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Oña (Municipality, Castilla y León, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-04-09 by ivan sache
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Flag of Oña, left, as used, right, as prescribed - Images from the Escudos y Banderas de la Provincia de Burgos website, 17 February 2014

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Presentation of Oña

The municipality of Oña (1,224 inhabitants in 2010; 16,164 ha; municipal website) is located 60 km of Burgos. The municipality is made of the villages of Oña (933 inh.), Barcina de los Montes (49 inh.; incorporated to Oña in 1980), Bentretea (7 inh.; inc. 1980), Castellanos de Bureba (6 inh.; inc. 1980), Cereceda (8 inh.; inc. 1850), Cornudilla (83 inh.; inc. 1980), Hermosilla (24 inh.; inc. 1980), La Molina del Portillo del Busto (19 inh.; inc. 1980), La Parte de Bureba (114 inh.; inc. 1980), Penches (49 inh.; inc. 1850), Pino de Bureba (28 inh.; inc. 1980), Terminón (33 inh.; inc. 1980), Villanueva de los Montes (12 inh.; inc. 1950) and Zangández (15 inh.; inc. 1950).

Oña was already settled in the Paleolithic, as evidenced by artefacts found in different caves. The Caballón Cave, excavated by Jesuit fathers in 1916, yielded several javelin arrows and a command stick made of a stag's antler piece engraved with a stylized ruminant's head. The Moors' Cave, found in 1915, yielded five goats, four of them being engraved and the fifth one engraved and painted. The caves are considered as one of the most interesting cave complexes in Spain. Three altar stones of the San Salvador church, dated from the 3rd century, are engraved with Latin writings, including "Vurovio", the name of a Celtiberian god and the probable origin of the name of the Bureba region.

In 1011, Count of Castile Sancho García founded the San Salvador de Oña monastery, which progressively became the most important monastery of Castile, ruling more than 300 churches and 200 villages scattered on a large territory stretching from Cantabria to river Arlanzón and from river Pisuerga to the today's Huesca and Zaragoza Provinces.
Ruled by Abbess Tigridia, Sancho García' s daughter, the monastery originally housed monks and nuns, following the Visigothic tradition; in 1033, King of Navarre Sancho the Great introduced the Benedictine rule into the monastery. The powerful abbots of San Salvador, such as St. Iñigo (1035-1068), increased the wealth of the monastery, receiving donations from kings, nobles, bishops and landlords. Some local components of the Royal power were transferred to the abbey, making of the abbot a feudal lord. In the 12th-13th centuries, permanent disputes between the Abbot of Oña and the Bishop of Burgos required mediation by the Pope, especially after the beginning of the building of the Burgos Cathedral in 1221. Charles I stayed at the monastery but eventually decided to retire at Yuste after his abdication; Philip II also often visited the monastery. Sacked and damaged during the Napoleonic Wars, the monastery was eventually closed in 1835 during Mendizabal's "desamortization"; the abbey church was, fortunately, transferred to the Archbishopric of Burgos that preserved and restored it. Sold to private owners, the other monastery buildings were transformed in 1880 by the Company of Jesus into a College and Pontifical University; eventually purchased in 1968 by the Burgos Provincial Government, they house today a hospital.

Ivan Sache, 24 April 2011

Symbols of Oña

The flag of Oña is prescribed by a Decree adopted on 11 September 1997 by the Burgos Provincial Government, signed on 22 September 1997 by the President of the Government, and published on 1 October 1997 in the official gazette of Castilla y León, No. 188 (text).
The flag is described as follows:

Flag: Quadrangular flag, with proportions 1:1, made of two equal vertical stripes, white at hoist and red at fly. In the middle of the flag is placed the municipal coat of arms.

The flag hoisted on the facade of the Town Hall (photo) has proportions 2:3.

The Royal Academy of History once rejected the proposed flag since it included a coat of arms not approved yet at the time (Boletín de la Real Academia de Historia 196, 2:340, 1999).

The coat of arms of Oña is prescribed by a Decree adopted on 9 June 2005 by the Municipal Council, signed thesame day by the Mayor, and published on 20 June 2005 in the official gazette of Castilla y León, No. 118, p. 10,722 (text).
The coat of arms, which was validated by the Chronicler of Arms of Castilla y León, is described as follows:

Coat of arms: Per pale, 1. Gules an eagle or above a stag of the same, 2. Argent a tree vert ensigned with a cross gules. The shield surmounted by the old Royal crown.

Ivan Sache, 17 February 2014