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Madrid Community (Spain)

Madrid Autonomous Community, Comunidad Autónoma de Madrid

Last modified: 2005-03-05 by santiago dotor
Keywords: spain | madrid | comunidad autónoma de madrid | comunidad de madrid | cam | stars: 7 (white) | law | construction sheet | coat of arms |
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[Madrid Autonomous Community (Spain)] 7:11
by Santiago Dotor

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This is the flag of the Autonomous Community of Madrid, which was created when the province of Madrid became an autonomous community within Spain's new administrative division.

Jordi Pérez, 19 November 1997

Browsing the official website of the Comunidad Autónoma de Madrid (an autonomous region which embraces the Madrid province alone - autonomous with respect to the national government which has its seat in Madrid... - weird, isn't it?) I have found the official descriptions for the flag and coat-of-arms and explanations of their symbolism. Even though I assume the coat-of-arms description is taken from an official document, the blazon used is terrible (eg. it speaks about the coat-of-arms consisting of "a single quarter"). I have tried to translate and simplify the description at the same time:

The flag of the Comunidad Autónoma de Madrid (CAM) is crimson red, with seven five-pointed silver stars, placed four and three in the centre of the field. The red colour stands for Castile and the seven stars stand for the Ursa Minor or Plough constellation [see below for an explanation].

The coat-of-arms of the Comunidad Autónoma de Madrid (CAM) is gules, two castles in fess embattled with turrets and keep or, gate and windows azure, masoned sable, in the chief seven stars placed four and three argent; crest: a royal crown [follows a long, precise blazon of the Spanish royal crown].

[Note: in Spanish heraldry, donjonado describes a castle with turrets, having one of them higher than the rest (supposed to be the keep), whereas in French heraldry, donjoneé simply means with turrets; I believe the term does not exist in English heraldry.]

Red is the colour of the Castilian arms. The seven stars come from the coat-of-arms of Madrid [city], but instead of six they have only five points, to represent the five provinces bordering the CAM. The two castles represent the two Castiles (Castile and Leon and Castile-La Mancha) with which the CAM has traditional links. Tradition gives two origins for the seven stars:
  • (a) they stand close to the bear in the Madrid coat-of-arms to represent the seven stars of the Plough constellation which stand close to the Ursa Maior (great bear) constellation
  • (b) Madrid was the first town in the Muslim Kingdom of Toledo conquered by Alphonse VI and as seat of the alcazar (castle) and of royalty was to be the seat of government, whereas the seven stars in the Plough represent the North and hence the government of the heavenly bodies.

Santiago Dotor, 21 October 1998

The GIF of the "Comunidad Autónoma de Madrid" flag was built according to the official description which Pascal Vagnat sent (see below). See how different it is to the (only) one depicted in the official CAM website.

Santiago Dotor, 20 November 1998

Specifications and Construction Sheet

[Autonomous Community of Madrid (Spain), construction sheet] 7:11
by Santiago Dotor

I have a photocopy of the Boletín Oficial del Estado of 19th May 1984 (Num. 120), containing the Decree 19th January 1984 of the Consejo de Gobierno de la Comunidad de Madrid, which elaborates on the Flag, Coat-of-Arms and Anthem Law of 23rd December 1983. In it there is a picture of the flag with specifications (no figures however). The picture shows a flag made with 14 x 22 squares; which means the flag has as proportions 7:11. Each star is inscribed in an imaginary circle whose diameter is equal to the length of 3,5 squares. The top ray of the first star is at 4 squares from the top of the flag and 5 squares from the left of the flag, the second 4 and 9, the third 4 and 13, the fourth 4 and 17. The bottom left ray of the fifth star is at 10 and 6 squares, the sixth 10 and 10, the seventh 10 and 14. The colours of the flag are:

CIELAB system
Color     Denominacion    Tono    Croma   Claridad
Gules     Rojo carmesi    35,0    70,0    37,0
Plata     Plata           255,0   3,0     78,0

Denominacion color      Y       x       y
Rojo bandera            9,5     0,164   0,320
Plata bandera           53,2    0,303   0,311

Pascal Vagnat, November 1998

Antonio Gutiérrez recently showed me a 1984 issue of Banderas with the Law —including the said picture—, where it is clear that the bottom stars are not placed according to their "bottom left rays", instead the middle star is centered and the other two are four squares distant each.

