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Torrijos (Municipality, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain)

Last modified: 2020-04-05 by ivan sache
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Flag of Torrijos - Images by Ivan Sache, 13 September 2019

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Presentation of Torrijos

The municipality of Torrijos (13,268 inhabitants in 2018; 1,734 ha; municipal website) is located 30 km north-west of Toledo.

Torrijos was established by the Romans, maybe on an old Celtiberian site, as evidenced by remains of an aqueduct and of a road, a necropolis and coins. The local toponyms indicate probable Visigoth and Muslim settlements.
Reconquered in spring 1085 by Alfonso VI, the area was re-settled by Mozarabs from Toledo. Torrijos was granted in 1214 by Alfonso VIII to Rodrigo Jiménez de Rada, Archbishop of Toledo, as a reward for his decisive contribution to the victory of Las Navas de Tolosa.; the bishop subsequently transferred the domain to the chapter of the cathedral of Toledo.
To commemorate the victorious battle of Salado (1340), Alfonso XI erected a fortified palace in Torrijos. Peter I celebrated in the palace the birth of his daughter Beatrix, born from his favorite, María de Padilla. John II often stayed in Peter I's palace, being supported by the inhabitants of Torrijos in his struggle against the nobility and the town of Toledo. Torrijos was rewarded for its loyalty by the exemption of tax and the authorization of a weekly market.
Until the 19th century, the town was surrounded by a wall erected in the 15th century and could be acceeded only by four gates.

On 11 January 1482, Gutierre de Cárdenas (d. 1503), Commander of León for the Order of Saint James and Ministry of the Finance of the Catholic Monarchs, purchased Torrijos; granted the status of villa, Torrijos was incorporated unto the domain of Maqueda. Gutierre and his wife, Teresa Enríquez (d. 1529), funded the erection of several monuments, such as the Santa María de Jesús Franciscan convent, the Consolación and Santísima Trinidad hospices, and the palace of the Dukes of Maqueda. Torrijos' landmark is the collegiate church of Corpus Christi, built by Teresa Enríquez from 1509 to 1518. The best artists of the time worked there, including Enrique (c. 1455-1534) and Antón Egas (c. 1475-1531), who taught a young sculptor and architect born in the town, Alonso de Covarrubias (1488-1570), subsequently considered as one of the masters of the First Spanish Renaissance. Designed in late Gothic - Renaissance style, the church is decorated with several artworks, including the main altarpiece made of 12 panels designed in Mannerist style by Juan Correa de Vivar (c. 1510-1566), and paintings from the 16th to the 18th century. The barocco organ built in 1703 by José Martínez Colmenero is the oldest in Castilla-La Mancha. Churchware was produced by silversmiths from Torrijos, such as Lordanus and Alonso de la Cruz (15th century), Vicente Fernández Medina (17th century) and his son, José Fernández Medina (early 17th century), and from other parts of Spain, such as Alonso Díaz, from Burgos (16th century), Juan de Orea, from Madrid (17th century), and Juan Antonio Domínguez, from Toledo (early 18th century).
Four ceiling panelling from the palace of the Dukes of Maqueda are shown in the National Archeological Museum in Madrid.

Ivan Sache, 13 September 2019

Symbols of Torrijos

The flag of Torrijos (photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo) is prescribed by an Order issued on 16 December 2004 by the Government of Castilla-La Mancha and published on 30 December 2004 in the official gazette of Castilla-La Mancha, No. 247, p. 22,249 (text).
The flag is described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular, divided per bend by a white fimbriation into two triangular fields, the upper, olive green, and the lower, at hoist, crimson red. In the center the most representative part of the coat of arms of the town, a tower proper masoned vert on a base of the same surrounded by two olive trees vert fimbriated in black (sable).

The flag also exists in a more elongated version with a thinner white stripe (photo, photo).

