Last modified: 2016-05-22 by ivan sache
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Flag of Pinto - Image by Ivan Sache, 20 July 2015
The municipality of Pinto (47,594 inhabitants in 2014; 627 ha; municipal website) is located 20 km south of Madrid.
Pinto is named for the Latin word punctum, "a crossing point", "a crossroads". This was indeed an important crossing point of Roman roads. Pinto has been claiming for ages to be the geographical center of Iberia; the "legend of the arch" says that the Moors placed the tools they had used to determine the center of Iberia into an arch, which was buried on the central point.
Pinto was reconquerred from the Moors in 1083 by King Alfonso VI, on his way to Toledo, reconquerred the next year. The village was subsequently fiercely disputed between the Bishop of Palencia and the Towns of Segovia and Madrid, which prompted the intervention of the kings to settle the quarrel. Pinto was eventually allocated to Madrid; in 1332, Alfonso XI transferred the town to Martín Fernández, Alcalde Mayor of Toledo; following the protest by the Council of Madrid, he cancelled his own decision on 2 March 1332.
Peter I the Cruel granted in 1359 the town to Íñigo López de Orozco, who betrayed him during the conflict that opposed him to the pretender, Henry of Trastámara; as a retaliation, Peter I confiscated all the felon's domains, Pinto included, and eventually killed him after the battle of Nájera. Juana de Orozco, heiress of the first lord of Pinto, was retroceded Pinto on 10 September 1380 by John I, Henry II's son. John I received in 1382 in the manor of Pinto Juan Fernández de Andeiro, ambassador of Portugal, to arrange his own marriage with Infante Beatrix, which was celebrated on 14 May 1383 in Badajoz.
In 1405, Henry III despoliated Juana de Orozco from Pinto, which was transferred to the Council of Madrid. The transfer was cancelled the next year by the new king, John II. Among the next lords of Pinto was Juana Enríquez, the mother of King Ferdinand the Catholic.
The County of Pinto was established on 2 July 1624 by Philip IV for Luis Carrillo de Toledo.
The dictum Entre Pinto y Valdemoro (Between Pinto and Valdemoro), meaning "to be indecisive" or "to be drunk", is of obscure origin; all the chroniclers who studied the dictum believe that it refers to the territorial limits between the two towns, successively fixed by Kings Alfonso VII (7 February 1184), Alfonso VIII (28 July 1208) and Ferdinand III the Saint (1239). The chroniclers Florentino Castañeda (Entre Pinto y Valdemoro), Juan José Sánchez (Una breve historia de Pinto) and Gonzalo Arteaga (Pinto: éste es mi pueblo) further agree that the dictum must date from Ferdinand III's reign. Artega tells that on the day the king attended the set up of the 42 posts, everyone asked at the court "Where is His Majesty?", to be answered "[Somewhere] between Pinto and Valdemoro". The most popular explanation of the dictum, however, claims that a donkey was spotted jumping from a bank of a brook separating the two towns to the other; unfortunately, scholar studies have shown that there was never any brook limiting Pinto and Valdemoro.
The Éboli tower, one of the oldest buildings in Pinto and in the Community of Madrid, is named for an episode that happened during the reign of Philip II. On 28 July 1579, the king ordered the arrest of his secretary, Antonio Pérez, accused to have secrete dealings with the enemy, then the Flemish rebels and Queen Isabel of England, and to play a double game to cause trouble between the king and his half-brother, Juan of Austria. Ana de Mendoza, Princess of Éboli, was arrested the same night, accused of collusion with Pérez and to intrigue at the court. She would be jailed for the next month in the tower.
Ivan Sache, 20 July 2015
The flag of Pinto (photos, photo, photo, photo) is white with the municipal coat of arms. The flag does not appear to have been officially approved.
The coat of arms of Pinto is prescribed by a Decree adopted on 13 September 2007 by the Government of the Community of Madrid and published on 5 May 2008 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 109, p. 22,618 (text). The "rehabilitated" coat of arms, approved on 25 March 2004, was validated on 9 November 2004 by the Royal Academy "Matritense" of Heraldry and Genealogy, and on 5 May 2006 by the Royal Academy of History.
The coat of arms is described as follows:
Coat of arms: Checky of 15 pieces eight or and seven gules charged with a globe azure the continents or and a dot gules in the center of Iberia. The shield surmounted by a Royal Spanish crown.
The oldest known coat of arms of Pinto is described in Antonio Moya's Rasgo heroyco: declaración de las empresas, armas y blasones con que se ilustran y conocen los principales Reynos, Provincias, Ciudades y Villas de España (1756), as "made of a field checky or and gules and a globe with a dot in the middle". The arms might be much older: the Éboli tower (14th century) features a checky shield. According to a document dated 1948, the arms "represent the world, and, in the middle, a dot allegorically meaning that it is the center of Spain and the namesake of the closest settlement."
Pinto maintained a long quarrel with the neighbouring town of Getafe, each party claiming to be the "genuine" center of Iberia. In the middle of the 20th century, the municipalities exchanged infuriated letters, Pinto prompting Getafe to stop using the arms of Pinto, "for the sake of justice and good neighbourhood", and to adopt a proper, distinctive coat of arms.
In 1973, the King Chronicler of Arms, Vicente de Cadenas y Vicent, recommended to substitute the open crown by a Royal Spanish crown, to no avail.
The local heraldist Luis Manuel Sánchez Jordán was commissioned in 2004 to research the old arms of the town. He concluded that the coat of arms in use was not compliant with the norms of heraldry and had never been officially approved. The proposed changes to the design, aimed at fitting it to the norms of Spanish heraldry, were validated by local historians. The changes are (press release):
- the shape of the shield, in Spanish style;
- checky or and gules instead of gules and or;
- a Royal crown instead of an Infante's coronet;
- the suppression of the branches that surround the original shield.
Ivan Sache, 20 July 2015