Last modified: 2016-05-24 by ivan sache
Keywords: valdemoro |
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The municipality of Valdemoro (72,265 inhabitants in 2014; 6,420 ha; municipal website) is located in the south of the Community of Madrid, on the border with Castilla-La Mancha (Province of Toledo), 30 km of Madrid. The municipality experienced a demographic boom in the second half of the 20th century, its population increasing from 4,411 in 1960 to 28,243 in 2000.
Valdemoro was established, according to Thomás López, geographer at the Court (18th century), "by the Moors, as Valle del Miro; at the time a borough of Bayona [Titulcia] located 5 leagues form the downtown, the place was the seat of the Court of the Arab kings, with a very high population". The geographer most probably exaggerated the significance of the place, which is not mentioned on any document, and was rather a hamlet located on a main road connecting northern and southern Castile. Archeological remains, however, support a Muslim foundation of the settlement.
Valdemoro is first documented in the privilege granted in 1190 by King Alfonso VIII, allocating the place to the Council of Segovia, following arbitration by Pope Clement III. Valdemoro was made the capital of a sexmo (administrative division) of the Community of the Town and Land of Segovia, encompassing Chinchón, Bayona, Valdelaguna, Villaconejos, Seseña, Ciempozuelos and San Martín de la Vega. Transferred at the end of the 14th century to the Archbishop of Toledo, Valdemoro was granted the status of villa by King Henry III and eventually granted in 1480 to the Marquis of Moya by the Catholic Monarchs.
In 1577, Philip III granted Valdemoro to Melchor de Herrera, Marquis of Auñón and Regidor of the Council of Madrid. His heirs sold the domain to one of the most influent men at the Court, Francisco Gómez de Sandoval y Rojas, Duke of Lerma and favourite of the king. The Duke organized wealthy feasts in the town when the Court was heading to Aranjuez. The town was granted several Royal privileges, including a tax-free fair (1603), whose duration soon increased from eight to 20 days due to its fame.
In the 18th century, José Aguado Correa, a noble at the Court, prevented his birth town to decline by establishing a manufacture of fine cloth, supporting the industrial renovation promoted by the Bourbon dynasty. In the last years of the century, Pedro López de Lerena, State Councillor and Minister of Charles III and Charles IV, also favoured his birth town, founding public schools and initiating education for girls. He funded the revamping of the parish church, which had been damaged by the Lisbon earthquake in 1751 and hired famous artists, such as Goya, to decorate it.
Valdemoro was one of the epicentres of the anti-corruption operation known as Púnica, a veiled allusion to its main target, Francisco Granados - the Latin name of the pomegranate, in Spanish, granado, is Punica granatum. Granados (b. 1964), Mayor of Valdemoro from 1999 to 2003, Secretary General of the PP for the Community of Madrid from 2004 to 2011, and Councillor at the Government of the Community of Madrid from 2003 to 2011, was accused in different cases of corruption and political spying. He was arrested on 27 October 2014, together with 50 other local politicians, and jailed on 31 October 2014. His appeal was rejected by the National Court of Appeals, which stated that "he was part of a criminal organization dedicated to money laundering, fiscal fraud, document forgery, corruption and traffic of influence, and therefore considered his jailing is legal, namely because of the risk of escape and destruction of evidence".
[El Pais, 30 October 2014]
Ivan Sache, 31 July 2015
The Municipal Council of Valdemoro launched in 2001 the process of "rehabilitation" of the municipal coat of arms and design of a municipal flag. The proposals were eventually adopted, unanimously, on 4 August 2008.
The proposed flag is blue - the main colour of the coat of arms - with the municipal arms in the middle.
The coat of arms proposed for "rehabilitation" is modelled on the oldest known arms of the town, which have been crowning the Town's Fountain since 1605. The proposed arms are described as follows (Official press release, 24 September 2008):
Coat of arms: Azure a castle or masoned sable port and windows gules dexter a Moorish king clad with a coat gules and ermine and a tunic vert crowned or holding a sceptre dexter the shoulder chained by chains argent to the crenels of the castle a bordure or charged with "Valdemoro" in letters sable. The shield surmounted by a Royal Spanish crown.
The "rehabilitated" coat of arms of Valdemoro was originally prescribed by Decree No. 1,955, adopted on 7 May 1969 by the Spanish Government and published on 4 June 1969 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 133, pp. 8,756-8,757 (text). The coat of arms is described as follows:
Coat of arms: Azure a castle or masoned sable port and windows gules sinister a Moorish king clad with a coat gules and argent crowned or holding a sceptre sinister the fist dexter chained by a chain argent to the donjon of the castle.
The coat of arms alludes to the legendary resistance of the inhabitants of the town during the Muslim invasion, also highlighted in the local dictum En balde, moro, te cansas (Moor, you tire yourself to no avail).
[Madridiario, 8 May 2013]
Ivan Sache, 31 July 2015