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Rivas-Vaciamadrid (Municipality, Community of Madrid, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-05-22 by ivan sache
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Flag of Rivas-Vaciamadrid - Image by Ivan Sache, 22 July 2015

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Presentation of Rivas-Vaciamadrid

The municipality of Rivas-Vaciamadrid (80,483 inhabitants in 2014; 6,716 ha; municipal website) is located in the south-east of the Community of Madrid, 15 km of Madrid and 20 km of Alcalá de Henares. The municipality experienced a demographic boom in the last decades of the 20th century, its population increasing from 653 inhabitants in 1981 to 14,863 in 1991 and 36,742 in 2001. This is considered as the swiftest demographic increase in Europe.

Rivas-Vaciamadrid was originally made of two villages, Rivas and Vaciamadrid, which were merged in 1845 to form the municipality of Rivas del Jarama. The villages were then made of scattered houses surrounded by big estates.
Rivas is named for Captain Guillermo Rivas, who was commissioned in the 11th century by King Alfonso VI to re-settle the area. Vaciamadrid is probably named for the Arab toponym Manzil Mayrit, the Mayrit Inn, where travellers heading to Madrid could rest.
Located on the front of the battle of Jarama, the village was totally destroyed during the Civil War and rebuilt from scratch in 1954 by the Directorate General of Devastated Regions.

Ivan Sache, 22 July 2015

Symbols of Rivas-Vaciamadrid

The flag of Rivas-Vaciamadrid (photos) is red with a "rosette", made of a white eight-pointed sun voided. The flag does not appear to have been officially adopted.

Rivas-Vaciamadrid used from 1998 to 2006 a flag that was not approved by the Community of Madrid, either. Francisco de Pablo (1987-1991, PSOE), Mayor at the time, recalls that "the flag was gyronny red over white, with the coat of arms in the middle and a five-pointed white star on each of the eight gyrons." The red colour and the stars represented the Community of Madrid. The white colour represented an emerging, stainless town. The coat of arms featured a "double crown", indeed a Royal crown and a Ducal coronet, which recalled that "Rivas, once part of the Royal domain, was granted by Philip IV to the Duke of Rivas while Vaciamadrid was granted to the Count of Altamira." The castle featured on the coat of arms recalls "Gracián Ramírez' castle, erected between rivers Jarama and Manzanares". The green colour recalls that the town "was once a rural village, with orchards and gardens".

Mayor José Masa (2003-2014, IU) commissioned the Rafael Celda y Asociados graphic studio to change the symbols. The coat of arms had flaws; the castle lacked modern or historical references, while its design was extremely complex and of little legibility, therefore not suitable for mass communication. The designer drafted new symbols, based on the available historical documentation and advice obtained from local inhabitants and collectives.
The new coat of arms features a Royal Borbonic crown, "identical to the official graphic version of the Community of Madrid", in the middle an inverted pile (a white triangle), charged with a five-pointed red star with a circular hole in the middle. The base of the triangle is placed below the crown while its vertex reaches the lower edge of the shield. The field is red, of the same shade as the regional flag. According to the municipal authorities, this symbol "unites quite a number of references highlighting the town. It recalls the balanced relation between the downtown (the circle) and the periphery (the surrounding triangles)". The rosette also recalls "clean energy, and, especially, solar energy, promoted by the municipality".
According to the designer, the flag was partially inspired by the older flag, being arranged around the iconic element of the coat of arms, the rosette. The diameter of the rosette is 1/3 of the flag's width.
The proposed symbol were approved by all the groups of the Municipal Council (IU, PSOE and PP).
[Este de Madrid, 1 March 2006]

The Royal Academy proposed modifications to the earlier proposed symbols. The coat of arms is described as "Vert a wall or between two towers of the same masoned sable port and windows azure surmounted by a Royal crown closed in base [wavy?] argent and azure". The design is based on the foundations of a big building located on the top of a hill and known as the "castle" under Philip II. The Academy recommended to drop the crown featured on the shield, since several other places once part of the Royal domain could also use it.
The Academy approved the proposed flag, suggesting to drop the stars from the gyrons.
[Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia, 1989, 186, 2: 310]

Ivan Sache, 22 July 2015