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Los Yébenes (Municipality, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain)

Last modified: 2020-04-03 by ivan sache
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Presentation of Los Yébenes

The municipality of Los Yébenes (5,983 inhabitants in 2018; 67,698 ha, therefore the biggest municipality in the province by its area; tourism website) is located on the border with the Province of Ciudad Real, 40 km south of Toledo.

Los Yébenes, located in the easternmost part of the Toledo Mountains, is named for the Arab word yebel, "a mount".
The area was already settled in the 2nd millenium BC, as evidenced by the sites of Montón de Trigo, a fortified camp established atop a hill not excavate yet, and Las Chorreras, which features two shelters decorated with schematic rock paintings dated between 1350 and 1305 BC, described in detail by Carlos León.
The Celtiberian town of Noliva, which surrendered in 561 to Praetor Fulvius, is said to have been located on the territory of Los Yébenes; this hypothesis is not supported by firm evidence but the remains of a Roman road.

Los Yébenes was probably settled by the Romans under the reign of Emperor Trajan. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the area was part of the Visigoth kingdom whose capital was Toledo; the monastery of Los Hitos might have been built in the 7th century in Matabueyes, on the road connecting Arisgotas and Orgaz. During the Muslim rule, Los Yébenes was a strategic place located on the road connecting Córdoba to Toledo via the Yébenes pass. Alfonso VI reconquerred the area and granted it to the Order of St. John, only for a short period.
Crossed by the Royal Road connecting Toledo to Córdoba and Seville, the village of Yébenes was subsequently divided into two distinct entities, Yébenes de Toledo and Yébenes de San Juan. The two Yébenes were reunited to form a single municipality in 1835.

On 6 November 1214, King Henry I of Castile granted to Rodrigo Jiménez de Rada, Archbishop of Toledo, the castle of Milagro and its domain, which included Yébenes. In 1217, Ferdinand III the Saint succeeded his father and supported the archbishop in his attempt of re-settling the Toledo Mounts, granting privileges to the colonists. The possessions of Toledo, Yébenes included, were confirmed by a Bull issued on 9 February 1217 by Pope Honorius III. On 25 January 1222, Ferdinand rewarded the support of Rodrigo in his campaigns against the Moors by extending his domain; the village as renamed to Yébenes de Toledo. The archbishop transferred back those territories to the crown in 20 April 1243. To fund the war, the king sold the land, domain and jurisdiction of Yébenes to the Council of Toledo on 4 January 1246, which chartered Yébenes on 24 September 1258. The tradition says that the nobles of Toledo had to sell their most precious goods to fund the purchase. The Municipal Domain of the Proper and Mounts of the Town of Toledo was composed of 16 settlements divided into seven quadrillas, Yébenes being part of Milagro.
Upon the pressure of the Order of Saint John, which controlled the other part of the village, the privileges were increased by a new charter issued on 1 May 1371.

The Order of Saint John was granted in 1219 the castle of Consuegra and its domain, which included the other part of Yébenes. Renamed to Yébenes de San Juan, the village was chartered by the Order in 1238. The Prior of the Order then founded the village of Tembleque, assigning to the 250 colonists part of the territory of Yébenes de San Juan. This resulted ina long series of lawsuits between the two villages for territorial claims.

Ivan Sache, 10 September 2019

Symbols of Los Yébenes

The flag of Los Yébenes is prescribed by an Order issued on 19 October 2005 by the Government of Castilla-La Mancha and published on 1 November 2005 in the official gazette of Castilla-La Mancha, No. 218, pp. 19,192-19,193 (text).
The flag is described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular, in proportions 2:3, diagonally divided from the upper hoist to the lower flag into three stripes of equal width, green, white, and red, from top to bottom.

The proposed flag was supported by a memoir (text) submitted on 2 May 2004 by Ventura Leblic García to the Municipal Council of Los Yébenes.
The red and white colors are taken from the municipal coat of arms.
The green color is common to the flags of the municipalities part of the Toledo Mountains district, recalling that this color was already used in 1300 by the Hermandad Vieja, the municipal guild set up by the Council of of Toledo to manage the domain.
The memoir does not provide rationale for the arrangement of the colors, but states that the municipal coat of arms can be placed in the flag's center.

The coat of arms of Los Yébenes is prescribed by Royal Decree No. 3,518, signed on 14 December 1972 by the Spanish Government and published on 28 December 1972 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 311, p. 23,157 (text).
The coat of arms is described as follows:

Coat of arms: Per pale, 1. Argent an Imperial eagle sable, alluding to Toledo, 2. Gules a four-pointed cross flechy, alluding to the Order of Saint John [Crown not mentioned].

The Royal Academy rejected the proposed arms, "Or two towns gules (red) in fess, the one in chief charged with the arms of Toledo (An eagle displayed sable (black) charged with an escutcheon Quarterly, 1. and 4. Gules (red) a castle or masoned sable (black), 2. and 3. Argent a lion rampant purpure langued gules armed or. The shield surrounded by the Golden Fleece), the one in base charged with a Maltese Cross argent." The Academy rejected the incorporation of the Imperial arms of Toledo, which cannot be simplified and are ecessively complicated, therefore not compliant with the required simplicity. Moreovoer, the towns as they are represented look like factories or workshops with serrated roofs rather than traditional towns.
The historical differenciation into two separate jurisdictions can be represented in a much simpler way; the Academy eventually "recommended" the design that was eventually adopted.
[Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia 181:2, 410-411. 1974]

Ivan Sache, 10 September 2019