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Cobeña (Municipality, Community of Madrid, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-05-16 by ivan sache
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Presentation of Cobeña

The municipality of Cobeña ((6,921 inhabitants in 2014; 2,008 ha; municipal website) is located in the east of the Community of Madrid, 25 km of Madrid.

Cobeña is believed to have been established in the 9th century by the Moors, as claimed in a charter granted in 1369 by King Henry II to Pedro González de Mendoza. The domain of Cobeña was established on 20 December 1480 for Lorenzo Suarez de Mendoza and his wife Isabel de Borbón, 1st Counts of Coruña.
Cobeña was a main economical center in the alfoz (group of villages) of Alcalá de Henares. The active part of the village was the aljama (Jewish borough), housing 70 families involved in trade and production of silver and candles for the Court; at the time, a dictum said Mas vale Cobeña que Alcalá y sus tierras (Cobeña is worthier than Alcalá and its land). The Jewish community maintained strong links with that of Torrelaguna; the marriages between men of Torrelaguna and women of Cobeña have remained famous. The expelling of the Jews and the immoderate taste of the inhabitants for rich clothes and jewels caused the ruin of the town.

Ivan Sache, 5 July 2015

Symbols of Cobeña

The flag (photos, photo) and arms of Cobeña are prescribed by a Decree adopted on 13 February 1992 by the Government of the Community of Madrid and published on 5 May 1992 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 108, pp. 15,236-15,237 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular in proportions 2:3, divided per saltire. The upper and lower parts, green, the lateral parts, yellow. Charged with the crowned municipal coat of arms.
Coat of arms: Per pale, 1. Quarterly per saltire, 1. and 4. Vert a bend gules fimbriated or, 2. and 3. Or the legend "Ave María", 2. Azure semÄ of fleurs-de-lis or a bend gules. The shield surmounted by a Royal Spanish crown.

The memoir supporting the proposed symbols, released on 20 March 1990, was written by Alfonso de Ceballos-Escalera y Gila (b. 1957), Chronicler of Arms of Castilla y León and of the Spanish Armed Forces.
Commissioned on 11 March 1990 by the municipality to research the historical symbols of the town, the heraldist found two seals used since 1860, kept in the Sigillography Section of the National Historical Archives in Madrid, both featuring the Spanish arms used at the time of Queen Isabel II (Quarterly Castile and León, grafted in base Granada, the shield surmounted by a Royal crown). Further search in the archives of the Royal Academy of History, in books kept in the National Library, and in the archives of the Academy of History and Arts "San Quirco" in Segovia did not yield anything significant. Accordingly, it was concluded that Cobeña never used proper arms, so that modern arms should be designed from scratch.
The proposed arms allude to the history of the municipality, featuring dexter the arms of the Mendoza and sinister the arms of Isabel de Borbón. It was decided not to represent the toponymy of the village; the name of Cobeña probably refers to caves (cuevas), which cannot easily be represented in a simple and easy to identify manner.
The proposed flag was derived from the coat of arms, reflecting its emblems and colours in compliance with the norms of vexillology, which are much less stringent than the norms of heraldry, privileging aesthetics.

The Royal Academy of History validated the proposed arms, with a notice on the lack of any characteristic element of the town. The symbols originally proposed were modified according to suggestions made by the Subdirectorate General of Fine Arts of the Community of Madrid.
[Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia, 1992, 189, 1: 163-164]

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