Jativa - Encyclopedia

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JATIVA (formerly written Xativa), or SAN Felipe De Jativa, a town of eastern Spain, in the province of Valencia, on the right bank of the river Albaida, a tributary of the Jucar, and at the junction of the Valencia-Murcia and Valencia-Albacete railways. Pop. (1900), 12,600. Jativa is built on the margin of a fertile and beautiful plain, and on the southern slopes of the Monte Bernisa, a hill with two peaks, each surmounted by a castle. With its numerous fountains, and spacious avenues shaded with elms or cypresses, the town has a clean and attractive appearance. Its collegiate church, dating from 1414, but rebuilt about a century later in the Renaissance style, was formerly a cathedral, and is the chief among many churches and convents. The town-hall and a church on the castle hill are partly constructed of inscribed Roman masonry, and several houses date from the Moorish occupation. There is a brisk local trade in grain, fruit, wine, oil and rice.

Jativa was the Roman Saetabis, afterwards Valeria Augusta, of Carthaginian or Iberian origin. Pliny (23-79) and Martial (c. 40 - 102) mention the excellence of its linen cloth. Under the Visigoths (c. 483-711) it became an episcopal see; but early in the 8th century it was captured by the Moors, under whom it attained great prosperity, and received its present name. It was reconquered by James I. of Aragon (1213-1276). During the 15th and 16th centuries, Jativa was the home of many members of the princely house of Borgia or Borja, who migrated hither from the town of Borja in the province of Saragossa. Alphonso Borgia, afterwards Pope Calixtus III., and Rodrigo Borgia, afterwards Pope Alexander VI., were natives of Jativa, born respectively in 1378 and 1431. The painter Jusepe Ribera was also born here in 1588. Owing to its gallant defence against the troops of the Archduke Charles in the war of the Spanish succession, Jativa received the additional name of San Felipe from Philip V. (1700-1746) .

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