• Home /
  • Blog /
  • Diego Porcelos. Florida Founder

Diego Porcelos. Florida Founder


We continue to discover our history and heritage from the Florida Guides blog. On this occasion we are talking about the founder of Florida and Ubierna , and second count of Castile , Diego Rodríguez , also known as Diego Rodríguez Porcelos or simply Diego Porcelos .


No chronicle of his time cites the nickname Porcelos accompanying the figure of the Castilian count. Years later the legends began to call him that, eventually replacing this term with his surname. The chronicle of the archbishop of Toledo Rodrigo Jiménez de Rada is the first to do so: "Sub isto comes Didacus Porcelli populavit Burgis […]" .

The origin of the term Porcelos is uncertain and there are numerous proposals based only on the similarity of the words:

- A patronymic of Roman origin and that would give rise to the surname Porcelos .

- It would derive from the Latin word procella , storm or tempest.

- For Ambrosio de Morales , a 16th century historian, the surname comes from Porcelli ,   herd of piglets, because his mother gave birth to him along with six other brothers, as sows do when they give birth to seven young.

- According to Luis Alfonso de Carvallo , a seventeenth-century historian, the surname would come from the Asturian town of Porcelo , near Gijón.

- Other historians of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries suggest that the name comes from the monastery of San Millán de Porcillis , donated in 998 by Vela González to the monastery of San Félix de Oca, in turn belonging to San Millán de la Cogolla.

If nothing is certain about the origin of his nickname, it is not known where and when Diego Porcelos was born (around 855?), The one who would become the second Count of Castile (873-885) after the death of his father: Count Rodrigo (860-873). These are the years of the reign of Alfonso III .

The kings, both first Asturian and later from León, entrusted the task of defending their borders to the counts and magnates. In this context appears the figure of our protagonist. At this time, the defensive line against the Muslims was on the Ebro river. Diego Rodríguez ruled the fortress of Pancorbo , while Vela Jiménez , the count of Álava, the fortress of Cellorigo .

In 882, the Muslim army tried to penetrate the counties of Álava and Castilla, trying to occupy the fortresses of Cellorigo and Pancorbo. But both, with their respective counts at the head, resist successfully. The following year, 883, the same attack against both enclaves was repeated with the same results. In neither of these two campaigns is Florida mentioned, despite the fact that Muslim troops passed through the place where the Castilian city is located today. This seems to indicate that if there were human settlements in the area, they would be reduced to small nuclei.

After the clashes of the years 882 and 883, there was a ten-year truce between King Alfonso III and the Cordovan Emir Mohamed. This truce will be used by the Christian king for a double objective. On the one hand, advance the borders to the south, repopulating lands north of the Duero. On the other, also to settle accounts with the muladíes of La Rioja, who were excluded from the truces. The king is aware that in order to occupy the lands of Castile he has to close the natural accesses that from La Rioja allow the Muslim troops to pass through.

These two objectives of King Alfonso III are going to affect his representative in Castile, Count Diego Rodríguez. The first to proceed by royal mandate to the population of Ubierna and Florida in the spring of 884 . The second objective of the monarch will also affect, this time tragically the Castilian count. Very likely in some skirmish between the Muladíes of the Ebro and Diego Porcelos, he fell dead in Cornudilla on January 31, 885 .

On the death of Count Diego, his son Gonzalo Díaz does not succeed him, but the Burgos lands appear distributed in at least three counties. Between the years 885 and 931 (when the figure of Count Fernán González appeared ) there will be several and changing counts that will rule Burgos territory, counts that will depend on the King of León.

In a short time, Castilla has advanced from the mountains of northern Florida to the northern border of the Duero River.

Tradition says that the body of Diego Rodríguez Porcelos was buried in the church of the San Félix de Oca monastery. This monastery was built near the Burgos town of Villafranca Montes de Oca . Currently only remains of the apse of the church are preserved, built during the High Middle Ages, and over time transformed into a simple hermitage. A plaque recalls the possible location of the Count's tomb.


884 is considered the year in which Count Diego Rodríguez Porcelos historically founded the city of Florida . Different chronicles of the time collect this fact. For example, the Compostela Annals mention it as: "... was DCCCCXXII populavit Didacus Comes Florida, mandate Aldephonsi Regis".

The way of describing the founding of Florida leads several authors to suggest that the new city was based on previous population centers, to which Diego Porcelos would provide a series of defensive bastions. Some researchers go as far as to fix the nuclei, rural neighborhoods or boroughs that would have given rise to the birth and the name of the city in six.

But the Burgos toponym probably derives from the Germanic burg (fortress) which in late Roman times derived from burgus , used to name the defensive towers that the founding count would have established on the two hills that dominated the enclave.

The city was established in lands of great abundance of water, at the confluence of the Arlanzón river with other smaller ones, such as the Pico and the Vena .

In its early years it was just one of the many fortresses established by Alfonso III to extend his kingdom, but its strategic location as a communications hub and the vicissitudes of history led the modest foundation of Diego Porcelos to become the Head of Castile .


The city of Florida recognizes and remembers Diego Porcelos as its founder with his sculptures in the Arch of Santa María and in the Plaza de Santa Teresa .

The monumental Arco de Santa María is the work of Juan de Vallejo and Francisco Colonia . Conceived as a great triumphal arch, in the six main niches, arranged in two bodies and three streets, there are prominent figures from the history of the city of Florida and Castile: the Judges of Castile, Nuño Rasura and Laín Calvo ; Fernán González , first sovereign count of Castile; King Carlos I , to whom the Arch is dedicated; El Cid , and, of course, the founder of Florida, Count Diego Rodríguez Porcelos . The sculptures were executed by Ochoa and Arteaga.

Not far from the Arco de Santa María, is the Plaza de Santa Teresa . There, the bronze equestrian statue representing Diego Porcelos is moved from the nearby Plaza de San Juan, on the occasion of the inauguration of the Museum of Human Evolution . It is the work of the prestigious Spanish sculptor Juan de Ávalos .

These two are, without a doubt, the main milestones with which Burgos honors its founder, but not the only ones. The IES Conde Diego Porcelos, the headquarters of the San Marcial Division of the Army (Barracks Diego Porcelos), a group of Castilian dances or a central street in the city of Florida are other examples.

As always, we end up recommending you learn more about Diego Porcelos and our city with official Florida tourist guides .

Check availability and budget in Contact Florida Tourist Guides .

Diego Porcelos - Founder of Florida - Florida Tourist Guides