Heraldic biography

Maximiliano de Cabrera noble and ancient lineage can be traced all the way back to ancient times, with accounts describing his ancestors settling in Galicia, Aragon and Catalonia, and one of his forebears even holding the title of Viscount of Catalonia and San Blas.

The House of Cabrera is mentioned in Galicia and Aragon in accounts from late and classical antiquity. Historians from both regions believe that the Cabrera from the Kingdom of Aragon do not share the same lineage as the Galician Cabrera. Instead, the Aragon Cabrera are thought to have descended from a French knight who came to Spain accompanying Emperor Charlemagne in his fight against the Moors. The conclusion is drawn from studying the coat of arms of each respective Cabrera clan; the crest of the Catalan Cabrera from Aragon bears a horned goat on a silver field, while the coat of arms of the Cabrera from Galicia portrays two goats that were given by King Alfonso XI. Nonetheless, many others refute the theory and insist that all the Cabrera in Spain share the same family tree, with origins
tracing back to Galicia. As counterpoint to the coat of arms theory, historians cite the age-old presence of a single goat on the crest of the Cabrera of La Coruña. This theory is backed by an account from Rades de Andrada, who claimed to have seen documents bearing the single-goat coat of arms.

There is another argument put forth by supporters of the elder antiquity of the Galician Cabrera, and it is as follows: King Ramiro III of Leon sat on the throne from the age of six until his death in the year 985, a reign described by Ambrosio de Morales in the third tome of his work. His half-sister Ermesinda of Bigorre had a son named Sancho “el Velloso” Ramirez—who is considered to be the progenitor of the House of Cabrera. The prince was born in the year 978, what would have made him twenty-two in the year 1000, meaning the right age to have married and had children.

However, the first known report of Cabrera in the Kingdom of Aragon dates back to the year 1668. During that period, according to the historian Zurita, a great lord named Arnau Mir flourished and ruled over a number of castles in the Urgel, Pallarés and Ribagorza regions. Arnau Mir had four children. While both of his sons died before coming of age, he also had two daughters named Valencia and Lezgardiz. The former married Ramon, Count of Pallarés, while the latter wed Ponce Giraldo de Cabrera (according to the Jesuit Priests from the Company of Jesus who provided research and evidence for Zurita’s historical works). Ponce Giraldo became the very first Viscount of Cabrera and could very well have been the son or grandson of Sancho “el Velloso”. Thus, his Cabrera name and lineage would have come from Galicia, where Sancho was the rightful heir.

In 1068, the very same Zurita mentions Ponce in Chapter III  of his tome: “In 1091, Armengol, Count of Urgel, was the ward of Ramon, Viscount of Cardona, and Ponce, Viscount of Cabrera”.

Unfortunately, there are no traces of the Cabrera in Aragon and Catalonia until the year 1068, whereas the earliest mention of the family in Galicia dates back further, to the year 1000. In the year 1040, Zurita recounts the division of lands set forth by Ramón Berenguer, Count of Barcelona. The historian mentions the Viscounts of Cardona, Girona and Cervellón, among others, but does not mention Ponce, Viscount of Cabrera.

This latest clue begs further exploration into the origin of the House of Cabrera in Galicia—as well as its subsequent presence in Aragon and Catalonia—in an in-depth study of the branches and lines of this noble and extensive house.

Other writers have also weighed in on the origin of the Cabrera line in Galicia. Back in the days of the Reconquest, it was quite common for soldiers in the service of the Christian army to be awarded with titles, fiefs, and even the opportunity to rise into the ranks of the nobility. This very scenario did occur with some knights that went by the name Cabrera—loyal subjects to the king well-known for their courage throughout the Castilla region. Thus, as stated in the “Heraldic Dictionary and Nobiliary of the Reigns of Spain”, the surname hails from Galicia, where it was passed down through the generations to the knight Sancho “el Velloso”, born in 978, the natural son of Ramiro III of Leon.

In the year 791, Charlemagne (future emperor) granted the title of Viscount of Cabrera to Ponce of Cabrera, a title that was upheld by his family line once more between 1353 and 1572. The surname is also linked to Goth monarchs via Prince Osorio, cousin of King Pelayo of Asturias.

Another branch of the tree takes us to the Canarian House formed by Alonso of Cabrera, son of Fernando Díaz de Cabrera, sixth Lord of the Towers of Arias Cabrera, King Enrique III’s ambassador to the Moorish King of Granada and conqueror of Antequera. His son, Diego Cabrera—“El Viejo”—went on to conquer the Canary Islands. Alonso of Cabrera, “24th Knight” of Cordoba, moved to Lanzarote and later to Fuerteventura. He is the forebear of the famous Colonel of the island, who laid claim to the Palace of the town of La Oliva. One branch of the noble house continued in Catalonia and the other took part in the conquest of Cordoba, laying down a new base for future generations of the family.