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Alcobendas (Municipality, Community of Madrid, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-05-14 by ivan sache
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Flag of Alcobendas - Image by "Javitomad" (Wikimedia Commons), 26 June 2015

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Presentation of Alcobendas

The municipality of Alcobendas (112,188 inhabitants in 2014; 4,498 ha; municipal website) is located in the center of the Community of Madrid, bordering Madrid in the north. The municipality experienced a demographic boom in the second half of the 20th century, the population increasing from 3,748 inhabitants in 1960 to 92,090 in 2001.

Alcobendas was first mentioned, as Alcovendas, in a document signed on 5 August 1208 by King Alfonso VIII sharing the territories reconquerred from the Moors between Madrid and Segovia. The allocation of Alcobendas to Madrid was confirmed by another document signed by the king on 12 December 1208.
Alcobendas was included in the domains granted in 1369 by Henry II to his majordomo, Pedro González de Mendoza, as a reward for his support during his struggle against his brother, Peter I the Cruel. Alcobendas was then transferred to Pedro González de Mendoza's sun, Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, and to his nephew, Iñigo López de Mendoza, the famous Marquis of Santillana. The Marquis swapped Alcobendas for Torija (Province of Guadalajara) in 1453 with Gonzalo de Guzmán. In 1457, the lord of Alcobendas was Diego Arias Dávila, Chief Accountant of Castile, whose descendants, the Counts of Puñonrostro, would rule the town until 1811.

Madrid never accepted the separation of Alcobendas. Through permanent struggle and several lawsuits, Madrid could limit the jurisdiction of the lord of Alcobendas to the town. Accordingly, the inhabitants had to pay taxes to Madrid for the use of arable land, woods and pastures located on the nominal territory of Alcobendas. The tyrannic rule exerted by Juan Arias Dávila, lord of Alcobendas, convinced several villagers to ask the protection of Madrid. San Sebastián de los Reyes was founded in 1492, which did not improve the situation of Alcobendas: the inhabitants of the new town, depending on Madrid, were exempted of tax for land use.
After the establishment of constitutional municipalities, the Municipal Council of Alcobendas required on 16 May 1820 from the newly created Provincial Council of Madrid an expertise on "its municipal territory restricted to the small area covered by the houses of the villagers". Oddly enough, San Sebastián de los Reyes did not oppose to the increase of the municipal territory of Alcobendas, while the neighbouring villages of Fuencarral, Barajas and Fuente el Fresno challenged the proposal. Validated on 18 March 1822 by the Parliament, the new municipal territory of Alcobendas was delimited in April 1822. The return of the absolutist regime in 1823 cancelled the decisions of the Parliament, so that Alcobendas returned to its original situation, deemed "unique in Spain" in 1834 by the statistician Antonio Regas. The re-establishment of the constitutional territory of Alcobendas was prescribed by the Royal Order of 21 July 1835.

Alcobendas has two "Preferred Daughters", the actress Penélope Cruz Sánchez (b. 1974), the first Spanish actress in history to receive an Academy Award (Best Supporting Actress 2008 in Vicky Cristina Barcelona) and the first Spanish actress to receive a star at the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and the basketball player Amaya Valdemoro Madariaga (b. 1976); considered as the best Spanish player ever (winner of the EuroBasket 2013 with the national team and of the WNBA championship 1998, 1999 and 2000 with the Houston Comets).

Ivan Sache, 26 June 2015

Symbols of Alcobendas

The flag (photo, photo, photo, photo) of Alcobendas is dark red with the municipal coat of arms in the center. The flag does not appear to have been officially adopted.

The coat of arms of Alcobendas is prescribed by Decree No. 705, adopted on 29 March 1962 by the Spanish Government and published on 6 April 1962 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 83, p. 4,655 (text).
The coat of arms is described as follows:

Coat of arms: Per pale, 1. Argent a cross flory gules, 2. Argent an eagle sable. Grafted in base vert a castle argent. The shield surmounted by a Count's coronet.

Ivan Sache, 26 June 2015