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El Romeral (Municipality, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain)

Last modified: 2020-03-31 by ivan sache
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Flag of El Romeral - Image by Ivan Sache, 9 September 2019

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Presentation of El Romeral

The municipality of El Romeral (594 inhabitants in 2018 vs. 2,526 in 1916; 7,891 ha) is located 60 km east of Toledo.

El Romeral was already settled in the Age of Bronze, as evidenced by sparse remains excavated in the Montón del Trigo and Los Depósitos de Agua hills. Some authors have alleged that this part of the Province of Toledo was colonized by Jews, who founded the villages of Yope (Yepes), Samaria (La Guardia), Bethelem (Tembleque) and Romelia (El Romeral). There is firmer evidence that El Romeral was crossed by the Roman road connecting Alces to Titulcia.

El Romeral was first mentioned in the charter granted on 1 December 1213 by Rodrigo Jiménez de Rada, Archbishop of Toledo, to La Guardia, as a place to be re-settled. This was part of the big territory fiercely disputed between the Christians and the Moors in the aftermath of the seizure of Toledo on 25 May 1085 by Alfonso VI, which was definitively incorporated to Castile only after the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa (1212). The Bishop's Chronicle highlights the significant contribution of the people from El Romeral to the decisive victory.
The territoral conflict between the Order of Saint John and the Archbishop of Toledo was settled by the Concords signed on 7 July 1228; Lillo, El Romeral and Encos were assigned to the episcopal domain.
The chronicles highlights again the contribution of the knights from El Romeral to the seizure of the Alhmabra of Granada on 2 January 1492, which ended the Muslim presence in Spain. As a reward, Archbishop Pedro González de Mendoza funded the erection of the parish church of El Romeral.
Oran (Algeria) was conquerred in 1509 by an expedition led by Cardinal Cisneros, from Toledo, which included knights from El Romeral, Lillo and La Guardia. During the War of the Commoners, the battle of Las Ataluyas opposed near El Romeral the insurgents led by Antonio de Acuña, Bishop of Zamora, to the Royal troops led by Antonio de Zúñiga, Prior of the Order of Saint John,: none of the two camps could claim the victory, but 57 were killed and buried in the church of El Romeral.

El Romeral was granted on 24 December 1557 by Philip II the title of villa, separating from La Guardia, but remaining under the complete tutorship of the Archbishop of Toledo, who appointed most civil and military officers. Philip II's Relaciones report that in 1576, El Romeral, populated by 380, had no wind mills but a single watermill powered by river Tagus, wheat crops growing on a poor and difficult soil, but neither olive groves nor vineyards. The village maintained 5,500 sheep; its main source of income for the next centuries, the esparto woarkshop, was already active.
La Guardia, El Romeral and Villanueva de Bogas were acquired in 1581 by José Cristóbal Guardiola, who established the domain of Campo Rey, which would exist until 1811.
During the War of the Spanish Succession, El Romeral supported the Bourbon party; as a reward, King Philip V granted in 1717 the title of "faithful and leal" to the town, and, most important, exempted it from the very expensive tax on salt.
The survey ordered in 1752 by the Marquess of La Ensanada reports that El Romeral, then inhabited by 433, had a wind mill and mixed crops of olive and grapevine recently established. The significance of esparto industry was confirmed, as it was in the next survey ordered in 1782 by Cardinal Lorenzana.

The railway station inaugurated on 15 September 1853, which was the first established in the province out of Toledo, did not boost the development of the village as it had been expected; it was indeed named for Tembleque, being located closer to this village than to El Romeral, which had to wait until 1883 to have its own station. Esparto production was significantly boosted.
A project of freshwater supply failed in 1910; El Romeral was in 1980 the biggest of the last three villages in the Province of Toledo not supplied with fresh water and not equipped with a sewage system.
Among the four windmills of El Romero, the Pachuga mill was the last windmill operated in the Province of Toledo until its closure in 1954.
[Sinopsis de El Romeral]

Ivan Sache, 9 September 2019

Symbols of El Romeral

The flag of El Romeral is prescribed by an Order issued on 19 May 2005 by the Government of Castilla-La Mancha and published on 1 June 2005 in the official gazette of Castilla-La Mancha, No. 109, p. 11,236 (text).
The flag is described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular panel, in proportions 2:3, divided into four parts by the diagonals, the upper and the lower parts, white, the hoist part, blue, and the fly part, red.
The Royal Academy of History did not find "any inconvenience" to the validation of the proposed flag.
[Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia. 202:2, 312. 2005]

Ivan Sache, 9 September 2019