother.

Cigales is the birth place of Friar Antonio Alcalde (171-1792), appointed Bishop of Mérida (1763) and Guadalajara (1771) in New Spain (Mexico). As a tribute to the philanthropic contribution of the bishop to the development of the town, Guadalajara has set up in August 1992 a partnership with Cigales.

Ivan Sache, 21 May 2011


Symbols of Cigales

The flag of Cigales (photo, photo, photo) is prescribed by a Decree adopted on 19 November 1998 by the Municipal Council, signed on 11 January 1999 by the Mayor, and published on 21 January 1999 in the official gazette of Castile and León, No. 13, p. 793 (text).
The flag is described as follows:

Flag: Quadrangular flag, with proportions 1:1, tierced at hoist green and red, on the first field the municipal coat of arms in full colors.

The coat of arms of Cigales, validated by the Royal Academy of History after implementation of the recommended modifications, is prescribed by a Decree adopted on 9 July 1992 by the Government of Castile and León and published on 27 July 1992 in the official gazette of Castile and León, No. 142 (text).
The coat of arms is described as follows:

Coat of arms: Shield in Spanish shape. Azure a castle or masoned sable port and windows azure terraced gules surrounded by two grapevines, a bordure with the arms of Niño, "Or eight fleurs-de-lis azure". The shield surmounted with the Royal Spanish crown.

Ivan Sache, 15 January 2014