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Illescas (Municipality, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain)

Last modified: 2020-04-01 by ivan sache
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Flag of Illescas - Image by Ivan Sache, 9 September 2019

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Presentation of Illescas

The municipality of Illescas (28,064 inhabitants in 2018 vs. 2,129 in 1950 and 10,347 in 2000, therefore the 3rd most populated municipality in the province; 5,735 ha; municipal website) is located on the border with the Community of Madrid, half-distance (40 km) of Toledo and Madrid.

Illescas, according to the tradition, was founded in 2621 BC by Greek colonists, as Ilarcuris. Archeological excavations performed in El Cerrón provide evidence for a Celtiberian settlement active from the late 5th century BC to the 2nd century BC., subsequently re-settled by the Romans.
In 636, St. Ildefonso established a nun's monastery dedicated to the Blessed Virgin a small pilgrim's hospital and a chapel, close to the estate known as "villa dubiense", whose exact location is still unknown.

After the Christian reconquest in 1085, Alfonso VI ordered the revamping and increase of the Moorish citadel. Out of its five gates, only the Ugena Arch has been preserved until now. The town was transferred to the Archbishop of Toledo at an unknown, date. On 21 March 1154, Alfonso VII swapped Illescas for Aguilafuente (Segovia) and Bobadilla (Toledo) with Vicente, Bishop of Segovia. On 6 April, the king chartered Illescas but transferred the town four years later to the Archbishop of Toledo. Conflicts between the town and the archbishop would stop only in 1575, when Illescas as re-incorporated to the Royal domain.
The town was embellished in the 16th century by Cardinal Cisneros, who funded the erection of a grain store, an hospital and a convent, and ordered in 1503 the restoration of the fortifications. Illescas was favored by the kings, who enjoyed staying there, except during the War of the Commoners, when Francisco de Guzmán, from Illescas, was captain of Padilla's companies.

Ivan Sache, 9 September 2019

Symbols of Illescas

The flag of Illescas (photo, photo, photo), which does not appear to have been officially registered, is crimson red with the municipal coat of arms in the center.

The coat of arms of Illescas is prescribed by an Order issued on 15 March 2005 by the Government of Castilla-La Mancha and published on 24 March 2005 in the official gazette of Castilla-La Mancha, No. 60, p. 5,900 (text).
The coat of arms is described as follows:

Coat of arms: Quarterly, 1. and 4. Argent a cross flory [gules] voided, 2. and 3. Gules a castle or port and windows azure. The shield surmounted by a Spanish Royal crown.

The coat of arms of "immemorial use", as seen on the facade of the Town Hall, has the quarters swapped.It was soemtimes superimposed to a double-headed eagle and surmounted by an Imperial crown, or surrounded by the writing "Escudo de la Imperial Villa de Illescas". Philip II's Relaciones erreoneously identify the cross as the Cross of Calatrava. Cardinal Lorenzana's Relaciones date back the arms to the 11th century, or even earlier: the crosses and the castles are interpreted as the symbols of the victory of the Christian religion and of the force of the Castilians, respectilvey, during the reconquest of the town by Alfonso VI.
The cross is indeed the emblem of the Holy Brotherhood of the Virgin of the Charity; the castles represent the formerly fortified town.
[José Luis Ruz Márquez & Ventura Leblic García. Heraldica municipal de la Provincia de Toledo. 1983]

Ivan Sache, 9 September 2019