This week has been celebrated the “Asturian Day”, and there is a detail that I think is curious and little known. As you know, the official name of Asturias, is that of “Principality of Asturias”. Also in the Asturian language. Most people do not know the origin of the name, they think it is related to the Princess of Asturias awards, to the origins of the kingdom of Asturias or to an honorary title.
Nothing further from reality
To do this, we must be in the XIV century. At that time, there was no longer the kingdom of Asturias or León, only those of Castile, Aragon and Navarre.
Alfonso Enriquez, bastard son of Enrique de Trastámara, tried to rebel twice to the kingdom of Castile, within the Asturian territory. The motives are worthy of a soap opera, but it was basically a disrespect when he felt despised by his father, King Enrique. Some years later, King John I created the Principality of Asturias, similar to that of Wales or the dolphin in France, with a dual purpose:
-Take domain of the Asturian territories directly by the king or his heir, and thereby snatch power from the local nobles or any other power in the area
– Protect the Crown of Castile from foreign interests. By creating the figure of the principality, he legitimized the Crown’s heritage and avoided foreign interests that could claim for it.
Furthermore, over the centuries, the institution of the Principality fell into disuse. With the end of the Austrias and the arrival of the Borbones, they revitalized it partially, seeking to increase its legitimacy to the Spanish crown. Being Princes of Asturias, they sought to identify historically with the crown of Castile, and by extension, with that of Spain.
It is true that the meaning of concepts changes as time goes by, and that it is a mistake to understand the past with current concepts, and so the contray. But the origin of the “Principality” is anything but something that fills us with pride and satisfaction.