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Villamanín (Municipality, Castile and León, Spain)

Last modified: 2014-02-01 by ivan sache
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Flag of Villamanín, left, as prescribed, right, as used - Images by Antonio Gutiérrez (VexiLeón website), 3 February 2011


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Presentation of Villamanín

The municipality of Villamanín (1,125 inhabitants in 2009; 17,625 ha; municipal website) is located in the north of León Province, 45 km of León. The municipality is made of the villages of Arbós del Puerto, Barrio de la Tercia, Busdongo de Arbós, Camplongo de Arbós, Casares de Arbós, Cubillas de Arbós, Fontún de la Tercia, Golpejar de la Tercia, Millaro de la Tercia, Pendilla de Arbós, Pobladura de la Tercia, Rodiezmo de la Tercia, San Martín de la Tercia, Tonín de Arbós, Velilla de la Tercia, Ventosilla de la Tercia, Viadangos de Arbós, Villamanín de la Tercia (capital) and Villanueva de la Tercia.

Villamanín, as it is today, was split in the Middle Ages among three feudal domains:
- the Arbós del Puerto Council, ruled by the abbot of the collegiate church of Arbós until 1584, when the villagers purchased the domain from King Philip II;
- the Tercia del Camino, a Royal domain managed since 905 by the Brotherhood of Los Argúellos (Arbolio);
- the village of Busdongo, part of the Marquisate of Toral.

The copper mine "Providencia", whose exploitation started in 1916, is the cradle of the villamaninite, (Cu,Ni,Co,Fe)S2, a sulphide found nowhere else in the world. The mine is indeed located in the municipality of Cármenes, but it was named for the railway station from which copper was exported.

Ivan Sache, 3 February 2011


Symbols of Villamanín

The flag of Villamanín (municipal website) is prescribed by a Decree adopted on 28 February 2002 by the Municipal Council, signed on 6 March 2002 by the Mayor, and published on 3 April 2002 in the official gazette of Castile and León, No. 63, p. 4,061 (text).
The flag is described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular flag, of length 3/2 the hoist, divided in five horizontal stripes, the outer stripes crimson red, the middle stripes green and the central stripe blue, all of the same size. The municipal coat of arms shall be placed on the flag, on both sides, centered on the blue and green stripes, of height 2/5 the flag's hoist, and placed at 1/2 the flag's hoist from the hoist.

The flag was unveiled on 28 August 2003. Crimson red is the colour of the ancient Kingdom of León while green is the colour of the pennant of Arbolio. The blue stripe, introduced for differentiation from the flags of the neighboring municipalities of Cármenes and Valdelugueros, recalls the historical relations of Villamanín with the Asturias via the Arbós del Puerto Council, which depended on Oviedo.

The coat of arms of Villamanín, adopted in 1976, is "Gules a collegiate church or masoned sable the nave surmonted with a bull's head or and a bears' head of the same per fess. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed".
The arms, designed by Vicente de Cadenas y Vicent (1915-2005; Chronicler King of Arms of the Kingdom of Spain), show the Arbós collegiate church and the two animals involved in its building - a similar legend is found in several other places. After having killed the bull that pulled the cart laden with the stones used to build the church, the bear was sentenced by the abbot to replace the bull under the yoke. The use of the animals was suggested in the 1970s by Luis Menéndez Pidal, the architect who restored the church; he was told the legend by his uncle Ramón Menéndez Pidal, deceased in 1975 and buried in the church. Accordingly, the arms represent only the former Arbós del Puerto Council, but not the other parts of the municipality of Villamanín.

The flag hoisted in the Council Hall (photo) seems to have the coat of arms centered. The design originally submitted for validation was a swallow-tailed flag (image).

Ivan Sache, 3 February 2011