La Febró: a town surrounded by legends

A town surrounded by legends and mysteries couldn’t let us know easily the real origin of its name. But this is not an exception, as many of the towns we have been studying and analysing have different stories and interpretations  regarding its origin and legend. Having in mind the different phonetic alterations that this town’s... View Article


A town surrounded by legends and mysteries couldn’t let us know easily the real origin of its name. But this is not an exception, as many of the towns we have been studying and analysing have different stories and interpretations  regarding its origin and legend.

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Having in mind the different phonetic alterations that this town’s name has experimented along the centuries, and according to different etymological analysis, the origin of “La Febró” could come from the Latin word “Villa-Fabrorum”, meaning “town or artisans” or more precisely “town of blacksmiths and carpenters”. The name of the town has evolved from the original “Illa villa febrorum” to febro, febrosa, la febror (with an -r at the end) and finally “La Febró”. The first document where we can see the actual name of the town dates from 1163, and is the Llibre Blanc de Santes Creus (white book of Santes Creus), although it was known as La Febrosa in the sixteenth century.
And the legends surrounding the town’s origin confirms that during the creation of the town, there were an extremely bad fever and people started naming the town as Febrosa (the one with fever), which finally became La febró.

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And we can not miss another etymological version which, according to the the philologist Dolors Bramon, relates the origin of the name with the overwhelming presence of beavers in the area (in such a remote time as is the beginning of the Christian era). It is important to remember, first of all the geographic situation of the town: divided in two by the source of the Siurana river, with the “Serra de la Mussara” in one or the parts and the buttress of the “Muntanyes de Prades” in the other. This privileged situation, could be the reason why this town was once the perfect place to raise beavers, whose presence in several similar places around the Iberian Peninsula has been widely documented along the centuries. Although the Catalan name of beavers “Castor” has apparently nothing to do with the name of this town, its important to mention that the word “castor” came from the Greek, while the Latin word to designate these animals was bever o fiver.

The presence of “Febronencs” (how inhabitants of La Febró are known) has been documented since the neolithic, thanks to the remains found in one of the town’s caves. The different census that remain from centuries ago, show that the maximum number of citizens registered in the town is around 300, while nowadays there are only about 50 people living there the whole year, being one of the towns with less population in Catalunya with an area of 16 square kilometres.

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