Author: Gregory Kaplan
Author info: Professor of Spanish and Associate Department Head of Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures
Publication Date: 2009
Publisher: Santander: Gobierno de Cantabria
Synopsis: The original title of this book is Valderredible, Cantabria (España): La cuna de la lengua española. In this groundbreaking book, Kaplan presents a variety of evidence — including linguistic features of medieval and modern Spanish, toponyms, and late classical and early medieval inscriptions (the analysis of which is accompanied by a number of photographs) — in order to prove that the Spanish language was born in Cantabria, a region in the north of Spain. In particular, Kaplan situates the birth of Spanish in Valderredible, a valley in the south of Cantabria through which the Ebro River begins its course. An important pilgrimage route was forged through Valderredible by the followers of St. Millán (b. 474-d. 574), a hermit who spent the last 30 years of his life in one of a number of caves located in the valley. Kaplan describes how the prestige associated with the language employed by the followers of St. Millán was the decisive factor that contributed to the dissemination of early Spanish throughout most of the Iberian Peninsula and, ultimately, the American continents, and other regions of the world.