Asturias, patria querida is the anthem of the Spanish autonomous community of Asturias, although it is widely regarded throughout the Spanish territory as a kind of informal, festive substitute to the Spanish national anthem, which used to lack lyrics. The reason for this lies on the also common saying: "Asturias es España y el resto es tierra conquistada" (Asturias is Spain and the rest is conquered territory). This statement refers to the fact that, when the Visigothic kingdom of Hispania was invaded by the Moors in 711, only a northern stripe, known as the Kingdom of Asturias, remained in the hands of the Hispanic Christians. Therefrom the Reconquista began and so was the saying formed.
This adaptation of a much slower song from the neighbouring lands of Cantabria (Madre, cuando voy a leña) was appointed as official anthem after a contest in Oviedo in the 1890s. It has both a Castilian and an Asturian version. It is also a popular melody for bagpipers.
It has been recently discovered that this song was written in Cuba. The father of the author had returned to his beloved Asturias to die, the author - Ignacio Piñeiro - dedicated the song to his father. The music was different, it is believed to be a melody that Polish miners from the area of Opole Silesia -that worked in Asturian coal mines at the beginning of the 20th century- had brought to Asturias. In fact, the song is still known in Polonia, where it was taught as a patriotic song
A few versions of the anthem were created by the republican side of the Spanish Civil War, therefore the anthem was seen as a miners song (it is said the miners revolt in Asturias in 1934 was a wake-up call to the civil war) and as a left-wing song by the right-wing Nationalists. The song was ridiculed in times of Francisco Franco, to the point of being considered "the anthem of the drunks" (el himno de los borrachos), a concept that still exists in some parts of Spain.
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