Castile and León Day in Spain Date in the current year: April 23, 2024

Castile and León Day in Spain Castile and León Day (Día de Castilla y León) is an official holiday in the Spanish autonomous community of Castile and León. It is celebrated annually on April 23 to commemorate the Battle of Villalar, which was fought in 1521 during the Revolt of the Comuneros.

The medieval kingdoms of Castile and León were formally unified in the late 12th century, when kings Alfonso VIII of Castile and Alfonso IX of León signed the Treaty of Tordehumos. Their unification was consolidated during the reign of King Ferdinand III.

In 1504, Queen Isabella I of Castile and León died and was succeeded by her daughter Joanna. Since Joanna was believed to suffer from a mental illness, her father King Ferdinand II of Aragon served as a regent. After his death in 1516, Joanna’s son Charles, who was 16 years old at the time and had grown up in the Netherlands, became king of both Castile and Aragon.

In 1519, Charles was elected as Holy Roman Emperor. The next year, he appointed Cardinal Adrian (future Pope Adrian VI) as regent and left Castile for Germany. Taking advantage of the king’s absence, citizens of Castile rebelled against his rule and administration.

The rebels, who called themselves the Comuneros, declared Joanna their queen, hoping that she would be easy to control. The revolt was initially supported by people from different social groups, but as it acquired an anti-feudal character, the landed nobility began to support Charles.

Having realized the gravity of the situation, Charles sent troops to quell the rebellion. The decisive battle between the Comuneros and the Royalists took place on April 23, 1521 near Villalar. The rebels suffered a crushing defeat, which put an end to the revolt.

Around the end of the 17th century, Spanish liberals made the Battle of Villalar their rallying symbol. They occasionally celebrated its anniversary, but the Spanish government generally didn’t encourage it. By the early 1970s, the reputation of the Comuneros had been mostly redeemed by historians, and the interest in celebrating the anniversary of the battle increased.

On April 23, 1976, several months after Francisco Franco’s death and the start of Spain’s democratization, about 400 people gathered in Villalar to celebrate the anniversary of the battle. Sadly, they were dispersed by the Civil Guard, but this did nothing to discourage Castilians from celebrating the next year, when about 20,000 people met to commemorate the battle. For a few years, Battle of Villalar Day was celebrated unofficially. In 1986, the government of Castile and León declared it an official holiday named Castile and León Day.

The celebration usually begins in the evening of April 22 with an outdoor concert. The official ceremony is held the next morning at the monument to the Comuneros in Villalar; it includes a laying of wreaths and speeches delivered by local politicians. Festive events held throughout the day include political rallies, concerts, street theater, sports, exhibitions, and other activities showcasing the culture of Castile and León.

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Castile and León Day in Spain, holidays in Spain, holidays in Castile and León Day, Battle of Villalar, Revolt of the Comuneros