Last modified: 2016-05-16 by ivan sache
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Flag of Colmenar Viejo - Image by Ivan Sache, 5 July 2015
The municipality of Colmenar Viejo (47,445 inhabitants in 2014; 18,206 ha; municipal website) is located in the center of the Community of Madrid, 30 km of Madrid.
Colmenar Viejo was settled in the 7th century by a dense network of
Visigothic farms, whose remains have been found in Navalvillar,
Navalhija, Los Villares and El Grajal. The necropolis of Fuente del
Moro and Remediosa are dated of the same period. The dwellings were
located near the road connecting Segovia and Alcalá de Henares, which
crossed river Manzanaeres by the Grajal and Nuevo (new) bridges.
The town was first mentioned in the first half of the 13th century. It might have been named for a bee-hive (colmenar) owned by an elder (viejo). Another explanation says that Colmenar Viejo was the oldest of the villages bearing the name in the region (Colmenar de Oreja, Colmenarejo, Colmenar del Arroyo, Colmenar de la Sierra...).
Colmenar Viejo was part of the Real de Manzanares, a domain established in 1332 by King Alfonso X the Wise and granted in 1383 by John I to his majordomo, Pedro González de Mendoza. His nephew, Iñigo López de Mendoza, was made Count of the Real de Manzanares and Marquis of Santillana by John II. The most populated villages of the Real de Manzanares, Colmenar Viejo was granted on 22 November 1504 the status of municipality by Isabel the Catholic, separating form the Real de Manzanares. The town was granted the status of villa in 1594.
Ivan Sache, 5 July 2015
The flag (photo, photo, photo, photo) of Colmenar Viejo is purple with the municipal coat of arms in the middle. The flag does not appear to have been officially approved.
The coat of arms of Colmenar Viejo was originally prescribed by a
Decree adopted on 30 July 1985 by the Government of the Community of
Madrid and published on 23 August 1985 in the official gazette of the
Community of Madrid, No. 200, p. 1 (text).
The coat of arms is described as follows:
Coat of arms: Per pale, 1. Quarterly per saltire, 1. and 4. Vert a bend gules fimbriated or, 2. and 3. The angelic salute 'Ave María gratia plena' in letters azure, 2. Gules a crescent inverted checky or and sable. A bordure azure charged with 11 bee-hives argent, one in the middle beneath the crown, four affronty one each side and two centered in base. The shield surmounted by a Ducal coronet [description skipped].
The final design shall take into account that the field of the shield is semicircular in base and that the Ducal coronet is clearly placed above the shield without entering the bordure, the diadem being horizontal.
This was corrected by a Decree adopted on 5 December 1985 by the
Government of the Community of Madrid and published on 4 February 1986
in the official gazette of the Community of Madrid, No. 29, p. 2 (text).
In the description, "Ave Maríaa" was substituted to "Ave María gratia plena".
The coat of arms was modified by a Decree adopted on 18 July 1991 by
the Government of the Community of Madrid and published on 28 November
1991 in the official gazette of the Community of Madrid, No. 283 (text) and on 14 November 1991 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 273, p. 37,035 (text).
The coat of arms is described as follows:
Coat of arms: Per pale, 1. Quarterly per saltire, 1. and 4. Vert a bend gules fimbriated or, 2. and 3. The angelic salute "Ave María", 2. Gules a crescent inverted argent and the base of the same. A bordure azure charged with 11 bee-hives argent [Crown not mentioned].
The shape of the shield shall be circular in base, as prescribed by Article 3 of Decree No. 30, adopted on 9 April 1987 by the Government of the Community of Madrid.
The preamble of the Decree says that the modification of the design was required by the municipality, after having noticed in March 1991 that the coat of arms in actual use differed from the prescribed design. The Assessors' Commission of the Community of Madrid pointed out that the Decree prescribing the arms contained material errors in the description of the arms, which had to be corrected.
The Royal Academy of History validated the arms originally proposed,
with "a Royal crown closed, not shown on the flawed drawing attached
to the submission".
[Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia, 1985, 182, 1: 184]
The Manual of Graphical Identity of the Municipality of Colmenar Viejo (PDF) presents a "unified" version of the coat of arms. The pointed shape matches the stone shield featured on the northern gate of the Ascension basilica of Colmenar Viejo.
The arms feature dexter the arms of the Mendoza and sinister the canting arms of Álvaro de Luna, Constable of Castile. The juxtaposition of the two arms recalls the marriage of Iñigo López de Mendoza with María de Luna Pimentel, the daughter of Álvaro de Luna and Juana Pimentel.
The bee-hive has been used for long as a distinctive element by the Municipal Council, as shown on a stone shield featured on the light tower of Plaza del Pueblo (early 20th century). Philip II's Relaciones Topográphocas (1580) say that the arms of Colmenar are a bee-hive; this is confirmed by Cardinal Lorenzana's Relaciones (1785), which mention 11 bee-hives as the arms of the town. The bee-hives are now represented or instead of argent as prescribed.
The shield is surmounted by a Ducal coronet, recalling that Diego Hurtado de Mendoza was made in 1475 Duke of the Infantado by the Catholic Monarchs.
A construction sheet of the coat of arms is given, as well as colour specifications:
Colour CMYK (%) RGB HTML Pantone Yellow 0-24-85-0 241-79-65 # fic741 123 Blue 100-11-24-0 0-144-178 # 0090b2 3135 Green 79-22-99-5 90-135-57 # 5a8739 363 Red 18-99-69-6 164-27-61 # a41b3d 193
The Manual,undated, was announced in November 2012, after the
Municipal Council had, unanimously, launched the project. The
"unification" was required since different versions of the coat of
arms were concomitantly used by different branches of the municipal
[Madrid Norte 24 Horas, 29 November 2012]
Diego Hurtado de Mendoza y Figueroa (1415/1417-1479), the elder son of
Íñigo López de Mendoza, First Marquis of Santillana, was made Duke of the Infantado (full title, "Duque de las Cinco Villas del Estado del Infantado") in 1475; subsequently, the Dukes of the Infantado were made first-rank Grandees of Spain, and were therefore allowed to wear
their hat in the presence of the king. Íñigo de Arteaga y Martín (b. 1941) is the 19th Duke of the Infantado.
"Vert a bend gules fimbriated or" are the oldest known arms of Mendoza; subsequently modified several times, the arms always included a red bend on a green field. The arms quartered per saltire were introduced by the first Marquis of Santillana and appear on a seal dated 1440; the marquis quartered his father's arms (Mendoza) with his mother's arms (de la Vega). His descendants were known as Mendoza de Guadalajara or Mendoza de l'Ave María. In the representations of these arms, the first quarter is inscribed with "AVE MARÍA" while the third quarter is inscribed with "PLENA GRATIA" (or, at least "GRATIA").
[José Luis García de Paz (UAM), Los poderosos Mendoza website]
Ivan Sache, 5 July 2015