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Ambite (Municipality, Community of Madrid, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-05-26 by ivan sache
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Flag of Ambite - Image by Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 11 August 2015

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Presentation of Ambite

The municipality of Ambite (607 inhabitants in 2014; 2,600 ha; municipal website) is located in the south-east of the Community of Madrid, on the border with Castilla-La Mancha (Province of Guadalajara), 60 km of Madrid.

Ambite was first documented in 1124 as Ambith, and, subsequently, as Nebit, Ambid and Embit. The village belonged to the Community of the Town and Land of Alcalá de Henares. Ambite was granted the status of villa in 1537, but gained independence from the Archbishop of Toledo only in 1578.
The first lord of Ambite was the Genoan banker Esteban Lomelín. His descendants transferred Ambite in the second half of the 16th century to Alonso de Peralta y Cárdenas, Knight of the Order of St. James.
Made 1st Viscount of Ambite, Peralta belonged to one of the most distinguished Spanish lineages, of old Navarrese origin. A diplomat in the service of King Philip II, Peralta started his career in Naples, being eventually appointed Minister of the State and War Councils in Naples. Back to Spain, he was member of the Council of Indies, and, subsequently, Ambassador in England, where he negotiated the peace signed on 21 May 1655 with Oliver Cromwell. Peralta's descendants were made Marquis of Legarda in 1664.

In the 18th century, Juan de Goyeneche initiated the industrialization of Ambite, establishing mills and forges powered by river Tajuña. Ambite counted four cloth mills and a paper mill. At the end of the 19th century, the railway connecting Madrid and Arganda was built in the valley of Tajuña, allowing the transportation of fruit and vegetables grown in Ambite to the capital. Eventually closed in 1968, the railway was transformed into a greenway.

Ivan Sache, 28 June 2015

Symbols of Ambite

The flag and arms of Ambite are prescribed by a Decree adopted on 17 November 1994 by the Government of the Community of Madrid and published on 17 March 1987 in the official gazette of the Community of Madrid, No. 64, p. 3, and on 13 February 1995 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 37, p. 4,836 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular flag, in proportions 2:3. Blue with a white cross throughout, in width 1/4 of the panel's width.
Coat of arms: Per pale, 1. Azure a Latin cross argent, 2. Vert in base waves argent and azure [Crown not mentioned].

The description of the flag was corrected in a Decree published on 22 June 1995 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 148, pp. 18,876-18,877 (text).
The flag is described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular flag, in proportions 2:3., made of a white cross with green quarters at upper hoist and lower fly and the two other quarters blue.

The Royal Academy of History rejected the proposed arms. The use of the venerated Cross of Ambite and the allusion to river Tajuña and irrigated gardens is relevant. While the heraldic representation of the cross in the 1st quarter is "totally acceptable", this is not the case for the 2nd quarter. The proposed organization of the quarter uses charges theoretically acceptable to heraldry; however, the Academy insists that newly created municipal arms should use a more restricted array of charges, as it was the case in the past centuries. A fess charged with a ribbon or a wavy triangle, recalling Italian compositions, using close colours - blue and green - is therefore not eligible here. The Academy proposed to keep the cross argent on a field azure and to add in base waves argent and azure.
The proposed flag - with the monocoloured, blue field - was validated "without inconvenience" by the Academy.
[Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia, 1994, 191:3, 578]

The Cross of Ambite was erected, according to the legend, by a knight who was miraculously saved during a thunderstorm. Hit by a lightning and about to fall down into the ravine, the knight's horse had one of its feet blocked into a rock, so firmly that the horseshoe engraved the rock. The knight immediately erected a cross made of two wooden branches to reward God for his help. Back to the village, he promised to go to the Holy Land and to bring back a fragment of the Holy Cross, which he did. Since then, the day of the Holy Cross (3 May) has been the village's day.
[Juan Miguel Sánchez,
El Valle del Tajuña (1991)]

The flag in actual use (photos, photo, photo) appears to have the cross wider - 1/3 of the flag's width - than prescribed.

Ivan Sache, 28 June 2015