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Valverde de Leganés (Municipality, Extremadura, Spain)

Last modified: 2020-10-31 by ivan sache
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Flag of Valverde de Leganés - Image by Ivan Sache, 16 March 2020

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Presentation of Valverde de Leganés

The municipality of Valverde de Leganés (4,159 inhabitants in 2019; 7,300 ha; municipal website) is located 30 km south of Badajoz and 15 km east of Olivenza.

Valverde de Leganés was already settled in the late Neolithic, as evidenced by megalithic tombs found on the municipal territory. Several Roman estates were excavated, for instance in La Dehesa de la Cocosa (1st century BC), with remains of baths and olive oil mills.
The origin of the modern town is unknown; it was first documented in the 13th century as Valverde de Badajoz, a hamlet depending on the Diocese of Badajoz, re-established in 1255 by Alfonso X the Wise. Beforehand, Valverde belonged to the Order of Saint James but was also the seat of a Templar convent.

In 1385, John I of Portugal, Master of the Order of Aviz, defeated John I of Castile in Aljubarrota. Pedro Nuñiz de Godoy, Grand Master of the Order of Saint John, fled to Valverde de Leganés, where he was captured and killed by the enemy. To settle peace, the Spaniards and the Portuguese expected to meet in Badajoz; because of the Portuguese reluctance, the meeting was relocated to Almendralejo, to no avail, and eventually to Valverde, where peace was eventually restored. The meeting was attended by the bishops of the main towns of the two countries and Portuguese Infante Beatriz, who subsequently visited Badajoz, staying in the town longer than expected due to the friendly welcome by the inhabitants.

Valverde de Leganés was acquired in 1569 by the Duke of Béjar. Diego Felipe de Guzmán, Marquess of Leganés, acquired the town in the 17th century; the Marquisate was subsequently ruled by the house of Altamira, lord of Valverde until the suppression of the feudal system.
Destroyed during the War of the Portuguese Restoration (1640-1668), the town remained ruined and depopulated for nearly 20 years. In 1643, the Portuguese troops led by General Martín Alonso de Mello, composed of 3,000 infantrymen and 500 cavalrymen, marched against Valverde, which was defended by only 600 infantrymen and 200 cavalrymen; most houses were destroyed and several inhabitants killed after the seizure of the town. Upset, the Marquess of Leganés launched several retaliation campaigns against the town of Olivenza, to no avail.
The town was again deserted for eight years (1704-1712) during the War of the Spanish Succession.

The incorporation of Olivenza to Spain in 1801 lift the pressure on Valverde de Leganés, which was no longer a border town. On 18 February 1810, during the War of Independence, the guerilla Morillo and his troops nightly entered the town and killed more than 100 French cavalrymen. The heroin Catalina Martín López de Bustamante was rewarded with the rank of cavalry standard-bearer. On 13 May 1811, General Castaños, Marshal Beresford and Generals Wellington and Scout met in their headquarter in Valverde to plan the battle of La Albuera.

Ivan Sache, 16 March 2020

Flag of Valverde de Leganés

The flag (photo) and arms of Valverde de Leganés, adopted on 27 April and 10 July 1992 by the Municipal Council and validated on 25 June and 15 September 1992 by the Assessing Council of Honors and Distinctions of the Government of Extremadura, are prescribed by an Order issued on 14 October 1992 by the Government of Extremadura and published on 27 October 1992 in the official gazette of Extremadura, No. 84, pp. 2,378-2,379 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Quadrangular. Composed of a two horizontal stripes, the upper white, charged with the municipal coat of arms, and the lower, green, in respective proportions 3:4 and 1:4 of the flag's width.
Coat of arms: Argent a lion purpure a stone column wrapped with a scroll inscribed "plus ultra". Chaussé vert a caldron argent on each side The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed.

The central elements of the coat of arms comes from the arms of Badajoz, recalling that the town was once called Valverde de Badajoz. The caldrons comes from the arms of Guzmán, probably recalling Diego Mexía Felípez de Guzmán (1580-1655), first Marquess of Leganés (1627), for which the town was renamed.

Ivan Sache, 16 March 2020