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Community of Madrid (Spain): Municipalities

Last modified: 2016-12-21 by ivan sache
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Administrative structure of the Community of Madrid

The Community of Madrid is made of 179 municipalities. The most populated municipality is, of course, Madrid, with more than 3 million inhabitants, that is, nearly 50% of the population of the Community.
Móstoles and Alcalá de Henares count slightly more than 200,000 inhabitants. Fuenlabrada, Leganés, Getafe, Alcorcón, Torrejón de Ardoz, Parla, and Alcobendas count more than 100,000 inhabitants.
Madarcos (47 inhabitants in 2014) is the least populated municipality, while another eight municipalities (Robregordo, La Hiruela, La Acebeda, Somosierra, Horcajuelo de la Sierra, Puebla de la Sierra, La Serna del Monte and El Atazar) count less than 100 inhabitants.

Madrid is also the municipality with the biggest territory (more than 60,000 ha), followed by Aranjuez (c. 20,000 ha). Casarrubuelos is the municipality with the smallest territory (less than 600 ha); another six municipalities (La Serna del Monte, Pelayos de la Presa, Madarcos, Torrejón de la Calzada, Venturada, and Titulcia) having less than 1,000 ha.
Somosierra is the municipality located at the highest elevation (1,433 m), as opposed to Aldea del Fresno (467 m).

All the municipalities are named for their capital, except Rivas-Vaciamadrid (Vaciamadrid), Valdeolmos-Alalpardo (Alalpardo), Lozoyuela-Navas-Sieteiglesias (Lozoyuela), Puentes Viejas (Manjirón), Gargantilla del Lozoya y Pinilla de Buitrago (Gargantilla del Lozoya), Horcajo de la Sierra-Aoslos (Horcajo de la Sierra), Piñuécar-Gandullas (Piñuécar), and Navarredonda y San Mamés (Navarredonda).

Ivan Sache, 25 June 2015


Legislation on the municipal symbols

The process of adoption, modification and rehabilitation of the flags and arms of the municipalities in the Community of Madrid is prescribed by Decree No. 30, adopted on 9 April 1987 by the Government of the Community of Madrid and published on 29 April 1987 in the official gazette of the Community of Madrid, No. 100, pp. 2-3 (text), as follows.

Article 1.
1. The municipalities of the Community of Madrid can adopt a municipal flag, banner and coat of arms, can modify those already established, and can rehabilitate those of historical significance, according to the process prescribed in the present Decree.
2. The Municipal Council is in charge of the adoption of the agreement on the establishment, modification or rehabilitation of the municipal flag and coat of arms, as prescribed in Article 22.1.b of Law No. 7 of 2 April 1985 regulating the bases of local regime.
3. The competent governing body of the Autonomous Community is in charge of the approval of the reports of adoption of municipal coats of arms and flags, as prescribed in Articles 186 and 187 of Royal Decree No. 2,568 of 28 November 1986 approving the rules of organization, functioning and legal regime of the local entities.

Article 2.
The reports of adoption, modification or rehabilitation of a flag or coat of arms shall include the following elements:
a. A memoir explaining the rationale for the proposal of approval, modification or rehabilitation of the municipal flag or coat of arms, a drawing of the proposed symbol included, and any other document worth of interest, such as letters by associations of villagers or citizens released according to Articles 227 et passim of the rules of organization, functioning and legal regime of the local entities of 28 November 1986.
b. A certification by the Secretary of the corporation of the agreement approved by the Municipal Council for the adoption, modification or rehabilitation of the flag or coat of arms. The agreement needs simple majority of the attending members of the corporation.
c. The forwarding of the required documentation to the Directorate Genral of the Local Administration of the Council of Government of the Community of Madrid.

Article 3.
The recommended heraldic criteria, except in duly justified cases, are the following.
1. Flags
Proportions: The panel shall have proportions 2:3 (one and a half longer than wide).
Colour: When the municipal flag has no traditional or historical colour, the colour shall match the background of the main part of the coat of arms, or the colour of the flag of the Community of Madrid [red].
Coat of arms: When the flag is charged with the municipal coat of arms, this shall be placed in the center of the flag's panel. When figures are incorporated, they shall be arranged symmetrically around a vertical axis crossing the center of the flag.
2. Coats of arms
Charge: When there is no heraldic record in the municipality, the central charge shall be an element very characteristic of the place or its neighbourhood, such as a building, a geographic feature, a tree or something similar. This charge shall not be represented in a picturesque manner but as figures arranged in quarters, in compliance with the rules of heraldry.
Shape: The shield shall be rounded-off in base, like the Constitutional coat of arms of Spain and the coat of arms of the Community of Madrid, in compliance with the Spanish heraldic tradition.
Crown: The crown closed from the Constitutional coat of arms of Spain shall be used, except in cases supported by a well-documented tradition.
Laurel wreath shall be used only if well documented.
3. The pattern of municipal flags and coat of arms, as well as the proportions of the flags and the shape and crown of the coats of arms shall match the drawing attached in the Appendix of the present Decree.

