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Villacastín (Municipality, Castilla y León, Spain)

Last modified: 2015-01-17 by ivan sache
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Flag of Villacastín - Image by Antonio Gutiérrez (SEV website), 27 March 2011

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Presentation of Villacastín

The municipality of Villacastín (1,653 inhabitants in 2010; 10,957 ha) is located in the southwest corner the Segovia Province, on the border with Ávila Province, 35 km of Segovia.

Villacastín is said to be named for the Roman general Castin, the alleged founder of a recreation town for his legions; another etymology, popularized on the municipal coat of arms, makes of Villacastín the Castles' Town (Villa de Castillos), but there are no remains of any castle in the town.
Villacastín was granted on 26 March 1627 the title of villa by King Philip IV, with a coat of arms. Accordingly, Villacastín progressively changed of status, "from a village to an organized town". The wealth of the town was increased by its location on the crossroads of a main muleteer's trail (Castile Royal Trail) and of a main transhumance trail (Soria Royal Transhumance Trail), and to its granite quarries, still exploited.

Villacastín is the birth place of Friar Antonio de Villacastín (c. 1512-1603), who directed the building of the El Escorial Royal Monastery; of the conquistador Francisco Martínez de Madrid (1508-?), founder of the town of Caracas (today the capital of Venezuela); and of Father Francisco de Ribera (1537-1591), one of the confessors and biographers of St. Teresa of Jesus.

Ivan Sache, 27 March 2011

Symbols of Villacastín

The flag and arms of Villacastín, designed by the Spanish Vexillological Society, are prescribed by a Decree adopted on 25 November 1997 and 12 March 1999 by the Municipal Council, signed on 3 August 2000 by the Mayor, and published on 19 December 2000 in the official gazette of Castilla y León, No. 243, p. 15,786 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Quartered flag, the first and fourth quarters blue with a yellow old castle with red ports and windows, the second and third quarters red with a yellow modern castle with blue ports and windows.
Coat of arms: Oblong and rounded-off shield with the proportions prescribed in the Appendix of Decree No. 105/1991, Article 11. The first and second quarters azure (blue), the third and fourth quarters gules (red) The shield surmounted with a Royal Spanish crown [Castles not mentioned].

The Royal Academy of History said that the claim that "the proposed coat of arms has been used by the Villacastín Council at least since the 17th century" is not supported by firm evidence. The evidence given is a stone coat of arms engraved on the facade of the Town Hall; however, the arms are surmounted by a helmet, not proper for council's arms, and of unusual design. In the flag, the quarters of the (improper) arms are relocated without any reason (Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia, 2000, 197, 2: 347).

Ivan Sache, 27 March 2011