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Albacete (Municipality, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain)

Last modified: 2019-08-30 by ivan sache
Keywords: albacete | aguas nuevas |
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Flag of Albacete - Image by Ivan Sache, 3 May 2019


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Presentation of Albacete

The municipality of Albacete (173,050 inhabitants in 2018, therefore the most populous municipality in Castilla-La Mancha; 112,591 ha, therefore the biggest municipality in Castilla-La Mancha and the 7th biggest in Spain by its area; municipal website) is the economic and judiciary capital of the Autonomous Community of Castilla-La Mancha. Albacete is known as La Mancha's New York, a nickname coined by the poet Azorín (1873-1967).

Albacete originates in a small fortified farm established, as Al-Basit (The Plain), by Berbers allegedly repelled to the poorest parts of the country by the Arabs. After the Christian reconquest, King Ferdinand III the Saint (1217-1252) transferred the estate to the Council of Alarcón. During the troubled period that ended the reign of Alfonso X the Wise (1252-1284), the domain was granted to Infante Manuel of Castile (1234-1283), first lord of Villena, whose descendants would keep it until the suppression of the feudal system.
The development of the town was initiated during the first quarter of the 14th century; the establishment of a fair attracted merchants, traders and cattle breeders from the neighboring areas. In 1375, Juan Pacheco, the first Marquess of Villena (1445-1474), granted the status of villa to Albacete, separating it from Chinchilla. In the 16th century, the population of the town increased to 5,000 and several religious foundations were established. The building of the St. John the Baptist church, today a cathedral, was started.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, Albacete supported Philip V (1700-1746); the town was rewarded with the authorization of a yearly fair that made of Albacete the economic center of the region.
In 1833, Javier de Burgos (1788-1848) created the Province of Albacete, made of territories carved from the old Provinces of Cuenca, Murcia, and La Mancha. During the Carlist Wars, Albacete supported Queen Isabel II (1833-1868), being rewarded in 1862 with the title of ciudad.
Albacete housed during the Civil War the headquarters of the International Brigades while its airfield was the seat of the Republican Air Force.
[Luis G. García-Saúco Beléndez. 1987. El escudo heráldico de la ciudad de Albacete. Boletín Informativo "Cultural Albacete", 17]

Ivan Sache, 3 May 2019


Symbols of Albacete

The flag of Albacete is prescribed by an Order issued on 9 March 1992 by the Government of Castilla-La Mancha and published on 27 March 1992 in the official gazette of Castilla-La Mancha, N. 24, pp. 1,234-1,235 (text).
The flag is described as follows:

Flag: A crimson red panel, in dimensions 90 x 155 cm [18:31], charged in the center with the coat of arms of Albacete, in compliance with the modification provided by Decree No. 137 issued on 30 December 1986. The dimensions of the coat of arms are 40 cm in height, crown excluded, 56 cm in height, crown included, and 30 cm in length.

The flag (photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo) appears to be used in usual, 2:3 proportions, with the field of the coat of arms in white, not in gray / argent as on the self-standing coat of arms.

The coat of arms of Albacete, adopted on 28 February 1986 by the Municipal Council, is prescribed by Decree No. 137, issued on 30 December 1987 by the Government of Castilla-La Mancha and published on 13 January 1987 in the official gazette of Castilla-La Mancha, No. 2, p. 33 (text).
The modified coat of arms is described as follows:

Coat of arms: Argent three stone towers masoned sable port and windows azure and surmounted in chief by a bat sable with spread wings. The shield surmounted by a Marquess' coronet.

The arms of Albacete are compliant with the norms of heraldry.
The animal surmounting the castles was fixed as a bat in the 20th century; beforehand, its representation oscillated between a bat and an eagle, the latter being first recorded in 1568. The origin of the bat / eagle remains a matter of conjecture. The historian Aurelio Pretel Marín believes that the bat was derived from an eagle, which was itself derived from two winged hands holding affronted swords. These are the symbol of the Marquessate of Villena, also featured in the arms of Almansa. The heraldist Félix Ortiz Castrillo (El verdadero blasón de Albacete; descubrimiento de las claves heráldicas para comprender su origen y evolución, 2000) rather believes that the bat was derived from a shield's crest, similar to the dragon used as their crest by some members of the Villena lineage.

The three towers were already represented in 1569; there has been since then a discussion on their representation as towers or castles, which are different charges in Spanish heraldry. The meaning is conjectural, too. The tradition says they represent the three castles of the Marquessate of Villena: Alarcón, Chinchilla de Monte-Aragón, and Villena. Another tradition refers to the three original, fortified settlements that subsequently merged to form the town: Carretas, Villacerrada (aka Alto de la Villa, Town's Height), and El Cerrillo de San Juan (St. John's Small Hill, today the site of the cathedral).

