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La Fregeneda (Municipality, Castilla y León, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-04-16 by ivan sache
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Flag of La Fregeneda - Image by Ivan Sache, 19 October 2010

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Presentation of La Fregeneda

The municipality of La Fregeneda (445 inhabitants in 2009; 4,516 ha; unofficial website) is located in the west of the Province of Salamanca, on the border with Portugal, 110 km from Salamanca.

La Fregeneda is named from Latin fraxinus, "an ash tree", via fraxineda. Remains of Roman (fountain) and Visigoth (necropolis) settlements have been found around the village. The oldest historical source on the village, dated from the 15th century, says that the area was resettled by King of León Fernando II and granted to the Knights of the Temple, as part of a territory named Abadengo (from abad, "an abbot"). After the suppression of the Order by Pope Clement V in 1311, the twelve municipalities forming Abadengo were shared between the Bishopric of Ciudad Rodrigo and the Order of Malta. To stabilize the border, watch towers called atalayas were built on heights; such towers must have existed in La Fregeneda, since different places in the municipality are still called Atalaya.

On 28 April 1557, Antonio de Arriola was conceded in Valladolid the right to exploit mines of gold, silver, lead and other metals he had discovered in the villages of Hinojosa and La Fregeneda. An old mine is still exploited in La Fregeneda by the "Molcasa" company, that extracts every year 12,000 tons of lepidolite and feldspar.
On 3 September 1574, King Philip II granted municipal rights to La Fregeneda; the former ruler of the village, the Bishop of Ciudad Rodrigo, kept only plots of arable lands and farms.
Located on the border - much closer to Portugal than today - and protected by a castle (16th-17th centuries, later demolished, the stones being used to build the parish church of Hinojosa), La Fregeneda was involved in the Spanish-Portuguese wars of the 17th century; in 1664, the village was looted by 3,000 Portugueses commanded by Jacob de Magalhaes, as a retaliation for the attack of Castelo Rodrigo by the Duke of Osuna (this failed attack is considered as the event that caused the final Spanish defeat, ending a 18-year long war).

In the middle of the 19th century, La Fregeneda became an important node of communication between Portugal and Salamanca. The Vega Terrón pier, built on river Duero / Douro in 1856-1860, was linked to Salamanca by a road achieved in 1860; the railway was inaugurated on 8 December 1887. The closing of the pier in the 1920s and of the railway station in 1985 caused local economic crises and the emigration of several villagers to the neighboring towns (the village had 1,638 inhabitants in 1910).
A new pier was built in the last decade of the 20th century while the Vega Terrón road bridge, already planned in 1925, was inaugurated in 2000. On 11 April 2002, La Fregeneda was incorporated into the newly created Natural Park of the Arribes del Duero.

Ivan Sache, 19 October 2010

Symbols of La Fregeneda

The flag of La Fregeneda is prescribed by a Decree adopted on 30 March 2009 by the Municipal Council, signed on 4 June 2009 by the Mayor, and published on 12 June 2009 in the official gazette of Castilla y León, No. 110, p. 17,945 (text).
Approved by the Chronicler of Arms of Castilla y León, the flag is described as follows:

Flag: Quartered per saltire gules and argent [red and white] charged with the municipal coat of arms. The shield surmonted by the Royal crown of the Spanish Monarchy.

The coat of arms of La Fregeneda is prescribed by a Decree adopted on 11 April 1997 by the Salamanca Provincial Government, signed on the same day by the President of the Government and published on 2 May 1997 in the official gazette of Castilla y León, No. 82 (text).
The coat of arms is described as follows:

Coat of arms: Per pale, 1. Azure three almond trees argent eradicated and flory, 2. Vert a castle or port and windows gules over waves argent. The shield surmounted with a Royal Spanish crown.

The Royal Academy of History recalled that the coat of arms, designed form scratch, represents a crop common in the village, the castle that once existed there, and the confluence of rivers Duero and Águeda. There is no objection to the approval of this design, although a traditional representation of water as waves argent and azure would have been preferred.
[Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia, 1999, 196, 1: 157]

Ivan Sache, 21 February 2015