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Olías del Rey (Municipality, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain)

Last modified: 2020-04-04 by ivan sache
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Flag of Olías del Rey - Image by Ivan Sache, 10 September 2019

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Presentation of Olías del Rey

The municipality of Olías del Rey (7,229 inhabitants in 2015; 3,994 ha; municipal website) is located 10 km north of Toledo.

Olías del Rey is of disputed etymology. Asín Palacios related the name of the town to the Arab world uliyya, "a height", alluding to the topography of the place. Benito Ruano invokes a Latin root, oliva or olea, transformed via Arab or Mozarab, recalling that olive tree cultivation has been the main source of income for the region since the early ages. García Sánchez prefers the first explanation, but recalls that the Arab word uliyya was derived from Latin oliva.
The origin of the second part of the name of the town, "the King's", is more straightforward. This was added at the end of the 18th century when King Philip V granted the status of villa to Olías. Beforehand, the town was known as Olías la Mayor (the Greater), for the sake of differentiation from the neighbouring Olías la Minor (the Lesser), aka Olihuelas, which disappeared long ago.

Olías is one of the most frequently mentioned place in the Mozarab documents of Toledo. First documented in 1146, Olías was explicitely listed in 1169 as an Arab settlement with a mosque, part of which is still visible in the facade of the St. Peter Apostle church.
Following the Christian reconquest of Toledo in 1085, Olías was resettled by Mozarab knights from Toledo and Christians. Olías was listed as a hamlet depending on La Sagra in a document dated 1146.
Olías gained in significance when the Royal Court settled in Toledo; several nobles had a residence in Olías. The privileges granted in 1458 by Henry IV and the location of the town on the Royal Road to Toledo boosted the development of Olías, which was a convenient, ultimate place of rest for travellers heading to Toledo. Philip the Handsome and his wife Joanna overnighted there in 1502. During the War of the Comuneros, Garcilaso de la Vega was severely injured during the battle fought nearby. During its transfer to Toledo in 1565, the body of St. Eugenius was placed in the church of Olías; the escort was composed of King Philip II, of his son, Prince Charles, and of the two sons of Maximilian II, Princes Rudolf and Albert.

The wedding of Infante Louis Anthony of Bourbon Farnese with María Teresa de Vallabriga was celebrated on 27 June 1776 in the palace of the Dukes of Alba, today the Town Hall of Olías del Rey.
During the Civil War, the town, supporting the Republican party, was renamed Olías del Teniente Castillo.

Ivan Sache, 10 September 2019

Symbols of Olías del Rey

The flag of Olías del Rey is prescribed by an Order issued on 12 August 2015 by the Government of Castilla-La Mancha and published on 21 August 2015 in the official gazette of Castilla-La Mancha, No. 164, p. 24,138 (text).
The flag is described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular in proportions 2:3. Grafted in base, the upper part, purple, and the lower part, yellow. In the center, the municipal coat of arms.

The memoir supporting the proposed flag was redacted by José-Domingo Vales Vía. The triangle repesents the etymology of Olías, "a height". Its upper vertex matches the geometrical center of the flag.
Purple is the color of the famous plums of Olías. Jiménez de Gregorio writes that "the land is dedicated to grain, grapevine and fruit, mostly plums." In his Descripciones, Cardinal Lorenzana writes: "The most singular fruit in this village are plums, which are produced in exorbitant quantities since the village is surrounded by beautiful trees of that species."
Reseda yellow (yellow looking like gold or) is the color of the wide and fertile valley that surroundes the village; this allegoric chromatism represents a land rich in wheat and other grain crops.
The width of the coat of arms shall be 1/3 of the flag's width.
[Municipal website]

The coat of arms of Olías del Rey is prescribed by a Resolution adopted on 28 December 1982 by the Government of Castilla-La Mancha.
The coat of arms is described as follows:

Coat of arms: Azure a fess argent surrounded in chief by the anagram "F V" argent surmounted by a Royal crown closed or in base by a crescent reverted argent. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed.

The arms, designed by José Luis Ruz Márquez and Ventura Leblic García, were originally approved in 1981 by the Municipal Council.
[José Luis Ruz Márquez & Ventura Leblic García. Heraldica municipal de la Provincia de Toledo. 1983; Municipal website]

The Royal Academy of History validated the proposed coat of arms. The cypher "F V" recalls that the town was granted the status of villa by Philip V. The fess argent represents the Royal Road to Toledo, and the crescent stands for the Muslim past of the town. The field azure represents the water resources of the municipality.
[Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia 1983. 180:2, 414-415]

Ivan Sache, 10 September 2019