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Alaejos (Municipality, Castilla y León, Spain)

Last modified: 2015-01-06 by ivan sache
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Flag of Alaejos - Image by Ivan Sache, 10 July 2011

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Presentation of Alaejos

The municipality of Alaejos (1,572 inhabitants in 2010; 10,259 ha; unofficial website) is located in the southwest of Valladolid Province, 60 km from Valladolid.

Alaejos was mentioned for the first time in 1180 as Falafeios. In the middle of the 14th century, King Alfonso IX transferred Alaejos to his standard bearer Diego Ferná:ndez de Medina, who sold it a few years later to the Council of Medina del Campo. In 1452, Prince Henry (subsequently, King Henry IV) transferred Alaejos to Alonso de Fonseca, Bishop of Ávila and Archbishop of Seville. Joan of Portugal, Henry IV's wife, was jailed in 1468 in the today disappeared castle of Alaejos, from which she escaped with her lover Pedro de Castilla "el Mozo", a nephew of King Peter the Cruel.

Ivan Sache, 10 July 2011

Symbols of Alaejos

The flag of Alaejos is prescribed by a Decree adopted on 31 May 1996 by the Valladolid Provincial Government, signed by the President of the Government on 18 June 1996 and published on 2 July 1996 in the official gazette of Castilla y León, No. 126 (text).
The flag is described as follows:

Flag: The municipal coat of arms shall preside the flag of Alaejos as its emblem, with a golden border on the obverse.
The flag shall be rectangular like the Spanish flag, oblong, horizontally divided in the middle, made of taffeta or silk [...], its length ( 2 m) being twice its height (1 m).
The horizontal line, parallel to the larger edges of the flag and linking the midpoints of its flanks through the midpoint of the flag, divides the flag's field into two equal zones : 1 or upper, and 2 or lower.
1. Upper zone. The field of this stripe is of sky blue color, the same as the portion of the border (of 3 cm in width) that surrounds the upper side and its flanks (of 2 x 0.50 m).
2. Lower zone. The field of this stripe is old gold yellow, like the portion of the border that limits and reinforce the perimeter of the lower side and its flanks, with the same measurements as for the first stripe.

The flag (municipal website, no longer online), designed by Lucio Zumel Menocal, was originally approved by the Municipal Council on 21 December 1994 (ordinary session) and 29 March 1995 (extraordinary session).

The designer of the symbols presented them in the document Anexo al estudio-proyecto de la bandera alaejana, released in February 1995. The coat of arms (municipal website, no longer online) is described as follows:

A Spanish shield, rectangular in shape with the base rounded-off, surrounded by a light bordure, without division in the field and with proportions 5:6 between the horizontal lines of the chief and the vertical lines of its dexter and sinister flanks.

Field of the shield.
The shield field, azure and surrounded with a thin bordure or, showing a star with eight rays or points of the same.
The bordure or alludes to the ripe grain fields that have been for ages the main component of the agricultural economy of the place.
The star is a replica of the star shown in the arms of the Fonseca family, lords of Alaejos and responsible of the local splendor for centuries.
The municipality adopts this star on the municipal arms as a tribute to the wealth transmitted by its forerunners, mostly from the Fonseca noble family.
The yellow color of old gold is used because it is an heraldic characteristic of this metal, as detailed in Folio 5 of the memoir.
The municipality uses azure in the shield's field to evoke the values accumulated in the town since the 16th century, which made of it the fecund mother of children enlightened with virtue, arts, military and literature, thanks to the sociocultural awareness of the inhabitants, promoted and boosted by the chapter of its churches, the St. Francis convent and, first of all, the patronage of its lords. [...]

Honor attribute of the shield.
The municipal administration of this "Old Royal Town of Spain in Old Castile", following the tradition, adopts the crown open of the Kings of Spain as the honor attribute of its arms.

The Royal Academy of History found flaws in the "prolific" memoir describing the proposed symbols.
The proposed arms should be described as "Azure a star or", the Academy rejecting the "thin bordure or" as absolutely unknown to the Spanish heraldic tradition. The proportions of the field of the shield as well as the shape of its perimeter should not be stated in the description, since they are submitted to variation according to the graphic representation of the arms. The alleged symbolism of the colours comes from the fantasy of some heraldists of the 15th century. The shield is surmounted with the "crown open of the Kings of Spain"; however, the crown should represent the present and not the past, therefore be replaced with the crown closed following the official model of the national arms.
The proposed flag is a rectangle with unspecified proportions, with a representation of the statue of the Casita Virgin venerated in a local chapel. The image is too complex to be reproduced accurately in detail and colors; moreover, the modern flags should be sketchy and chromatic to be easily interpreted. The Academy recommends to replace the statue with a simpler Marian symbol (Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia, 1997, 194, 2: 397).

Ivan Sache, 22 June 2011