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Motilla del Palancar (Municipality, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain)

Last modified: 2019-10-07 by ivan sache
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Flag of Motilla del Palancar - Image by Ivan Sache, 29 June 2019

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Presentation of Motilla del Palancar

The municipality of Motilla del Palancar (5,959 inhabitants in 2018, therefore the 7th most populated municipality in the province; 7,389 ha; municipal website) is located 70 km south of Cuenca.
Motilla de Palancar originates in a hamlet known as Parajes de Alarcón. Located in the fertile plain, the place was probably grown in grain. Motilla de Palancar was granted the status of villa on 4 May 1489 by the Catholic Monarchs.

Motilla is the diminutive form of mota, whose accurate meaning is unknown. Trifon Muñoz y Soliva (Historia de Cuenca, 1867) claims that the town was originally erected on a height, in Hebrew, ila / ili, and named Ilia. The Romans transferred the town elsewhere and added mota, meaning "a transfer", "a move", to its name, Mota-Ilia / Motilia / Motilla. This far-fetched explanation is not supported by anything but the imagination of the historian.
The origin of "del Palancar" is not known, either. The full name appeared in the 1489 grant but was further dropped from 1524 to 1700. The place known as El Palancar, located north-east of the town, was not mentioned in reports older than the 20th century; therefore, it cannot be the origin of "del Palancar".

Ivan Sache, 29 June 2019

Symbols of Motilla del Palancar

The flag (photo, photo, photo, photo, photo; video) and arms of Motilla del Palancar are prescribed by an Order issued on 18 January 1991 by the Government of Castilla-La Mancha and published on 30 January 1991 in the official gazette of Castilla-La Mancha, No. 8, pp. 265-266 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Blue, in proportions 2:4, with a red stripe fimbriated in white diagonally running from the hoist's lower end. Charged in the upper part with an eight-pointed star, in the lower part with a fleur-de-lis, all white.
Coat of arms: Spanish shield. Azure a star argent in base a fleur-de-lis of the same. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed.

The Royal Academy of History approved the proposed symbols, suggesting minor modifications.
The coat of arms features a star, the town's old emblem, and a fleur-de-lis originally granted in 1717 by Philip V, among other privileges. Legitimized by a recorded, continuous use, the proposed arms are inadequately surmounted by a crown open and their graphic representation is not compliant with tradition. While the graphic style (shield's shape, charge's representation and details) is not normalized, lacking emblematic meaning, it is recommended to follow the graphic templates imposed by customs and proper esthetic values.
On the flag, the red stripe alludes to the stamina of saffron, a crop very important for the municipality.
[Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia, 188:1, 187. 1991]

Saffron was once considered as Motilla's gold, but its cultivation was nearly gone at the end of the 20th century. The leaflet El Azafrín en España, released in 1916 by the Ministry of State, names the variety producing the best quality - by the intensity, brightness and firmness of the color - as motilla. At the time, Spain was the world's top producer of saffron, followed by France; best quality, obtained in Motilla and Campo de Alto Buey (Cuenca) and Casas Ib&aacut;ñez (Albacete), outranked foreign products. According to ABC, 24 October 1928, motilla saffron priced 70 pesetas for 470 grams. Twenty-five saffron growers were listed in the town in the middle of the 20th century.
The Balear S.L. company (website), founded in 1959, is the only saffron producer in Motilla, and main producer of "La Mancha saffron" protected denomination of origin. The saffron is sold under the La Rosera brand.
[Motilla del Palancar blog]

Ivan Sache, 29 June 2019