One of the great mysteries surrounding Real Valladolid is the origin of the term Pucela and the associated gentilicio, pucelanos. It was first leaked in the press in the 1940s, specifically in a sports preview in El Norte de Castilla, and became popular in sporting circles and football chronicles from the 1970s onwards.
Over the years, we can speak of “unknown” as there are four theories (some have gained more strength than others), which could explain the origin of the term, although the specific birth of this word has never been known because its transmission was more oral than written. From Real Valladolid International Academy we invite you to discover them!
- The story goes that, in the 15th century, knights from Valladolid set sail for France to defend the side of the Maid of Orleans in the famous Hundred Years’ War against Great Britain (1337-1453). As in the old Castilian of the time, the word maiden was called ‘pucela’, these soldiers were nicknamed pucelas on their return to the city.
- Another theory of the origin of this pseudonym comes from Valladolid’s own geography. Located between the rivers Pisuerga and Esgueva and the Canal de Castilla, it was considered by many to be a well in a dry spot. From there, and from the diminutive “pozuela”, the word Pucela is derived.
- One of the most convincing stories is that the term Pucela owes its name to the trade in cement that the Castilian city developed with the Roman city of Pozzuoli. At that time, Valladolid was the only city that distributed the materials coming from Pozzuoli and, as a result of the industry developed by its inhabitants, the Castilian municipality inherited that pseudonym, which is still used today to refer to the players of Real Valladolid C.F.
- Finally, Professor César Hernández theorises that the term Pucela is related to the derogatory adjective with which the people of Madrid referred to the people of Valladolid when the Court was moved to Valladolid. The word ‘pulgoso’ could have derived from ‘pucelano’.
Whatever the origin of the word Pucela, it is common to find that Valladolid and Pucela are used as synonyms, Valladolid being considered the formal term and Pucela the informal or colloquial one.
So, if one day someone from Madrid, for example, asks someone from Valladolid, “hey, where are you from? It is not unusual for the answer to be: “me? from Pucela”. Take part of Real Valladolid International Academy and feel like an authentic pucelano. Join us and live it first hand!