Article 4.
The Directorate General of the Local Administration of the Council of Government, after reception of the municipal report, shall require within ten days a recommendation from the following bodies:
a. The Royal Academy of History
b. The Heraldry Assessors of the Community of Madrid.
The recommendations shall be required as established in Article 86 of the Law of Administrative Procedure of 17 July 1958.

Article 5.
Provided the recommendations are positive, the Directorate General of the Local Administration shall forward within ten days a proposal of Resolution to the Ministry of Government, which shall order the forwarding of the report to the Council of Government of the Community of Madrid.

Article 6.
When the recommendations mentioned in Article 4 do not match the proposal made by the municipality, the municipality shall adopt, within one month, a new agreement with the quorum mentioned in Article 2.b. The new agreement shall be proceeded as described in the previous Article.

Article 7.
The Resolution by the Council of Government of the Community of Madrid shall match the final proposal of the Ministry of Government.

Article 8.
The Resolution shall be notified to the municipality and published in the official gazette of the Community of Madrid and in the Spanish official gazette.

The Heraldry Assessors of the Community of Madrid are nowadays the Royal Academy "Matritense" of Heraldry and Genealogy (website), established on 1 October 1998. The Statutes of the Academy were approved on 5 February 1999 by the Government of the Community of Madrid, while academic work started on 17 April 1989.
The King of Spain is Director Perpetuo Honorario of the Academy, which has been associated to the Spanish Institute since 1996 and is the official representative of Spain at the Confédération Internationale de Généalogie et d'Héraldique.

The procedure of adoption of the symbols was extended to Local Entities by Article 7 of Law No. 2 - Law of Local Administration of the Community of Madrid -, adopted on 11 March 2003 by the Assembly of the Community of Madrid and published on 18 March 2003 in the official gazette of the Community of Madrid, No. 65, pp. 8-27 (text), as follows.

1. The symbols of the Municipalities and of the Local Entities are their coat of arms, flag, motto, emblem, anthem, as well as any other distinctive element based on historical, geographical, traditional or similar criteria.
2. The Municipalities can modify their symbols or adopt new ones after agreement by the absolute majority of the members of the corporation and authorisation of the Government of the Community of Madrid, in compliance with the legal prescriptions, and, in all cases, in compliance with the rules of heraldry, vexillology or other, depending on the nature of the symbol. The maximum duration of the procedure shall not exceed one year, the effects of administrative silence being ignored.
3. No Local Entity shall use symbols not previously approved.
4. The Government of the Community of Madrid shall settle disputes between Local Entities regarding those matters.

The organization of the Ministry of Presidency and Justice was modified by Decree No. 94, adopted on 29 December 2010 by the Government of the Community of Madrid and published on 3 January 2011 in the official gazette of the Community of Madrid, No. 1, pp. 11-26 (text). This transferred legal competence on the municipal symbols to a newly formed body, without changing anything else to the adoption procedure.<.P>

Article 8.
The competences of the Directorate General of External Relations, beyond those prescribed in Article 47 of Law No. 1 of 13 December 1983, shall be the following:
[...]
c) The release of recommendations [...) on the approval, modification or rehabilitation of municipal flags and coats of arms.

Ivan Sache, 25 June 2015


Chronology of flag approval

Out of the 179 municipalities of the Community of Madrid, 126 (70%) have officially adopted a flag. The first one was Leganés, the last one, San Agustín de Guadalix.

