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Riaza (Municipality, Castilla y León, Spain)

Last modified: 2020-03-28 by ivan sache
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Presentation of Riaza

The municipality of Riaza (2,099 inhabitants in 2018; 14,949 ha, therefore the 5th biggest municipality in the province by its area; municipal website) is located on the border with Castilla-La Mancha (Province of Guadalajara), 80 km north-east of Segovia. The municipality is composed of the town of Riaza and the villages of Aldeanueva del Monte (8 inh.), Alquité (4 inh.), Barahona de Fresno (7 inh.), Becerril (9 inh.), Madriguera (21 inh.), Martín Muñoz de Ayllón (8 inh.), El Muyo (10 inh.), El Negredo (7 inh.), Serracín (11 inh.), and Villacorta (27 inh.).
The municipality was established by Royal Decree No. 1,822, signed on 8 June 1979 and published on 27 July 1979 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 179, p. 17,636 (text), as the merger of the former municipalities of Riaza, Aldeanueva del Monte (incl. Barahona de Fresno and Serracín), Madriguera, Becerril, El Muyo, El Negredo, and Villacorta (incl. Alquité and Martín Muñoz de Ayllón).

Riaza must have been established at the end of the 11th century, when García Ordóñez was commissioned to re-settle the areas of Ayllón and Maderuelo, newly reconquered from the Moors in the aftermath of the fall of Toledo to Alfonso VI in 1085.
In 1139, Alfonso VII transferred to the Bishop of Segovia "a smiths' village located between Fresno and Sepúlveda", that is, Riaza. The village separated from Fresno and its inhabitants were allowed to exploit iron mines without paying any tax to other villages. Riaza was first mentioned in 1235, in the report submitted by Gonzalo Abad to Ferdinand III to settle the dispute between Fresno and Sepúlveda for the control of mountains and pastures.

John II purchased in 1430 Riaza from Juan de Tordesillas, Bishop of Segovia, and sold the town two months later, on 28 August, to Constable Álvaro de Luna. After the Constable's disgrace and execution in 1453, all his domains were reincorporated to the crown, but his son, Juan de Luna, could keep Riaza, Castilnovo and the county of San Esteban. In 1470, Riaza belonged to the Marquess of Villena, following the marriage of Juan de Luna with an heiress of the lineage. Subsequent rulers of Riaza were the Duchess María de Velasco (15th-16th centuries), Diego de Cárdenas (1527), the Duke of Maqueda (1536), the Dukes of Arcos and, eventually, the Marquesses of Altamira (1780-1811).
Riaza maintained a fierce rivalry with Sepúlveda for the control of the woods, pastures and sources of freshwater. Started in the Middle Ages, the conflict was settled in 1844, when the Governor of Segovia ordered the share of the common properties of the two towns, which was achieved only in the 1920s.

Ivan Sache, 13 June 2010

Symbols of Riaza

The flag and "rehabilitated" arms of Riaza are prescribed by an Agreement adopted on 25 January 2019 by the Municipal Council, signed on 15 March 2019 by the Mayor and published on 22 March 2019 in the official gazette of Castilla y León, No. 139, p. 12,798 (text).
The symbols, which are supported by a memoir redacted by Félix J. Martínez Llorente and were approved on 17 December 2018 by the Chronicler of Arms of Castilla y León, are described as follows:

Flag: In proportions 2:3, with a border. In the fly's panel, blue (or azure), a trout argent. In the red (or gules) border, ten yellow (or or) towers, four in the upper part, four in the lower part, three in the right flank (or fly's end) and three in the left flank (or at hoist).
Coat of arms: In Spanish shape. Azure a trout argent (or white) over a base wavy argent (or white) and blue (or azure). The shield surmounted by a Royal crown open, or Castile crown.

The flag is based on the historical arms of the town, used since the 16th century in different shapes. The last version in use was not compliant either with legislation or heraldic norms, therefore the need to "rehabilitate" the arms to obtain proper registration.
The flag's border features on a Castilian red background ten towers representing the ten villages composing the municipality together with the town of Riaza.
[Municipal Facebook account]

Ivan Sache, 13 June 2019