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Las Pedroñeras (Municipality, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain)

Last modified: 2020-02-16 by ivan sache
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Flag of Las Pedroñeras - Image by Ivan Sache, 29 June 2019

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Presentation of Las Pedroñeras

The municipality of Las Pedroñeras (6,548 inhabitants in 2018; 22,467 ha; municipal website) is located on the border with the Province of Albacete, 110 km south-west of Cuenca.

Las Pedroñeras was established on a stone (piedra) mound, where the first houses and the wealthy St. Mary church, disappeared long ago, were built. Las Pedroñeras was first documented in 1445 among the lands offered to Juan Pacheco, 2nd Marquess of Villena, by King John II and Prince Henry, as a reward for his support during the battle of Olmedo (1445) against the revolted nobles and the Infantes of Aragón. At the time, Las Pedroñeras was a hamlet composed of a few adobe huts, with a population of 150.

In the 15th century, Las Pedroñeras experienced a demographic boom due to the abandon of the neighboring villages of Záncara de los Moros, El Robledillo, Martín Ovieco, Santiago de la Torre, and Santiaguillo. On 28 January 1470, Las Pedroñeras was granted the status of villa by Jorge Manrique, Captain of the Santa Hermandad, as a reward for the support of the town to the Catholic Monarchs against Diego López Pacheco, 3rd Marquess of Villena, who supported Joanna la Beltraneja; the status was confirmed on 20 December 1479 by the Catholic Monarchs, with jurisdiction on Martín Ovieco and El Robledillo de Záncara, and, subsequently, by Philip II on 14 July 1573, Philip III in 1617, and Philip IV in 1629.
Las Pedroñeras flourished during the Habsburg rule. The building of the church of Our Lady of the Ascension (1547) was initiated by Juan Flórez, a famous architect of Cuenca, and completed by his sons. Between 1590 and 1595, El Greco painted for the church La Oración del Huerto, today shown in the Cuenca Diocese Museum.

The advent of the reformist Bourbon dynasty boosted the economic development of the town, which counted 2,658 inhabitants in 1797. A Royal grain store, a butchery, a jail, a boy's school with two teachers, two inns and an hospice were built, as well as a forge powered by river Záncara, according to the special privilege by Charles III to water and wind mills. Traditional agriculture and cattle-breeding were supplemented by brandy distillation, cloth making, and, mostly, by hoisery, which provided income for most women of the town until 1894.

Las Pedroñeras is self-styled Garlic's Capital, producing more than 60 million kg of garlic per year.
The Las Pedroñeras Purple Garlic was inscribed to the register of protected geographical indications by Regulation No. 676, issued on 16 July 2008 by the European Commission and published on 17 July 2008 in the official gazette of the European Union L189/19-L189-20 (text).

The Las Pedroñeras Purple Garlic protected geographical indication (website) is managed by a Regulation published on 5 October 2007 in the official gazette of the European Union C 233/10-C 233/13.
The bulbs under protection belong the Las Pedroñeras Purple autochthonous ecotype, a local variant of the Cuenca Purple variety of garlic (Allium sativum L.). An ecotype is defined by morphological and physiological specificities connected to the growing environment, not to genetics.
The production zone includes 227 places located in the natural regions of La Mancha, Mancha, Mancha Alta, Mancha Baja, Manchuela, and Centre, all parts of the Provinces of Cuenca, Albacete, Ciudad Real, and Toledo.
The Las Pedroñeras Purple Garlic has an established fame at the local, regional, national and international levels. This fame results from the conjunction of several factors directly connected to history and culture, such as traditions, customs, festivals, gastronomy, etc... Pascual Madoz' dictionary (1849) already mentions purple garlic as significantly grown and traded in Las Pedroñeras. Garlic is a mandatory component of the main local dishes, such as atascaburras, caldereta, moje de pimientos, perdiz en escabeche, revueltos, migas, gaches etc.

Ivan Sache, 29 June 2019

Symbols of Las Pedroñeras

The flag of Las Pedroñeras is prescribed by an Order issued on 20 May 1998 by the Government of Castilla-La Mancha and published on 5 June 1998 in the official gazette of Castilla-La Mancha, No. 26, p. 4,075 (text).
The flag is described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular, in proportions 2:3, diagonally divided from the hoist's lower hoist to the fly's upper hoist, white in the upper part, and green in the lower part.

The flag in use (photo, photo, photo, photo, photo) appears to be charged in canton with the municipal coat of arms.

The coat of arms of Las Pedroñeras is prescribed by an Order issued on 20 May 1998 by the Government of Castilla-La Mancha and published on 5 June 1998 in the official gazette of Castilla-La Mancha, No. 26, p. 4,075 ((text).
The coat of arms is described as follows:

Coat of arms: Argent a pine eradicated proper surrounded by two partridges affronty in base mounts vert superimposed by a garlic's head argent. The shield surmounted by a Spanish Royal crown.

The Royal Academy of History validated the proposed symbols "without any objection".
[Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia, 196:2, 341. 1999]

The coat of arms is based on various designs used in the second half of the 20th century. In 1956, a very sketchy shield, without crown, featuring a pine surrounded by two partridges, was shown on the bulletin of a religious brotherhood, Hermandad de Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno. The drawing looks older than the bulletin, so it was most probably taken from another source hitherto unknown. The next year, the brotherhood's bulletin showed a more elaborated design: the shield's shape was changed from Iberian to French; the pine is represented eradicated, in a more stylized manner.
The next appearance of the arms is to be found in the program of the town's festivals for year 1962. The shield has now a bordure charged with eight saltires and is placed on a parchment, the while being surmounted by a Royal crown open. The program for year 1972 features the same coat of arms, with a more elaborated representation of the parchment; the partridges, ill-designed like sparrows, and the tree stand on a base, with the tree's roots still visible.

The eventual design of the arms, adopted on 25 April 1996 by the Municipal Council, had the bordure suppressed, a Royal crown closed, and the base recalling the stony etymology of the place's name and charged with an emblematic garlic head.
María Pilar Martín Alonso claimed in the 1980s that the genuine arms of Las Pedroñeras have to be found on the facade of the old Town Hall, today the Health Center, featuring an Imperial eagle and the Royal arms.
[Las Pedroñeras blog, by Ángel Carrasco, 6 February 2018]

Ivan Sache, 29 June 2019