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Galapagar (Municipality, Community of Madrid, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-05-18 by ivan sache
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Flag of Galapagar - Image by Ivan Sache, 8 July 2015

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Presentation of Galapagar

The municipality of Galapagar (32,380 inhabitants in 2014; 6,500 ha; municipal website) is located in the north-west of the Community of Madrid, 35 km of Madrid and 15 km of San Lorenzo de El Escorial. Galapagar experienced a demographic boom in the last decades of the 20th century, its population increasing from 6,090 in 1981 to 19,295 in 2001.

Galapagar is named for a colony of terrapins (galápagos) living in a small lake near which the village was established. Galapagar was located near a Roman road, whose remains have been dated to the 3rd century, and near the Alcanzorla bridge.
After the Christian reconquest, Galapagar was incorporated to the Community of the Town and Land of Segovia, and, subsequently, to the Real de Manzanares. Alfonso XI's Libro de la Montería (14th century) describes the pastures of Galapagar as a place of Royal hunting.
Galapagar was granted the status of villa on 24 December 1523. Philip II built in the town a palace named Casa Velata, where he used to spend the night when heading to the building site of the monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial. Infante Carlos Lorenzo (1573-1575) was born in the palace.

Galapagar is a stronghold of bull-fighting. The title of "Preferred Son" of Galapagar was awarded to the cattle-breeder Victorino Martín Andrés (b. 1929; website). Victorino and his brothers purchased in 1960-1965 from the Escudero Calvo brothers a famous bull farm once owned by the Marquis of Albaserrada. His bulls (victorinos) fought for the first time under his name on 29 June 1967 in Castro Urdiales (Cantabria). On 18 May 1970, the torero Francisco Ruiz Miguel fought for the first time Victorino's bulls in Vic-Fezensac (France). The bull farm peaked in 1982, with more than 60 bulls, some of them fighting during the so-called Corrida of the Century, held on 1 June 1982 in Madrid and broadcasted live by the national TV channel TVE. In the late 1980s, Victorino's bulls were banned from Spain upon pressure of his competitors; after a legendary corrida held in Nîmes (France) on 31 May 1990, once again broadcasted by TVE, Victorino Martín returned to Spain. On 11 April 1996, he was eventually invited to the Real Maestranza corrida in Seville.
The second "Preferred Son" of Galapagar is the torero José Tomás Román Martín (b. 1975), Victorino Martín's grand nephew. José Tomás is famous for his hieratic attitude and his reluctance against media, refusing TV interviews and broadcasting of his performances, which he restricts to 20 per year. On 16 September 2012, he fought six bulls in Nîmes in a corrida deemed "legendary" by aficionados.

Galapagar awarded the title of "Adoptive Son" to celebrities who lived in the town: the playwright Jacinto Benavente y Martínez (1866-1954), awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1922 and also Adoptive Son of New York; the poet and novelist Ricardo León y Román (1877-1943; elected in 1912 at the Royal Spanish Academy); the painter, engraver and sculptor Pablo Palazuelo de la Peña (1915-2007), a key figure of Spanish art in the second half of the 20th century, inspired by Klee and Kandinsky.

Ivan Sache, 8 July 2015

Symbols of Galapagar

The flag of Galapagar is described in Article 13 of the Special Regulations of the Protocol of the Municipality of Galapagar, prescribed by Decree No. 824, signed on 20 March 2014 by the Mayor and published on 7 April 2014 in the official gazette of the Community of Madrid, No. 82, pp. 245-254 (text).

The flag of Galapagar is green, with a diagonal stripe crossing it from the upper left to the lower right corner, white outlined in golden yellow. Optionally, the coat of arms can be placed in the center of the white stripe. The flag is in length 3/2 of its width and bears in the center the municipal coat of arms, in width 2/5 of the flag's width.

The adoption of the flag was announced on 10 December 2013 on the municipal website. The new design was approved on 22 November 2013 by the Municipal Council - all groups voted for the project, excepted IU that abstained.
Since the town lacked a proper traditional colour, green was selected as the main colour of the coat of arms. Since there is no historical record of a local flag, the Royal Academy of History recommended to design the flag "freely".
The process of official approval of the flag is outlined in the press release, but it does not appear to have been completed yet.
[Press release, 10 December 2013]


Flag of Galapagar - Image by Ivan Sache, 8 July 2015

Until now, Galapagar used a "placeholder" flag (photos, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo), white with the municipal coat of arms in the center, which was never officially approved.

The coat of arms of Galapagar is prescribed by Royal Decree No. 579, adopted on 2 March 1978 and published on 28 March 1978 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 74, p. 7,083 (text).
The coat of arms is described as follows:

Coat of arms: Vert a semy of terrapins or. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed.

Ivan Sache, 8 July 2015