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Colmenarejo (Municipality, Community of Madrid, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-05-16 by ivan sache
Keywords: colmenarejo |
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Flag of Colmenarejo - Image by Ivan Sache, 5 July 2015

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Presentation of Colmenarejo

The municipality of Colmenarejo (8,934 inhabitants in 2014; 3,170 ha; municipal website) is located in the north-west of the Community of Madrid, 40 km of Madrid.

Colmenajero is of obscure origin. According to Marín Pérez, the village was established in the 11th century in a place rich in bee-hives (colmenas). Cardinal Lorenzana's Transcripciones claim the Colmenareja was founded in 1140 by inhabitants of Colmenar Viejo, therefore the diminutive form in the name of the village. Whatever the date, the settlement was established by shepherds from Segovia in search of new pastures; they probably erected huts close to the main roads of transhumance, the Cañada Real de Las Merinas and the Cañada Real Segoviana. Originally called Colmenar de Don Mateo (Matthew's Apiary), the place was subsequently renamed Colmenarejo, the diminutive form indicating it was much smaller, if not younger, than Colmenar Viejo.
Colmenajero was fiercely disputed between Segovia and Madrid. The village was listed in 1208 as a dependency of Manzanares, therefore of Segovia. King Sancho IV the Brave allocated the village to Segovia in 1287, but transferred it to Madrid in 1294. Colmenarejo was allocated again to Manzanares and Segovia in 1314 by Ferdinand IV. Colmenarejo was then part of the Real de Manzanares, a domain established in 1332 by King Alfonso X the Wise and granted in 1383 by John I to his majordomo, Pedro González de Mendoza. His nephew, Iñigo López de Mendoza, was made Count of the Real de Manzanares and Marquis of Santillana by John II.
The town was granted in 1630 the status of villa, separating from Galapagar.

Ivan Sache, 5 July 2015

Symbols of Colmenarejo

The flag (photo, photo, photo, photos, photo) of Colmenarejo is horizontally divided light blue-red-light blue (1:2:1) with the municipal coat of arms in the middle.

The coat of arms of Colmenarejo is made of a white shield with a red border inscribed at the top with "COLMENAJERO" in yellow letters. The shield is divided by a light blue bend charged in the middle with a red Latin cross inscribed within a black lozenge. There is a bee-hive (colmena) in the upper left part and a tree in the lower part of the shield.

The symbols were not officially approved. During the session of the Municipal Council held on 23 February 2012, the opposition group (PSOE) pointed out that the symbols used for more than 30 years were, therefore, illegal. Moreover, different versions of the coat of arms were in use. It was discovered that the flag and arms of Colmenarejo were adopted after a public contest open to children, without any control of compliance with the law. The Secretary of the municipality confirmed that the symbols were never submitted to any legal procedure of approval, and, are therefore, not used in compliance with the law.
The Mayor proposed to organize a public contest to design a coat of arms compliant with all legal, historical and heraldic rules. The proposal was adopted by all the groups, IU excepted.
Some inhabitants of the town consider that the flag features "an unfortunate combination of colours"; the design of the coat of arms also received a lot of criticism.
[El Faro del Guadarrama, 16 March 2012]

Ivan Sache, 5 July 2015

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