31 Jul 2011

Novocastrian and New Castilian

I grew up in a region of Spain called Castile. Now I’m settling in a city very distant from it but that has a similar name. I thought it would be interesting to provide some trivia about the two.

As expected, I read that Newcastle takes its name from Newcastle upon Tyne, in the north of England.

I was interested to read that many of the 19th century coal miners in Australia’s Newcastle came from the city of Newcastle upon Tyne, where coal mining was also a key industry.

I’ve also read that the first settlement in what is now Newcastle upon Tyne was Pons Aelius, a Roman fort and bridge across the River Tyne and given the family name of the Roman Emperor Hadrian who founded it in the 2nd century AD. Hadrian was actually born in Spain, so there is a distant connection there.

According to Wikipedia, Newcastle upon Tyne owes its name to the castle built in 1080, by Robert II, Duke of Normandy, the eldest son of William the Conqueror.

Castile, the area of Spanish I come from, means “land of castles” and the first record of the name appears in a document from the year 800. Nowadays (since 1978) the area is divided in two regions (or “Autonomous Communities”): Castile-León and Castile-La Mancha (where I was born). Until then the division was between New Castile and Old Castile. New Castile included all the same provinces Castile- La Mancha does now, plus the province of Madrid, which is now its own, separate “Autonomous Community”

So, I grew up in New Castile and now live in New Castle...

As a piece of trivia, Castile-La Mancha alone has 63 castles. One of the most beautiful ones is, in my opinion, this one, in Riba de Santiuste: