In the current coat of arms of Spain, we can see that the coats of arms of the different kingdoms in which the territory that today makes up this country was divided are reflected. The coat of arms of the kingdom of Castile, that of the kingdom of Aragon, that of Navarra, that of Granada and that of the kingdom of León. Indeed, what is now the province of León, in medieval times it was part of one of the most important kingdoms of the peninsula.
Nowadays, this ancient kingdom has practically been erased from the national ideology and its existence is manifested by being the tagline of one of the autonomous communities, Castilla y León.
This neglect of the history of the kingdom of León is wanting to be remedied by many Leonese, who fight for the recovery of their language, Asturian-Leonese, and claim their own identity against the imposition of Castile. Are you coming with us to get to know the province of León a little more?
The province of León, a bit of history
the kingdom of lion
The province of León is located in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula. It limits to the north with Asturias, to the west with Galicia, to the south with the province of Zamora and to the east with the Castilian provinces of Palencia and Valladolid. The historical origin of the kingdom of León dates back to the 10th century.
At that time, the kingdom of Asturias decided to transfer the capital of the court from Oviedo to León in the year 910. It is considered that it was the beginning of a new kingdom but, in reality, the dynasty, the institutions and the kingdom remained the same.
From the new capital, the kingdom quickly adopted a very combative attitude against the Muslims, leading what is erroneously known as ‘reconquest’. At the same time, Among the Leonese monarchs were some of the most powerful kings in Western Europe.
This power allowed the kings of León to be recognized as the primus inter pares between the different monarchs that existed in the peninsula. This recognition was not an impediment to the formation of two new independent kingdoms within this kingdom: Portugal and Castile.
After only eighty years of functioning as an independent kingdom, Castile, in the year 1230, absorbed his father, León. This union did not mean the loss of autonomy of the old kingdom, since it kept its institutions, currency and languages. Moreover, for many centuries afterwards, the courts of Castile and León continued to be held separately.
How was this province born then?
The extension of the ancient kingdom of León, although it varies according to the historical moment, included the territories of the current province of León, Zamora, Salamanca and the western half of the provinces of Palencia and Valladolid. This historical region lasted as a recognized area until the creation of the current autonomous communities.
In the 19th century, the task of modernizing the country was undertaken. For this, establishing an adequate territorial organization was a priority. There were several attempts until, finally, in 1833, a division was formed into 49 provinces and 11 historical regions. The León region was one of them and was divided into three provinces: León, Zamora and Salamanca.
The nature of the province of León
The province of León can be divided into three large geological areas. One in the north, which would be formed by the mountainous region of the Cantabrian mountain range. In the western area we would find the Galaico-Leonés massif, while the central and southwestern part would be made up of the plateau.
This variety offers the opportunity to get to know high mountain landscapes, since the Picos de Europa National Park forms part of the province of León together with Asturias and Cantabria. It is possible to visit beautiful valleys, practically virgin, such as those found in the Sierra de los Ancares, or the typical landscapes of the Castilian plateau.
Given this geological diversity, It is no coincidence that in the province of León there are many spaces of environmental interest. We have already mentioned some of these spaces, and they are the Picos de Europa National Park and the Sierra de los Ancares. However, there are others, such as La Baña or Truchillas lakes.
At the same time, This province can boast of having the largest concentration of Biosphere Reserves in the world. These are seven and represent 17% of the total territory. Thus, it has the same reserves as Portugal and more than other countries such as England, Ireland or Switzerland.
These seven reserves are Picos de Europa, Valles de Omaña and Luna, Babia, Valle de Laciana, Alto Bernesga, Los Argüellos and Ancares. Of course, we could dedicate an entire article to each of these reservations, but why not pack our bags and meet them in person?
The province of León has a lot to offer you
Without a doubt, it would be an experience that is not forgotten, because there it is possible to travel through a beautiful territory with centuries of history, admire a fascinating nature and, at the same time, enjoy its fabulous gastronomy.