The shield is surmounted by a Marquess' coronet, as a tribute to Alfonso of Aragón, Marquess of Villena, who granted the status of villa to Albacete. In earlier times, the shield was surmounted by a Royal crown open, a Royal crown closed, a mural crown (during the Second Republic), or no crown at all.
The shield's shape was also subjected to several variations: circular, oval, pointed in base, or rounded-off in base, as it is now. The towers sometimes stood on a base proper.
[Municipal website; Luis G. García-Saúco Beléndez. 1987. El escudo heráldico de la ciudad de Albacete. Boletín Informativo "Cultural Albacete", 17]

Ivan Sache, 3 May 2019


Submunicipal entity of Aguas Nuevas

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Flag of Aguas Nuevas - Image by "Erlenmeyer", Wikimedia Commons, 2 May 2019

The submunicipal entity of Aguas Nuevas (1,995 inhabitants in 2017; municipal website) is located 10 km south of Albacete.
Aguas Nuevas (New Waters) was established in 1939 by the Instituto Nacional de Colonización. The colonists were offered a plot, seeds, machinery and credit. After five years of residence, they could acquire the plot and premise with a low-rate, 40-year credit.
The new colony was organized on the model of Vegaviana (Cáceres), a project of modular architecture designed by José Luís Fernández del Amo.
Originally a rural colony, Aguas Vivas morphed in the last decade of the 20th century into a commuter town of Albacete, due to the sharp increase in the price of real estate (+ 15% within three years) in the provincial capital.

The flag of Aguas Nuevas is prescribed by an Order issued on 24 November 2011 by the Government of Castilla-La Mancha and published on 20 December 2011 in the official gazette of Castilla-La Mancha, No. 246, p. 41,436 (text).
The flag is described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular panel in proportions 2:3. White panel with two diagonal stripes, the one light blue, running from upper hoist, and the other crimson, running from the upper fly. In the center is placed the crowned coat of arms of the town.

The coat of arms of Aguas Nuevas is prescribed by an Order issued on 26 January 2001 by the Government of Castilla-La Mancha and published on 8 February 2000 in the official gazette of Castilla-La Mancha, No. 10, p. 978 (text).
The coat of arms is described as follows:

Coat of arms: Argent three towers proper 1 + 2 the upper surmounted by a bat sable. A bordure azure charged with wheat spikes. The shield surmounted by a Royal Spanish crown.

The Royal Academy of History found the proposed arms "very appropriate". They represent the mother town, with a differentiation using the blue color, as a reference to the water that gave the name of the town (lit., New Waters), and the dominant crop.
[Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia 197:2, 369. 2000]


Albacete Balompié

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Flag of Albacete Balompié, official and unofficial flags - Images by Jose Carlos Alegria and Ivan Sache, 3 May 2019

Albacete Balompié (website), aka Alba, was established on 1 August 1940 as the merger of the two football clubs of the town, Albacete Foot-ball Club and Club Deportivo Albacete; the new club was named Sociedad Deportiva Albacete Foot-ball Association, to be renamed to Albacete Balompié in 1941. Alba is the only club from Castilla-La Mancha to have played in the First League, for seven seasons (1991-1996; 2003-2005), achieving its best rank (7th) in 1991-1992, one year after having won the Second League.
[ La Futbolteca. Enciclopedia del Fútbol Español]

Alba was the first professional club (1994-1995) of Fernando Morientes (b. 1976), subsequently winner of the Liga in 2000-2002 and 2002-2003 and of the UEFA Champions League in 1997-1998, 1999-2000 and 2001-2002, with Real Madrid, of the Copa del Rey in 2007-2008, with Valencia CF, and of the Ligue 1 in 2009-2010, with Olympique de Marseille; he also played 47 matches with the national team, scoring 27 goals.
Alba was the first club (1994-1996) of Andrés Iniesta (b. 1984), who left it for FC Barcelona aged 12. With Barcelona, he won nine times the Liga, six times the Copa del Rey, and four times the UEFA Champions League (2005-2006, 2008-2009, 2010-2011, 2914-2015); he also played 131 matches with the national team, scoring 13 goals, winning the FIFA World Cup in 2010 and the UEFA European Championship in 2008 and 2012.

The official flag of Albacete Balompié is white with the club's emblem. On unofficial versions of the flag (photo, photo), the emblem is surrounded by the club's name written horizontally in yellow letters, "Albacete" on the left, "Balompié" on the right.

The emblem of Alba is made of a white triangular pennant with a red border, supported by a black bat. The triangle is charged on top with three yellow castles (1 + 2) while its point is filled with the black letters "AB". The emblem experienced minor changes in colors and design of the elements since its creation in 1947.
The three castles and the bat are straightforward references to the arms of the town of Albacete.
[La Futbolteca. Enciclopedia del Fútbol Español]

I<>Ivan Sache & Jose Carlos Alegria, 3 May 2019


 
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