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Villamanrique de Tajo (Municipality, Community of Madrid, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-06-04 by ivan sache
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Flag of Villamanrique de Tajo - Image by Ivan Sache, 4 August 2015

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Presentation of Villamanrique de Tajo

The municipality of Villamanrique de Tajo (738 inhabitants in 2014; 2,890 ha; municipal website) is located in the south-west of the Community of Madrid, on the border with Castilla-La Mancha (Province of Toledo), 60 km of Madrid.

Villamanrique originates in the Moorish settlement of Albuher, established on the two banks of river Tagus. The castle of Albuher, part of the defence line set up by the Moorish states, was re-used after the reconquest of the area by King Alfonso VI. It was eventually destroyed in 1478 during the Castilian civil wars.
Disputed by the Moors and the Christians all along the 12th century, Albuher was granted to the Order of St. James, which established there a commandery. In the 14th century, Albuher and the neighbouring villages were deserted, as a consequence of the political unrest and of the rising of the commandery of Viloria. The Order maintained only the chapel of Santa María de Albuher, subsequently transformed into the church of Nuestra Señora de Albuher / Arbuel when Villamanrique was founded in the late 15th - early 16th century.

The name of the town recalls its close connection with the Manrique lineage, several members of which were high-rank officers in the Order of St. James. The name of Villamanrique was probably coined by Pedro Manrique, 2nd Duke of Osorno and Greater Commander of the Order in Castile, who destroyed the castle of Albuher held by his enemy, the Marquis of Villena.
Villamanrique was granted the status of villa in 1573 by Philip II and acquired by Catalina Lasso de Castilla. The Lasso de Castilla were made Counts of Villamanrique by Charles II in 1666. The County was split in the 18th century, the Lasso de Castilla bearing the title of Counts of the Castillo, while the title of Counts of Villamanrique was transferred to the Fernández de Córdoba lineage.
Villamanrique experienced a demographic boom in the second half of the 18th century and the first half of the 19th century, following the establishment of the Royal Salterns of Carcavallana and the incorporation to the municipal territory of Buenamesón, once owned by the Order of St. James. The convent-palace of Buenamesón, erected in the late 16th - early 17th century and revamped in the 18th century, is the main monument of Villamanrique.

Ivan Sache, 4 August 2015

Symbols of Villamanrique de Tajo

The flag of Villamanrique (photos) is divided red-white by a green diagonal stripe running from upper hoist to lower fly, engulfed at both ends by two dragon's heads. A purple lion is placed in lower hoist while a yellow castle with blue ports and windows is placed in upper flay. The flag, which is a banner of the municipal arms, does not appear to have been officially approved.

The coat of arms of Villamanrique is prescribed by a Decree adopted on 22 October 1987 by the Government of the Community of Madrid and published on 18 February 1988 in the official gazette of the Community of Madrid, No. 41, p. 4 (text), and on 12 March 1988 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 62, p. 7,993 (text).
The coat of arms is described as follows:

Coat of arms: A bend vert engulfed by dragons or. Arms of Castile in chief and of León in base. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed.
The castle and the lion shall be compliant in all detail to the definition given to these charges in the Constitutional coat of arms of the State.

Ivan Sache, 4 August 2015