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Arganda del Rey (Municipality, Community of Madrid, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-05-14 by ivan sache
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Flag of Arganda del Rey - Image by Ivan Sache, 29 June 2015

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Presentation of Arganda del Rey

The municipality of Arganda del Rey (55,307 inhabitants in 2014; 7,965 ha; municipal website) is located in the south-east of the Community of Madrid, 25 km of Madrid. The municipality experienced a demographic boom at the end of the 20th century, its population increasing from 11,993 inhabitants in 1970 to 33,432 in 2001.

Arganda del Rey was probably established by the Moors around a fortification (atalaya) watching the valley of Jarama and re-settled at the end of the 11th century following the Christian reconquest of the area. A local legend says that Arganda was founded by inhabitants of the neighbouring villages of Valtierra and Vilches, which had been suppressed by an invasion of ants and termites. Beyond the legend, there is evidence that Valtierra and Vilches were deserted in the 14th century following an outbreak of black plague (1348).
Arganda progressively developed out of the fortifications, colonizing the plain. The town belonged to the Archbishop of Toledo until 1581, when granted by King Philip II the status of villa. Severely into debt, Arganda was sold in 1613 to the Duke of Lerma, who was not warmly welcomed by the inhabitants of the town, the event being known as the Arganda Uprising.
The Company of Jesus settled in Arganda in the second half of the 16th century, purchasing the best plots of the area to establish vineyards. The Ensenada Cadaster lists 102 wine cellars among the 590 buildings that formed the town. After the expelling of the Jesuits in 1748, the wine industry was taken over by a powerful oligarchy that would also took the political and economical control of the town in the 19th century.

The establishment of the sugar mill of La Povera dramatically changed the landscape of Arganda. Most crops were replaced by sugar beet, while 600 workers were employed for harvest and transformation from November to February. The workers of La Povera were among the main elements of the union's movements that broke out during the Second Republic. In December 1935, the municipal plots were transferred to two farmer's associations for collective exploitation, which turned the next year into collectivization.
During the Civil War, the town, located on the Jarama front, was often air-raided. Fields and crops were abandoned, especially vineyards and olive orchards. The town re-emerged in the 1970s with a new wave of industrialization.

Ivan Sache, 29 June 2015

Symbols of Arganda del Rey

The flag (photos, photo, photo) and arms of Argand del Rey are prescribed by a Decree adopted on 23 May 1996 by the Government of the Community of Madrid and published on 16 July 1996 in the official gazette of the Community of Madrid, No. 168, pp. 13-14 (text) and on 23 August 1996 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 204, p. 26,068 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: In proportions 2:3. White and blue panel, charged in the center with the municipal coat of arms.
Coat of arms: Per pale, 1. Azure a St. John the Baptist, 2a. Gules a castle argent, 2b. Argent a bunch of grapes vert. The shield surmounted by a Royal Spanish crown.

The flag and arms are presented as a "modification" of the symbols originally adopted on 10 February 1949.
The process of adoption of the symbols was initiated on 1 July 1948 by the Municipal Council, presided by Mayor J. del Pozo Escrivá. It was suggested to take into account the arms featured on the charter granted by Philip II and the text of the charter, which mentions St . John the Baptist as the "defender" of the village. A proposal, drafted by the erudite Díaz Pezuela, was submitted on 8 July 1948 to the Spanish Government. The Royal Academy of History validated the proposal, "Quarterly the Royal arms of Castile and León surmounted by the crown of the time inescutcheon the figure of St. John the Baptist (bearing the Agnus Dei for the sake of heraldry) on a field azure", omitting the hills, valleys and fields copied from the old source.
The municipal banner is vertically divided white-blue with the municipal coat of arms in the middle, in the lower part a white scroll inscribed with "ARGANDA DEL REY" in black letters.
[Municipal archives]

Blas Delgado & Ivan Sache, 29 June 2015