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Cañizal (Municipality, Castilla y León, Spain)

Last modified: 2015-01-10 by ivan sache
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Presentation of Cañizal

The municipality of Cañizal (501 inhabitants in 2012; 3,530 ha; municipal website) is located in the southwest of the Zamora Province, 60 km of Zamora.

Cañizal was established in the upper Middle Ages (5th-7th centuries) as La Huesa. The original settlement seems to have survived the Moor's invasion (711) and existed until c. 1000. The today's village was founded by the Knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem on a big domain granted on 3 July 1116 by Urraca of Zamora, the daughter and heir of Alfonso VI, King of León and Castile, and increased by her son Alfonso VII. From the 15th century onwards, Cañizal and the neighbouring village of Villaescusa formed a single commandery. Cañizal remained faithful to King Charles I during the War of Comuneros.
Cañizal is named for reeds (cañas), once used to make spearheads. Rich in pastures and located on the main road linking Zamora to Ávila, Cañizal was a quite wealthy village, the only one in the Valdeguareña region not to experience a demographic crisis.
In July 1812, the Portuguese troops, allied to Wellington, defeated the French troops commanded by Marmont. The so-called Cañizal fighting allowed the two allied armies to march together against Salamanca, an event known as the "Parallel March".

Ivan Sache, 13 January 2014

Symbols of Cañizal

The flag of Cañizal is prescribed by a Decree adopted on 14 March 2011 by the Municipal Council, signed on 24 March 2011 by the Mayor, and published on 4 April 2011 in the official gazette of Castila y León, No. 65, p. 24,472 (text).
The flag is not described in the Decree.

The coat of arms of Cañizal is prescribed by a Decree adopted on 24 February 2000 by the Municipal Council, signed on 23 March 2000 by the Mayor, and published on 6 April 2000 in the official gazette of Castila y León, No. 68, p. 4,041 (text).
The coat of arms is described as follows:

Coat of arms: Per fess, 1a. Or a circular stone with curvy rays gules, 1b. Gules a Cross of St. John argent, 2. Argent a bunch of grapes vert. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed.

The circular stone is a reference to Mozarabic archeological findings of El Barcial, kept today in the Zamora Museum of Archeology. The Cross of St. John recalls the jurisdiction of the Order of St. John on the village. The grapes recall that wins-growing was once the main source of income for the village (La Mancera, No. 39, 2010).

The Royal Academy of History turned down the proposed arms, rejecting the representation of a particular archeological artefact, and recommending instead the use of a generic charge "easily" alluding to the name of the village. "In the good tradition", the Cross of St. John should not be used on coat of arms, and should be replaced here by a regular cross. The Academy required the submission of a brand new proposal (Buletín de la Real Academia de Historia, 2000, 197, 2:370).

Ivan Sache, 13 January 2014