Santiago Dotor, 21 July 1999

Antonio Gutiérrez wrote me about the changes in the description of the flag which were introduced by the 1998 reform of the Estatuto de Autonomía or Autonomy Act (Organic Law 5/1998, of 7th July, published in the BOE of July 8th), leaving it thus:

Artículo 4º. 1. La bandera de la Comunidad de Madrid es roja carmesí, con siete estrellas en blanco, de cinco puntas, colocadas cuatro y tres en el centro del lienzo.
That is, "Article 4. 1. The flag of the Madrid Community is crimson red, with seven white, five-pointed stars placed four and three in the middle." Antonio Gutiérrez pointed out that the stars are now described as white instead of silver (Argent) which was used in the 1984 Law. He argues that, since the Estatuto is a higher-ranking law, this suggests that those articles which referred the flag, and the technical colour data, in the 1984 Law, have been abolished.

Santiago Dotor, 23 September 1999

Former Flag of Madrid Province

[Coat-of-arms (Madrid Province, Spain)]
(Click on image to see full size detail)
from newspaper ABC December 5th 1983

Pascal Vagnat asked, "I would like to know if the former province of Madrid had its own flag and coat of arms, and if yes when these were adopted / granted". Yes, it had a green flag with the coat-of-arms in the middle. This was the flag used by the former Diputación Provincial [provincial council] (administrative body that dissappeared [in the 1980s] in Autonomous Communities that comprise only one province). When the Autonomous Community of Madrid was formed, the Diputación Provincial and its flag ceased to exist, and this was replaced by the new flag (red with seven white stars). I'll check my sources and I'll try to make a drawing of the former flag and coat-of-arms. Note that although the administrative body is now the Autonomous Community, the province of Madrid still exists.

Antonio Gutiérrez, 18 November 1999

Newspaper ABC of December 5th 1983, published an article on page 31 about the former coats-of-arms of the Diputación Provincial de Madrid (provincial council), quoting a book by Federico Carlos Sainz de Robles, Crónica y guía de la provincia de Madrid (sin Madrid), published in 1966. The first version was granted in 1872, and consisted of a escutcheon divided into eight 'quarterings' with the arms of the eight partidos judiciales (judicial districts) plus a central inescutcheon for Madrid city:

  1. Alcalá de Henares (a triple-towered castle over waves)
  2. Navalcarnero (an aqueduct)
  3. San Lorenzo de El Escorial (grill and palm branch)
  4. Colmenar Viejo (arms of the Santillana family)
  5. Chinchón
  6. San Martín de Valdeiglesias (Saint Martin cutting and sharing his cloak)
  7. Getafe (the world and the words "En España, Xetafe" [sic, an old Spanish spelling for g/j])
  8. Torrelaguna (a castle over waves)
  9. (inescutcheon) Madrid 'modern' [with dragon in the first quarter and wreath in base]
Madrid's provincial division was later rearranged into only five judicial districts, and a new coat-of-arms was considered, with five quarterings and a central inescutcheon standing for:
  1. Alcalá de Henares (a triple-towered castle over waves)
  2. Navalcarnero (an aqueduct)
  3. San Lorenzo de El Escorial (per pale a grill and per fess Austria and France modern)
  4. Colmenar Viejo (arms of the Santillana-Vega-Luna family)
  5. Aranjuez (a palace over waves)
  6. (inescutcheon) Madrid 'ancient'
This latter coat-of-arms was illustrated beside the article and I am attaching a scan of it. I am sending a scan of the whole article to Pascal Vagnat.

Santiago Dotor, 22 November 1999