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Valdeolmos-Alalpardo (Municipality, Community of Madrid, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-05-24 by ivan sache
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Flag of Valdeolmos-Alalpardo - Image by Ivan Sache, 31 July 2015

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Presentation of Valdeolmos-Alalpardo

The municipality of Valdeolmos-Alalpardo (3,689 inhabitants in 2014; 2,681 ha; municipal website) is located on the border with Castilla-La Mancha (Province of Guadalajara), 40 km of Madrid. The municipality is made of the two villages of Valdeolmos and Alalpardo, and of the recently established urban nucleus of Miraval / La Paloma.

Valdeolmos and Alalpardo formed two distinct municipalities in the 18th century, each counting some 100 inhabitants. In the middle of the 19th century, Valdeolmos, then with more sources of income, took over Alalpardo. The balance of resources between the two villages dramatically changed in the 20th century, so that the Town Hall was transferred to Alalpardo in the 1950s. In the 1990s, Alalpardo counted more than 2,000 inhabitants while Valdeolmos hardly counted 200. The Municipal Council had six councillors from Alalpardo but only one from Valdeolmos. The two villages are located only 5 km from each other, but have been lacking mutual confidence for decades; accordingly, most services have to be duplicated: the municipality manages two churches, two schools, two cemeteries, two festivals, two bull rings, and two football teams.
In November 1994, the Municipal Council attempted to change the name of the municipality from Valdeolmos-Alalpardo to Alalpardo-Valdeolmos. The name change, declared illegal by the Government of the Community of Madrid and considered as "imperialist" by the villagers of Valdeolmos, initiated a local "war" between the two villages. Separation in two distinct municipalities is not possible, either, due to the small size of the villages.
[El Pais, 14 January 1994]

Valdeolmos was originally known as Valle de Olmos (Elms' Valley), referring to the geographical location of the settlement between brooks El Casar and Calderón, in a place once planted with elms.
Alalpardo is of less straightforward origin. Javier Dotu (Orígenes y significados de los nombres de los pueblos de la Comunidad de Madrid) believes that the name of the settlement, known in the 16th-17th century as Aldea del Pardo, is of Arab origin, meaning "a small settlement established on a dark-coloured soil". A more probable etymology is related to an Arab-Berber name meaning "on the roadside", referring to the road connecting Alcalá de Henares to Talamanca, or "in the shade", referring to the neighbouring woods, which were subsequently cleared.
The two villages depended of Talamanca, until granted the status of villa in 1563 (Valdeolmos) and 1651 (Alalpardo), respectively. Incorporated to the Royal domain, the two villages were soon sold to Melchor de Herrera, Marquis of Auñón and Treasurer of the king (Alalpardo, 1577) and to García Hurtado de Mendoza, Duke of the Infantado (1580, Valdeolmos).

Ivan Sache, 31 July 2015

Symbols of Valdeolmos-Alalpardo

The flag (photos, photos, photo) and arms of Valdeolmos-Alalpardo are prescribed by a Decree adopted on 22 February 2001 by the Government of the Community of Madrid and published on 7 March 2001 in the official gazette of the Community of Madrid, No. 56, p. 15 (text).
The Municipal Council submitted in May 1998 a proposal of symbols, which was rejected on 3 June 1998 by the Heraldry Assessors of the Community of Madrid The Municipal Council approved on 28 January 2000 a new proposal.
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: In proportions two thirds. Yellow panel charged in the center with the municipal coat of arms.
Coat of arms: Per pale, 1. Azure a bell tower or, 2. Argent an elm proper in base three waves azure surrounded by two buckets sable, Grafted in base gules a five-pointed star argent. The shield surmounted with a Royal crown closed.

The yellow field is a reference to the mature grain crops, the main source of income in the municipality for centuries.
The three quarters of the coat of arms each represent a component of the municipality:
- The tower represents the bell tower of the St. Christopher church of Alalpardo, erected in the 14th century in Gothic Mudéjar style, the most significant monument in the municipality;
- The second quarter represents the canting arms of the Marquis of Valdeolmos, granted on 10 October 1689 by Charles II to his Secretary, José Aguerrí y Churruca;
- The star represents Miraval, whose streets are named for stars.
[Municipal website]

Ivan Sache, 31 July 2015