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Olombrada (Municipality, Castilla y León, Spain)

Last modified: 2015-01-05 by ivan sache
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Flag of Olombrada - Image by Ivan Sache, 16 February 2014

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Presentation of Olombrada

The municipality of Olombrada (723 inhabitants in 2009; 6,651 ha; municipal website) is located in the north of Segovia Province, on the border with Valladolid Province, 70 km from Segovia. The municipality is made of the villages of Olombrada, Vegafría (incorporated in 1970) and Moraleja de Cuéllar (inc. in 1976).

Olombrada, according to Justo Hernán-Sanz, was the Roman village of Forum Bracchia, lit. "The Arms' Market", where the inhabitants of Colenda (modern Cuéllar?) were sold as slaves after the seizure of the town by the Roman Consul Titus Didius. Other scholars believe that Olombrada is of Visigoth etymology, via forambre, "a cave". Yet other possible origins are linked to the Muslim conquest of the area, via alambrada or even Dame Lambra (Doña Lambra), a main protagonist of the Seven Infants of Lara chanson de geste.
Olombrada was mentioned for the first time on a charter signed by King Alfonso VIII on 23 March 1184, as Forumtado, a village depending on Perosillo. The next mention of the village, as Foranbrada, dates back to 1247. Later on, the village was part of the Community of the Town and Land of Cuéllar, founded in the 12th century and ruled by the Dukes of Albuquerque since 1464.

Ivan Sache, 16 February 2014

Symbols of Olombrada

The flag and arms of Olombrada are prescribed by a Decree adopted on 27 December 2002 by the Municipal Council, signed on 7 January 2003 by the Mayor, and published on 20 January 2003 in the official gazette of Castilla y León, No. 12, p. 1,130 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular flag with proportions 2:3, made of two horizontal stripes with proportions 2:3 and 1:3, the upper stripe white with three green eradicated elms [olmos] per fess and the lower stripe red.
Coat of arms: Tierced per bend, 1. Argent a cave sable, 2. Gules an ewe argent a branch of madder of the same per bend, 3. Argent an elm eradicated vert. The shield surmounted with a Royal crown closed.

The symbols were designed from scratch, since no historical evidence of seal or arms use in Olombrada was found, by Vicente Tocino Letrado (memoir, dated 23 December 2002).
The National History Archives, Section Sigillography, include a document dated 7 September 1878 presenting the arms used by the municipality. Answering a query made on 9 August 1878 by the Ministry of the Interior, the Mayor states that two oval seals have been used for "approximately 30 years"; the Mayor's seal is charged with "OLOMBRADA" in the middle and "ALCALDIA" in the bordure, while the municipal seal is charged with "DE OLOMBRADA" in the middle and "AYUNTAMIENTO" on the bordure. The seals of Vegafría and Moraleja de Cuéllar, then independent municipalities, applied on documents dated 19 September 1878 and 7 September 1878, respectively, are charged with "AYUNTAMIENTO" and "ALCALDIA". The seal of the judge of Vegafría bears the Spanish shield of the time. Therefore, neither Olombrada nor any of the villages forming the today's municipality appear to have used proper arms.

The arms of Olombrada are divided into three quarters recalling the three villages forming the municipality. The main colours of the arms, gules (red) and argent, are those of Castile and León.
The cave, recalling the etymology of Olombrada, makes the arms canting.
The sheep recalls that sheep-breeding was a main source of income for the area, once known as "La Churrería" for the churra sheep stock.
The madder plant recalls that this tinctorial plant (Rubia peregrina) was commonly grown in the area.
The elm recalls that this tree, today scarcely found on the municipal territory, were once commonly grown there.

The meaning of the colours of the flag and of the elms are the same as on the coat of arms. The three elms must stand for the three villages forming the municipality.

Ivan Sache, 16 February 2014