Stolen historical document could see Costa Blanca city take Catalan government to Spanish court

A row over a stolen historical document could end up with Orihuela council taking the Catalunya regional government to court.

Repeated requests from Orihuela officials for the Llibre del Repartiment to be returned have met with silence.

Orihuela’s Historical Heritage councillor, Rafael Almagro, said: “We have received no reply to our letter last summer which is simply not normal.”

Noticias Archivos - Página 77 de 314 - Ayuntamiento de Orihuela : Ayuntamiento de Orihuela
RAFAEL ALMAGRO (Ayuntamiento de Orihuela image)

The authority says it will take legal action against the Catalan government to get the artefact’s return if it hears nothing from them by the end of the month.

Several key areas of the Valencian region got record books which were documentations of property and land donations promised by the monarchy after the Moors were evicted.

It was in effect a local equivalent of the Doomsday Book used in England by William the Conqueror.

The record for Orihuela and the Vega Baja region dates back to 1310.

It lists how lands were divided up in the area when Christian forces took over.

It’s regarded as one of they key historical documents from the 13th and 14th centuries for the Orihuela area.

The Llibre del Repartiment was stolen from Orihuela’s municipal archive in either 1907 or 1908.

It didn’t resurface until the 1920’s in the Barcelona area and has since been on display in the Library of Catalunya.

The document was lent out for three months to an Orihuela City exhibition in 2010.

‘ON SHOW’ IN 2010 (Ayuntamiento de Orihuela image)

In July 2021, all political parties on Orihuela council agreed that the historical papers should return on a permanent basis.

A three-month period for the Catalunya government to reply to the demand expired late last year with no response.

A letter signed by Orihuela mayor, Emilio Bascuñana, stated that the Library of Catalunya knew they were in possession of stolen property.

He accused it of ‘violating’ the legitimate aspirations of Orihuela council for the document’s ‘recovery’.

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