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Almoguera (Municipality, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain)

Last modified: 2020-02-11 by ivan sache
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Presentation of Almoguera

The municipality of Almoguera (1,306 inhabitants in 2018; 11,929 ha) is located 60 km south-east of Guadalajara.

Almoguera was most probably named for an Arab word meaning "a cave". The area was the place of a revolt led from 768 to 777 by Shaqya ben Abd al Wahid, a member of the Mibnasa tribe who proclaimed himself a direct descendant of the Prophet, raised his own armies and ruled a big territory. One century later, Omar ben Hafs and his son, Calif ben Hafsum, revolted against the Omeyyad Caliph of Córdoba, Abd al-Rahman III.
After the Christian reconquest, Almoguera and the whole region of lower Alcarria were granted by Alfonso VII to Alvar Fáñez de Minaya, commissioned to defend the Tagus border. Almoguera was transferred to the Order of Calatrava in 1175. Martín de Siones, Master of the Order, granted in 1180 a Royal provilege to Zorita and its district, Almoguera included.
The militia of Almoguera contributed to the wars against the Kingdom of Granada, for instance the seizure of Algeciras. In the 14th-15th centuries, the town was involved in the intestine struggle within the Order of Calatrava. In 1538, Charles I separated Almoguera from the Order and sold it to Luis Hurtado de Mendoza, Marquess of Mondéjar and commander of the Alhambra fortress in Granada.
[Los Escritos de Herrea Casado, 11 October 2013]

Alvar Fáñez (1047-1114) was a relative of Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar (El Cid), who called him "mi anai" (Old Castilan, "my brother"), therefore his nickname of Minaya. Presented in the Cantar as El Cid's alter ego and best brother in arms, Fáñez was in the real life the most loyal captain of King of Castile Alfonso VI, who defended the Tagus border and prevented the Almoravids to reconqueer Toledo. El Cid and Fáñez were both named Knights of the Order of St. James in the church of Zamora; they contributed to the success of Sancho II, King of Castile, in the battles of Llantada (1068) and Golpejara (1072), fought against his brother Alfonso, King of León. Fáñez ednured the Leonese attack that resulted in the capture of Sancho, while El Cid counter-attacked, liberated his king and captured Alfonso, who was exiled to Toledo, then ruled by Almamun. After the murder of Sancho in Zamora in 1072, Alfonso VI reunited the kingdoms of Castile and León and seized Toeldo from the Moors in 1085, with the support of Fáñez. The fall of Toledo prompted the Almoravids to invade Al Andalus; Fáñez was commissioned to defend the Tagus border. His cavalry included the fierce "dawair" Moslims, who had taken the Christian party after the Almoravid conquest. Following the disaster of Uclés (1108) and the death of Alfonso's unique son, Sancho, aged 12, and of the seven Castilian counts, Fáñez crossed the Sierre de Altomira and headed to Zorita. He resumed resistance to the Moors' advance, seizing Cuenca, soon lost, but resisted in Toledo to the assault by Emir Ben Yusuf Tasufin.
After decades of fighting against the Muslims, Fáñez was killed in April 1114 in Segovia by partisans of Alfonso I the Battler, King of Aragón, who was in struggle with his wife Urraca, Alfonso VI's daughter.
[ABC, 2 July 2018]

Ivan Sache, 6 September 2019

Symbols of Almoguera

The flag of Almoguera (photo) is prescribed by an Order issued on 8 June 2005 by the Government of Castilla-La Mancha and published on 17 June 2005 in the official gazette of Castilla-La Mancha, No. 121, p. 12,214 (text).
The flag is described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular panel, in proportions 2:3, horizontally divided into four stripes of equal length, yellow, red, green, and yellow, from top to bottom. Charged in the center with the municipal coat of arms.

The Royal Academy of History rejected the proposed flag since it includes a coat of arms that is not officially approved. The municipality was required to first search for the approval of the coat of arms.
[Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia 202:2,312. 2005]

The coat of arms of Almoguera is "Spanish shield. Vert a castle or masoned sable port and windows gules charged with a cross flory gules surrounded by two flags gules with Arab writing in base three Moor's heads proper. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed, compliant with the legally established monarchic regime."

Philip II's Relaciones Topográficas include the contribution forwarded in 1566 by two villagers, Diego de Salcedo El Viejo and Pedro de Salcedo. They claim that Almoguera uses proper arms, which they describe as "The coat of arms of Alamguero features three Moor's heads on a green field and a golden castle with a red cross, two colored flags inscribed with Arab letters reading 'galler gallum laala', which are translated by those who know Arab as 'There is no victory without God'. The arms are said to have been granted to the town by Alfonso IX because several men from this Council fought in the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in the service of the king, especially a Domingo Pascual, Canon of Toledo, born in Almoguera, who raised the pennant of the Archbishop of Toledo, Rodrigo, during the battle."
These arms, rooted in the traditions of the Christian reconquest, to which the town significantly contributed, are centered on the castle, recalling the one that yielded force and fame to the town, and the red Cross of Calatrava, to which Almoguera belonged. The Moor's heads represent the enemy, while the flags were conquerred during a battle, here not Las Navas de Tolosa but a subsequent fighting against the Kingdom of Granada in the time of Sancho IV or Alfonso XI. The flags are inscribed with the motto of the Al Ahmar family, "Gua-la Galib-ila-Allah".
The coat of arms has been traditionally used for at least four centuries; the Town Hall keeps a painted version from the 18th century. The same design was commonly used the 19th century on seals, documents and stamps.
[Antonio Herrera Casado & Antonio Ortiz García. Heráldica municipal de Guadalajara. 2001]

Ivan Sache, 6 September 2019