Last modified: 2015-01-10 by ivan sache
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Flag of Toro - Image by Ivan Sache, 28 February 2014
The municipality of Toro (9,627 inhabitants in 2012, therefore the 3rd most populous municipality in the province; 32,479 ha; municipal website) is located 30 km east of Zamora. on the border with Valladolid Province.
Toro is named for a Celtiberian bull (toro), indeed a verraco de piedra (stone boar) characteristic of the Vetton culture. The Vettones are also known as the Culture of the Verracos, referring to the granite sculptures representing pigs, boars, wild boars and bulls found in several sites. Toro has been identified to the Celtiberian town of Arbocala, located on the Astorga-Mérida road. The town was subsequently abandoned, as was the neighborhood, known as the Duero Desert. When the place was re-settled, the original name of the town had been lost.
At the end of the 9th century, King Alfonso III the Great (852-910)
established a fortification line on river Duero, then the border
between León and the Muslim states. He commissioned his son García (870-914) to re-settle the site of Toro, a steep place dominating river Duero, therefore easy to defend but difficult to attack.
King Alfonso IX (1171-1230) granted a charter in 1222 to Toro. When the king died, the Toro Council recognized his son Ferdinand III (1199-1252) as the King of León, against Alfonso's last will (subsequently nullified by the Benavente Concord). Proclaimed in the Toro fortress, Ferdinand achieved the building of the Toro collegiate church, a symbol of the significance of the town and of it influence on the court. In 1282, 300 knights from Toro opposed to Sancho IV (1258-1295) and supported his father Alfonso X the Wise (1221-1284), exiled in Seville.
Toro was one of the 17 towns (a number increased to 18 after the seizure of Granada) that voted in the Cortes. The title of lord of Toro was exclusively granted to the Queen Consort, or to the wife of the Crown Prince. María de Molina (1264-1321), Sancho IV's wife, became lord of Toro in 1283. Her first daughter, Isabel (1283-1328), was born in Toro, as was her last daughter Beatrice (1293-1359), the wife of King of Portugal Alfonso IV.
The battle of Toro was fought on 1 March 1476 in the plains
surrounding the town. The victory of Isabel the Catholic (1451-1504)
and Ferdinand of Aragón (1452-1516) over Joanna la Beltraneja
(1462-1530) definitively sealed the union of Castile and Aragón, being therefore the cornerstone of the national unification of Spain. Three
months later, Joanna and her husband Alfonso V of Portugal (1432-1481)
left the town. The Count of Marialba and his wife Maria Sarmiento, who
had remained loyal to Joanna, organized the defense of the town
besieged by the Catholic Monarchs, who eventually entered Toro on 19
September 1476 with the help of the shepherd Bartolomé.
Isabel's last will was read on 11 January 1505 at the Cortes gathered in Toro by her husband Ferdinand. Joanna the Mad (1479-1555) was proclaimed Queen of Castile and León but her father Ferdinand was appointed Regent, following the report on Joanna's mental health forwarded on 25 January 1505 by her husband, Philip the Handsome (1478-1506). The Cortes approved the famous 83 Laws of Toro - therefore the nickname of "Town of the Laws" often given to Toro -, which consolidated the scattered pieces of the previous legislation; these Laws would be used until the proclamation of the Civil Code in 1889.
The last political episode of significance in Toro occurred in 1521, when Toro supported the Comuneros revolted against Charles V (1500-1558). After the battle of Villalar, lost on 23 April 1521, and the suppression of the uprising, Toro definitively lost its importance.
Ivan Sache, 28 February 2014
The flag of Toro (photo, Town Hall) is light blue with the municipal arms in the middle.
The version of the coat of arms used by the municipality shows a bull (toro) and a lion affronty, in base dexter a bridge and sinister three fesses wavy azure (which are, oddly enough, the only coloured elements of the coat of arms). The shield is placed on a baroque cartouche and surmounted by an old crown (not the modern Royal Spanish crown used on most municipal arms).
Ivan Sache, 28 February 2014