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El Escorial (Municipality, Community of Madrid, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-06-04 by ivan sache
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Presentation of El Escorial

The municipality of El Escorial (15,244 inhabitants in 2041; 6,875 ha; municipal website) is located in the north-west of the Community of Madrid, 50 km of Madrid.

El Escorial was probably settled after the Christian reconquest, in a place planted with oaks (ésculos). Originally depending on Robledo de Chavela, El Escorial was an outpost of the Community of the Town and Land of Segovia on the disputed border with Madrid. The demographic growth allowed in the early 16th century separation from Robledo.
On 15 April 1561, King Philip II decided the erection of the monastery of San Lorenzo del Escorial, which dramatically changed the every day's life in El Escorial. Workers came from all over Europe and money started to circulate. El Escorial was granted the status of villa on 8 April 1565, separating from Segovia and directly depending on the crown.
The old rural village of El Escorial morphed into a town, with a new Town Hall, a Royal hospital for the workers (1571), big houses for the King's civil servants. New streets, fountains and the St. Barnabas church (1594) were built. The Gilded Age of El Escorial (1562-1598) ended with the inauguration of the monastery, which became the main employer in the town.

In the middle of the 18th century, Charles III decided to use the monastery as a palace for longer stays. The monks attempted to restrict the building of new houses by the nobles of the Court. The monastery and the town started a lawsuit for the property rights on a plot where a new inn was to be built. The mundane case was a good opportunity for the crown to establish its rule: the Royal "arbitration" concluded that the barren plot belonged to the Royal domain. Afterwards, the Royal power suppressed the title of Mayor of El Escorial and appointed a Governor of the Royal Site; the new municipality of San Lorenzo de El Escorial was established.

Ivan Sache, 6 July 2015

Symbols of El Escorial

The symbols of El Escorial are described in the Special Regulations of the Honours and Distinctions of the Municipality of El Escorial, adopted on 5 September 2007 by the Municipal Council and published on 3 December 2007 in the official gazette of the Community of Madrid, No. 288, pp. 77-80 (text). The symbols do not appear to have been approved following the legal procedure.

The flag (photos, photo) is described in Article 3, as follows:

The flag of the Loyal Town of El Escorial is made of the coat of arms described in Title 1, Article 2, centered on a celestial blue field. The flag of the Loyal Town of El Escorial shall be hoisted outside all the municipal buildings, jointly with the flags of Spain, of the Community of Madrid, and of the European Union; it shall also preside in the Council Room and in the Cabinet of the Mayor.

The coat of arms is described in Article 2, as follows:

Since 1815, the coat of arms featured on the front page of the Royal Privilege granted by Ferdinand VII has been considered as the coat of arms of the town and used by the different corporations, until today.
Obverse: The municipality of El Escorial has been bearing since the reign of Ferdinand VII the heraldic drawing that symbolizes the grant of a privilege to the town. The arms are represented in a medallion supported by two lions. In the middle are the arms of Spain surrounded by the writing "Villa Leal del Escurial por Fernando VII". In the upper part, a laurel wreath attached with a scroll, inscribed at the extreme left with "Pos Fata" and at right with "Resurgo", meaning "Resurrected since the events". Above the wreath a bundle of arrows, as a symbol of unity, and beneath the shield between the two lions an eagle with the claws in the soil.
Reverse: Features an oak, as the etymological symbol of the name at the origin of "Escurial", coming from the Latin word esculetum, whose Castilian translation refers to the trees of family Fagaceae, especially the oak and the holly oak, very abundant on the municipal territory of El Escorial.
Ferdinand VII confirmed on 8 August 1815 the privilege granted on 8 April 1565 by Philip II, adding the title of "Leal" (Loyal) to the town. The king rewarded the heroism of the inhabitants of the town, who struggled against the French troops to protect the monastery of San Lorenzo del Escorial, abandoned by the monks. As a retaliation, the French troops burned down the most emblematic buildings of the town.
The official description skips a secondary writing placed around the coat of arms of Spain, reading "FERDIN. VII. D. G. 1815 HISP. ET IND. REX. 4º. Here "4°" refers to the cost of the seal or stamp, a quarter of real.
The lions symbolize the triumph over Napoléon's imperial eagle shot down by the arrows, whose red colour is a symbol of war and fire. The arrows are also the symbol of the unity of a whole nation against the invader. The evergreen laurel wreath is a symbol of heroism, triumph and glory.
The motto recalls the re-emergence of El Escorial after the destruction made by the French invaders.
[Municipal website]

Ivan Sache, 6 July 2015