The square in Villanueva del Trabuco. Salvador Salas
Villanueva del Trabuco: A medieval assault weapon

Villanueva del Trabuco: A medieval assault weapon

The town is said to have received its name from a huge catapult, known as a trabuco, or trabuquete, installed in the town in the 15th century

Tony Bryant

Friday, 9 June 2023


Recent archaeological dscoveries show that the town of Villanueva del Trabuco (in the north of Malaga province) has been populated at least since Roman times. Only a few written testimonies of the names this settlement was known by during the Roman era exist today, such as Ulisys and Ouvilla, although the exact location of these settlements is not known.

According to a study carried out by Malaga university, the valley in which the town is located was "practically uninhabited for almost a millennium", and was of little interest during the Arab occupation of Andalucía.

The report suggests that the entire Alto Valle del Guadalhorce "remained depopulated and became an extensive forest" from the beginning of the 7th century until the end of the 15th century.

The first time the name Trabuco appeared was during the reign of the Catholic Monarchs, which is attested by sources such as the chronicles of the 15th century royal secretary and historian, Fernando del Pulgar. The historian claimed that the place received its name from a huge catapult that was installed in the town, known at that time as a trabuco, or a trabuquete. The assault weapon, which was capable of launching huge rocks, was thought to have been used by King Ferdinand II to attack the nearby town of Loja.

This type of weapon was also mentioned in the novel Don Quixote, in which Cervantes claimed that a trabuco does not refer to a firearm, but to a catapult.

It had long been believed by some academics, and also many locals, that the toponym derived from the name of the blunderbuss (trabuco). This version is based on a 15th-century legend concerning an inn owner known as Tito Trabuco, because he carried a blunderbuss to protect himself from bandits when travelling from Trabuco to Archidona to collect supplies. However, historians dispute this version, as the blunderbuss did not become popular until the middle of the 16th century.


Reporta un error en esta noticia

* Campos obligatorios