Batalla De Villalar by Manuel Picolo López
Celebrated annually on 23 April, this is a public holiday in the Castile and León region of Spain. In Spanish, it is known as 'Día de Castilla y León'.
The holiday commemorates the defeat of the comuneros at the Battle of Villalar during the Revolt of the Comuneros, in 1521.
In 1516, Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire had become Charles I of the Spanish Empire. The rule of Charles was causing discontent amongst many Spanish as the King was seen as not interested in Spain but only the money he could extract from Spain by taxation.
In 1520, these resentments led to a popular uprising in the Castilian towns. The demands of the protestors weren't revolution, they wanted the King to live in Spain, appoint local advisors and acknowledge the civil liberties of the Spanish.
The uprising, known as the Revolt of the Comuneros (communities of Castile) gained early success, taking control of the cities of Valladolid, Tordesillas, and Toledo. However, Charles' forces eventually defeated the less organised rebels on 23 April 1521 at the Battle of Villalar. The defeat dealt a fatal blow to the rebellion and with the execution of its leaders, the uprising was over.
Though the battle ended in defeat for the local rebellion, Charles did eventually take more interest in Spain, learning the language and spending almost half his forty year reign in Spain.
The Battle of Villalar became a symbol for Spanish liberals and the actions of the rebels were not forgotten in the centuries that have passed since the battle. In the 1970's, a resurgence in interest in the uprising led to increasingly large crowds gathering to remember the battle every year. In 1983, Castile and León became an autonomous community and in 1986, the local government gave the celebrations their official status as the Community Day of Castile and León.