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Barajas de Melo (Municipality, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain)

Last modified: 2019-10-14 by ivan sache
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Flag of Barajas de Melo - Image by Ivan Sache, 14 June 2019

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Presentation of Barajas de Melo

The municipality of Barajas de Melo (903 inhabitants in 2018; 13,681 ha; municipal website) is located on the border with the Province of Guadalajara, 80 km west of Cuenca and 100 km south of Guadalajara.

Barajas de Melo is of Arab origin, although the meaning of the town's name is disputed. Some refer to bar, "a son", and Axa, a feminine anthroponym, so "Axa's son"; a more probable etymology is related to baratsa, "a struggle", which would refer to the tumultuous confluence of torrents running down to the plain or a disputed area during the Christian reconquest. El Cid and his lieutenant reportedly fought in the area.
There were once three Barajas: Barajs de Suso (Upper Barajas), today the deserted village of San Bartolomé; Bajaras de Yuso (Lower Barajas), now the hamlet of Ventillosa; and Barajas del Medio (Middle Barajas), today's Barajas de Melo, which incorporated the two other Barajas in the 15th century. To prevent confusion with other villages of the same name, Barajas was once known as Barajas de Huete; in conflict with the Council of Huete, the village, however, sought transfer to Tarancón.

Barajas was granted the status of villa in 1553 by Charles V, separating from Huete and being renamed to Barajas del Rey (The King's Barajas). In 1648, the town was granted to Francisco Melo de Portugal y Castro (1597-1651), erected Marquess of Vellisca by Philip IV for his contribution to the suppression of the Catalan uprising, and was renamed to Barajas de Melo. A member of the Royal House of Portugal, Melo was also Viscount of Saceda, Count of Assumar, Marquess of La Laguna and Governor of the Low Countries.

Barajas de Melo is the birth town of the geographer and liberal politician Fermín Caballero (1800-1876). As Notary Mayor of the kingdom, he signed the official acts recognizing that Isabel II was of age, approving the building of the national railway network, and the order of establishment of a map of Spain. He served also as the Mayor of Madrid, pushing the new administrative division of the town and the establishment of a topographic census of the town's population.

Ivan Sache, 14 June 2019

Symbols of Barajas de Melo

The flag of Barajas de Melo (photo) is prescribed by an Order issued on 27 August 1991 by the Government of Castilla-La Mancha and published on 30 August 1991 in the official gazette of Castilla-La Mancha, No. 66, p. 3,085 (text).
The flag is described as follows:

Flag: White panel, rectangular with two green stripes running from the upper angles and merging in the center of the lower edge. Charged in the center with the crowned coat of arms of the municipality.

The Royal Academy of History found "nothing to object" to the proposed flag. The proportions of the flag are variable in the supporting memoir, while the width of the green stripes is not stated, either.
[Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia 189:2, 329. 1982]

The coat of arms of Barajas de Melo is prescribed by Decree No. 134, issued on 18 October 1988 by the Government of Castilla-La Mancha and published on 25 October 1988 in the official gazette of Castilla-La Mancha, No. 43, p. 2,583-2,584 (text).
The coat of arms is described as follows:

Coat of arms: Per pale, 1. Gules a lion rampant or a crescent reverted argent, 2. Gules a double cross argent throughout cantonned by six bezants of the same. A bordure argent. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed.

The Royal Academy of History approved the proposed coat of arms, which features in the first quarter the arms of the Melo lineage, Marquesses of Villesca, and in the second quarter the arms most commonly used in the municipality, among others.
[Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia 186:2, 306. 1989]

The coat of arms in actual use, on the flag included, has the quarters swapped compared with the official description.

Ivan Sache, 14 June 2019