It’s all in a name? Palos de Moguer, Palos de la Frontera - which is it?
What a story! Some chroniclers get muddled and make a mistake, causing confusion for more than 300 years, forcing a change in the name of a street and the name of a Metro station in the middle of the movida madrileña. Sound strange? Read on.
The bizarre story begins in 1949, when the Palos de Moguer station first opened, taking the name of the street where it was located. But this municipality did not exist, it was a combination of the names of two independent municipalities.
The confusion dates back a long way, to the first chroniclers who landed in the Americas, Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo and Francisco López de Gómara, who believed that Palos and Moguer were a single town in Huelva. And the confusion continued, well into the 20th and even the 21st century.
When Colón set out from there, the town was simply called Palos, but confusion was spreading due to inaccurate chronicles. After 150 years of unsuccessfully trying to clarify, in 1642 the Municipal Council decided to call it Palos de la Frontera.
In the 19th century a street was built in Madrid with the name of Palos de Moguer. Later the street gave its name to the Metro station, which in turn gave its name to the neighbourhood where it was located in 1971, a name that it has kept until today, because the change of name from Palos de Moguer to Palos de la Frontera was only approved a few weeks ago.
Palos de Moguer street changed its name in 1972, but the Metro station still had the wrong name until the 1980s. It took an agreement between the then Compañía Metropolitano de Madrid and the Huelva City Council to change the name of the station.
The Instituto de Cooperación Iberoamericana even had to step in, offering to share the costs of the name change with the Palos de la Frontera Town Council and the company itself: 3 million pesetas!
Eventually an agreement was reached and on 30 May 1986 the Metro station on line 3 was renamed Palos de la Frontera, the name it still bears today.