1985 (2): Leganés, Meco
1986 (5): Algete, Batres, Becerril de la Sierra, Berzosa del Lozoya, San Martín de la Vega
1987 (5): Alcalá de Henares, La Hiruela, Olmeda de las Fuentes, San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Zarzalejo
1988 (1): Torremocha de Jarama
1989 (8): Corpa, Gargantilla del Lozoya y Pinilla de Buitrago, Getafe, Orusco de Tajuña, Santa María de la Alameda, Valdaracete, Valdelaguna, Valverde de Alcalá
1990 (7): Fuentidueña de Tajo, Humanes de Madrid, Pedrezuela, Serranillos del Valle, Torrelaguna, Valdilecha, Villar del Olmo
1991 (10): La Cabrera, Casarrubuelos, Cubas de la Sagra, Perales de Tajuña, Pozuelo de Alarcón, Pozuelo del Rey, Robledo de Chavela, Los Santos de la Humosa, Velilla de San Antonio, Villanueva de la Cañada
1992 (8): Alcorcón, El Berrueco, Cobeña, Daganzo de Arriba, Fresnedillas de la Oliva, Patones, Torrelodones, El Vellón
1993 (9): Alameda del Valle, El Álamo, Bustarviejo, Carabaña, Manzanares el Real, Paracuellos de Jarama, La Serna del Monte, Tres Cantos, Villaconejos
1994 (10): La Acebeda, Ambite, El Boalo, Braojos, Cadalso de los Vidrios, Ciempozuelos, Estremera, Horcajuelo de la Sierra, Robregordo, Santorcaz
1995 (10): Brea de Tajo, Horcajo de la Sierra-Aoslos, Madarcos, Navalafuente, Pelayos de la Presa, Robledillo de la Jara, Torres de la Alameda, Venturada, Villalbilla, Villarejo de Salvanés
1996 (4): Arganda del Rey, Nuevo Baztán, Valdemanco, Villavieja del Lozoya
1997 (6): Lozoyuela-Navas-Sieteiglesias, Quijorna, Rozas de Puerto Real, San Fernando de Henares, Villamantilla, Villanueva del Pardillo
1998 (3): El Atazar, Belmonte de Tajo, Prádena del Rincón
1999 (10): Ajalvir, Alpedrete, Aranjuez, Arroyomolinos, Hoyo de Manzanares, Navalagamella, Navalcarnero, Ribatejada, Valdemorillo, Villaviciosa de Odón
2001 (6): Buitrago del Lozoya, Gascones, Moraleja de Enmedio, Pinilla del Valle, Rascafría, Valdeolmos-Alalpardo
2002 (3): Chinchón, Fuente el Saz de Jarama, Tielmes
2003 (4): Canencia, Piñuécar-Gandullas, Puebla de la Sierra, Villanueva de Perales
2004 (3): Cervera de Buitrago, Lozoya, Móstoles
2007 (2): Boadilla del Monte, Campo Real
2008 (1): Torrejón de la Calzada
2009 (3): Fuenlabrada, San Martín de Valdeglesias, Torrejón de Ardoz
2010 (1): Guadalix de la Sierra
2012 (3): Redueña, Valdemaqueda, Valdetorres de Jarama
2013 (1): Puentes Viejas
2015 (1): San Agustín del Guadalix

Another 37 municipalities (21%), Madrid included, use a flag that does not seem to have been officially approved: Alcobendas, Aldea del Fresno, Brunete, Cabanillas de la Sierra, Cercedilla, Chapinería, Collado Mediano, Collado Villalba, Colmenar Viejo, Colmenarejo, Coslada, El Escorial, Galapagar, Griñón, Guadarrama, Loeches, Madrid, Majadahonda, Miraflores de la Sierra, El Molar, Los Molinos, Moralzarzal, Morata de Tajuña, Navacerrada, Navas del Rey, Pinto, Rivas-Vaciamadrid, Las Rozas de Madrid, San Sebastián de los Reyes, Sevilla la Nueva, Titulcia, Torrejón de Velasco, Valdeavero, Valdemoro, Villa del Prado, Villamanrique de Tajo, and Villamanta.

The 16 remaining municipalities (9%) do not seem to use any flag at all: Anchuelo, Camarma de Esteruelas, Cenicientes, Colmenar de Oreja, Colmenar del Arroyo, Fresno de Torote, Garganta de los Montes, Mejorada del Campo, Montejo de la Sierra, Navarredondo y San Mamés, Parla, Pezuela de los Torres, Somosierra, Soto del Real, Talamanca del Jarama, and Valdepiélagos.

Ivan Sache, 25 June 2015


Municipal coats of arms

Three elements from historical coats of arms are widely used in the modern arms of the municipalities of the Community of Madrid.