The flag, designed by Julio Longobardo Carrillo, Adolfo Delgado Agudo, José Luis Almoguera Cabrera, Javier Buitrago Maselli, Justiniano de la Peña Carbonero and D. Fernando Alcántara García, members of the Asociación de Amigos de la Colegiata de Torrijos, was initially adopted on 14 January 2002 by the Municipal Council.
The olive green color of the upper quarter is a reference to olive, which has been with grapevine the main crop in Torrijos since the early Castilian reconquest. This is reflected in street and square names alluding to the main products of olive, oil and soap. The town was once known as Torrijos de los Olivares, and once had a hamlet named Valdeoli. Olive is the basic oclors of the municipal arms (see below), which features a tower surrounded by two olive trees.
The white color of the diagonal stripe dividing the flag is a reference to nobility, recalling that Torrijos was acquired in 1482, together with Alcabón, by Gutierre de Cárdenas. The town was subsequently the capital of the Duchy of Maqueda and the residence of the dukes.
White is also the color of the field of the municipal coat of arms.

The crimson red color of the lower field, as the field gules on the arms of Castile, recalls that Torrijos was incorporated to the crown of Castile as soon as reconquerred, and was used as their residence by kings Peter I, John I and John II.
Peter I (1350-1369) stopped at Torrijos in 1353 on his way to Valladolid, where he would marry Blanche of Bourbon (1339-1361); his daguther Beatrice, born from his favorite, Maria de Padilla (1334-1361), was christened in Torrijos the next year. In 1355, he visited again Torrijos, when neading to Toledo that had been seized by his rival and brother Henry, subsequently Henry II (1367-1379), and Fadrique (1333-1358), Henry's twin brother.
John I (1379-1390), Henry II's son and successor, stayed in Torrijos in 1383 and 1382. He was announced the death of his father-in-law, King Ferdinand I of Portugal (1345-1383), which prompted him to claim his succession. Juan invaded Portugal but had to withdraw his claims after the defeat of Aljubarrota (August 1385). In 1384, John I established in Torrijos the Royal Chancellory and the Council of Castile, composed of Pedro Tenorio, Archbishop of Toledo, of the Marquess of Villena and of Pedro Gonzáles de Mendoza. John I subsequently sold the town to the Archbihsop for 500 Aragonese guilders.
John II (1406-1454), John I's grandson, stayed in 1441 in Torrijos when campaigning against Infante Henry of Navarre and the Infantes of Aragón, who hold Toledo.
White and crimson red are also the colors of the flag of Castilla-La Mancha.
[Municipal website]

The coat of arms of Torrijos, "of immemorial use", is based on the mutlicolored ceramic shield applied to the Town Hall erected in 1957, as "Argent a tower proper masoned vert on a base of the same surmounted by a royal crown closed and surrounded by two olive trees vert. The shield surmounted by a ducal coronet."
These arms, also represented in the Meeting Hall of the Provincial Council of Toledo, but without the crown, symbolize a fortified town and olive cultivation, once so significant that the town was known as Torrijos de los Olivares (The Olive Trees' Torrijos).
The oldest known representation of these arms is featured on the pillar of the Caña Vieja fountain, which was built in 1698; oddly enough, the arms are "split" into two parts, featuring on one side the tower and the other side the olive trees; the escutcheons of the Cárdenas and Enríquez surmounting the tower were unfortunately hammered in 1837, after a Decree that prescribed the indiscriminate suppression of the feudal symbols.
In 1787, the arms were reported to feature "olive trees, since the town is called Torrijos de los Oli ares"; there was also mention of a castle "whose only standing part is used as a bell tower", which overlooked "the parish's mayor church", dedicated to St. Giles and disappeared long ago. This might have been the origin of the tower on the arms as the most salient elemnt of the former fortications that surrounded the town, then acceeded by three gates. Oddly enough, the gates bore shields with "a lion, fesses and stars" that have nothing to do either with the proper arm of the towns or the arms of its lords.
At least since 1877, the shield was used with a plain field and a crown surmounting the tower; in compliance with the norms of heraldry, the crown should not be placed there. Another variation appeared in a book on Torrijos published in Argentina, showing the arms with the olive trees in chief over a castle, the whole represented with excessive realism.
[José Luis Ruz Márquez & Ventura Leblic García. Heraldica municipal de la Provincia de Toledo. 1983]

Ivan Sache, 13 September 2019