María Zambrano Alarcón

María Zambrano Alarcón (22 April 1904 – 6 February 1991) was a Spanish essayist and philosopher associated with the Generation of ’36 movement. She was awarded the Prince of Asturias Award in 1981 and the Miguel de Cervantes Prize in 1988. She was the first woman to receive the latter prize.

There are many streets, shopping centres and plazas named after Maria Zambrano – several in Nerja – and this sculpture, by Francisco Martín, is located in front of the Town Hall in Vélez-Málaga.

María Zambrano Alarcón

Francisco Martín is also responsible for quite a few sculptures in Nerja, including the statue of Alfonso XII and the Caves globe sculpture on the Balcón de Europa.

During the 1920s and 1930s, she actively campaigned for the establishment of the Spanish Second Republic. However, after Spain became a Republic again, she declined the possibility of becoming an MP and refused further participation in party politics as she had become somewhat disillusioned. Despite this, when the Spanish Civil War began in 1936, she openly sided with the Republic and consequently went into exile after its defeat in 1939.

After living in France, Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Italy, and Switzerland, Maria Zambrano finally returned to Madrid in 1984 after the death of Franco.  She died on 6 February 1991 in Madrid and was buried in the cemetery of her hometown Vélez-Málaga.

In December 2007, when the Madrid-Málaga high-speed rail line was opened, the railway company RENFE renamed Málaga railway station ‘María Zambrano’.

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