Several municipalities feature on their arms a quarter "Gules a two- storeyed aqueduct masoned sable on ten rocks argent"; this was the coat of arms of the Community of the Town and Land of Segovia, to which those municipalities belonged in the Middle Ages: Alameda del Valle, Bustarviejo, Chapinería, Fresnedillas de la Oliva, Navalafuente, Navalagamella, Santa María de la Alameda, Valdelaguna, Valdemanco, Villamanta, Villamantilla, and Zarzalejo.
Guadalix de la Sierra, Moraleja de Enmedio and Navalcarnero feature on their arms an unusual depiction of the aqueduct, or on a field azure.

Another group of municipalities use on their arms a quarter featuring the arms of the Dukes of the Infantado, quarterly Mendoza and Vega, either with or without writing; these municipalities were once ruled by the Dukes, most of them being part of the Real de Manzanares or of the Community of the Town and Land of Buitrago: El Boalo, Buitrago del Lozoya, La Cabrera, Cobeña, Collado Mediano, Colmenar Viejo, Collado Villalba, Daganzo de Arriba, Gascones, Griñón, Horcajo de la Sierra-Aoslos, Horcajuelo de la Sierra, Hoyo de Manzanares, Manzanares el Real, Miraflores de la Sierra, Orusco de Tajuña, Pelayos de la Presa, Robledillo de la Jara, Robregordo, La Serna del Monte, Villanueva del Pardillo, and Villavieja del Lozoya.

Another six municipalities (Batres, Cubas de la Sagra, Leganés, Loeches, Perales de Tajuña, and Torrejón de Ardoz) feature on their arms the cauldrons with snake's heads form the arms of the Guzmán lineage, once lords of those places.

The Ministry of Culture of the Community of Madrid revealed in 1998 that 19 municipalities were conned in the 19th century by a pedlar, who sold them fanciful rubber seals he had manufactured in his Madrid workshop. At the time, the Ministry of Government ordered all the municipalities to forward their arms to the National Historical Archives of Madrid. Several municipalities lacking such a symbol hastily purchased a rubber seal form the forger. Some of these arms were "totally whimsical and lacked any logic". Vicente de áádenas y Vicent, official Chronicler of Arms of the Kingdom, concluded that "the mysterious designer produced more coats of arms than the Royal Academy of History could have assessed for decades", labelling these designs as "monstrous signs".
Forged seals were acquired by the municipalities ofEl Álamo, Alcalá de Henaress, Buitrago, Colmenar de Oreja, Chinchón, Daganzo, Fuentidueña, Guadarrama, Mejorada del Campo, Navalcarnero, Perales de Tajuña, San Fernando de Henares, Somosierra, Torrejón de Velasco, Torrelaguna, Torres, Valdemoro, and Vallecas (incorporated to the municipality of Madrid on 22 December 1950).
The canting "arms" of Daganzo featured a red St. George riding a dragon and crossing a stormy sea. Those, more modest, of Mejorada del Campo, featured a hut, a small tree and a noria; the Mayor of Villarubio (Castilla-La Mancha) purchased a similar seal, so that the two municipalities use arms featuring a hut and a tree. The forged seals were widely used by the municipalities, which considered until recently that they have historical relevance.
The authorities progressively convinced the municipal councils to drop the forged arms for new ones, which was sometimes done with great reluctancy. Daganzo insisted for long to keep a dragon on its arms, even after it had been made clear that the town had not the least connection with St. George. The Mayor of Navalcarnero purchased a seal featuring the shields of Castile and Segovia; the modern coat of arms of the town indeed features the Roman aqueduct of Segovia.
[El Pais, 4 October 1998]

Ivan Sache, 25 June 2015


Sources

The Community of Madrid maintains a database of the municipal coat of arms. For each municipality, a drawing of the arms, the dates of adoption and publication in the official gazette of the Community of Madrid and in the Spanish official gazette, as well as the blazon, are given.

The Royal Academy "Matritense" of Heraldry and Genealogy maintains a database of the flags and arms of the municipalities of the Community of Madrid. The database includes only the designs officially approved, with a significant number of errors and omissions in images, texts and dates. The database does not seem to have been updated since 2006.

The website todosobremadrid.com ("The most complete tourism guide on Madrid") includes series of photos of the Town Halls of the municipalities in the Community of Madrid, offering in most cases a good opportunity to see the flag in official use.

Ivan Sache, 25 June 2015