History of Asturias North Spain

Prehistory: There is evidence of habitation since prehistoric times. The ‘Sidrón' cave, between Cadanes and Vallobal, has become an excavation area and a main point of reference on the Neanderthals in Asturias.

Early History and Roman times

In early history the territory of Piloña was occupied by the ‘Luggones', one of the most important tribes of the ‘Astures'. Its capital, according to the 2nd Century Greek geographer Ptolomeo, was Paelontium (Beloncio).
What is today known as Piloña was Romanised after the occupation of Asturias by the Roman legions.


Middle Ages

During the foundation ofthe Kingdom of Asturias, Piloña was the scene of Pelayo's flight from the Arabs, who were trying to capture him. He was in Brece, a hamlet of Piloña, when he heard of the approaching danger, and escaped on horseback, leaving his persecutors behind him after swimming, with his horse, across a dangerously high and fast-flowing River Piloña and hiding in the mountains.

There are frequent references to the churches and places of Piloña in Medieval documents. In the Liber Testamentorumof Oviedo Cathedral, dated 23rd September 926, Raniro II, son of Alfonso III and Queen Jimena, reasserted the validity of donations made by his forebears to the church of Oviedo, including various churches and localities of Piloña.

A territory receiving the name of Piloña was gradually drawn and defined during this stage of the Middle Ages, differentiated from neighbouring territories and, by the end of the 12th Century, ruled by a royal justice. Two centuries later Piloña was one of the councils attending the ‘Junta' of 1378 which met in Oviedo Cathedral Chapter House and which was a precursor to the General Junta of the Principality of Asturias.

Building Obra Pía

Modern History

The ‘Obra Pia' of Piloña, in which Moral Theology and Latinity, Geography and Merchant Accounting, as well as literacy, general culture and other subjects, were taught, was founded in the 18th Century. The first schools in the municipality open to the general public were established in Infiesto in 1785 and, from the last quarter of the 19th Century, throughout the municipality.  

Piloña Coat of Arms

Contemporary History

En 1810, during the War of Independence, Spanish troops under the command of General Nicolás Llano gathered in Infiesto in order to stop the advance of the invading army under the command of General Bonet, and the Infiesto Regiment was established.

On 4th September 1880, the Mayor informed the Provincial Council that, from that date, the county's Coat of Arms, already in use, would represent an armed knight (Pelayo), followed by his page, crossing the River Piloña on an azure background, with the golden motto: "Onwards my page, for my horse's hooves touch the river bed".

On 18th October 1891 the Oviedo-Infiesto railway line is officially opened. 


20th Century History

During the Revolution of October 1934 the municipality, and above all its capital, witnessed some involvement in what has come to be known as the 4th Insurrectional Axis, which spread eastwards from Oviedo to Infiesto.

After the military rising of 1936, the municipality of Piloña formed part of the Asturias loyal to the Republic, and remained so until mid-October 1937, when their last line of defence, the River Sella, was overcome and the tenacious Asturian resistance collapsed. On beating a retreat, the bridge at Infiesto was blown up. In the post-war period there were acts of resistance by ex-republican army partisans in areas of the municipality, in particular the hills of Peñamayor.

Economic activity was given a new impetus during the second half of the 20th Century with the establishment of several factories, amongst which stand out those producing mineral water (Borines and Qués), dairy products (Nestlé), cider, sweets (the world renowned Chupa-Chups company was created by a businessman from Villamayor), furniture , etc.  


Piloña is now facing the 21st Century optimistic that its undeniable richness in natural beauty will act as an incentive to quality tourism and the development of the municipality.


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