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Historical Flags (Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2013-11-17 by eugene ipavec
Keywords: spain | andalusia | historical | sun | triangle: hoist (red) |
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Introduction

The first flags proposed for Andalucía, intended to include Murcia and Badajoz, were designed at the Antequera Congress 27-29 October 1883. About 1900 a Federalist revolution in Casares flew a green over white flag. At the 1918 Ronda Federalist Assembly three proposals were suggested:

  1. the most used flag, but changing the order of the stripes: horizontal black-red-green-white
  2. horizontal black-green-white
  3. horizontal green-white-green (white for the Umayid and green for the Guadiana and Guadalquivir rivers). The designer was Blas Infante.
The current design was made official by Organic Law 6/81 of 30th December 1981, published in the Boletín Oficial del Estado 9th January 1982.

Jaume Ollé, 07 Jan 1999

Though the current Andalusian flag was first established by the nationalist movement in 1918, the use of green and white in flags can be traced in Andalusia back to the Middle Ages. In the battle of Alarcos (1195), marking the highest point of the Almohad power, the Andalusian volunteers fought under a green banner, and to celebrate their victory this banner was hoisted together with the Almohads' white one atop Seville's main minaret. This is the first time we have an account of green and white waving together – though on different cloths – in Andalusia. There is also a Muslim legend saying that a holy man preaching in the villages of the Atlas Mountains had a vision of an angel showing to him an empire united on both sides of the Straits of Gibraltar, with the green paradise of Al-Andalus and the white Maghreb of the Almohads.

The last Muslim kingdom of Andalusia, that of Granada, is the only one that can be identified with a specifical flag or banner, being red. Nevertheless, it is to be noted that most of the banners taken by the Castilians from the Granadians in 1483 bore the withe and green colors.

With the launching of the American enterprise, where the Andalusians played an essential role, green and white striped flags began to be frequently seen on ships, as in those shown in the painting Virgen de los Navegantes (Virgin of the Sailors), by Alejo Fernández, preserved in Seville's Alcazar.

In 1521, the people of Seville, rioting against food shortage, marched behind a green banner taken from the Moors by Alfonso X, an episode known as "The Green Banner Riot."

And just the first and only serious attempt of making Andalusia a political entity separate from the Kingdom of Spain was led under a green and white flag. It was the rebellion of the Duke of Medina Sidonia, who in 1642 tried to create an independent Andalusian kingdom, with himself as king. A flag vertically divided green and white would be the common sign of his alliance with the Moriscos (Muslim converts) led by Al Hörr, who should rise up in Eastern Andalusia.

After these events, and probably because of them, there is no further evidence of the use of those colors as representatives of Andalusia. Nevertheless, some reminiscences should remain in the people's memory to make possible their return three centuries later. The physical disappearance of the Arab-Muslim population by means of their expulsion, or the melting of the cultural identity of those who remained when they became fully integrated in the bulk of the population, gave step to the myth of the identification between the Arabian or Moorish culture and the Andalusian culture.

And probably the memory of green and white flags, often with a rebellious meaning, had something to do with that fact. Blas Infante, the founder of the Andalusian nationalism, wrote that the idea of the Andalusian flag was suggested by a demonstration of protest by the women of Casares (Málaga province), his home town, bearing a horizontally divided green and white flag, and precisely Casares is located in an area of strong Morisco tradition.

But it is in the second half of the 19th Century when the idea of Andalusia as a region with its own identity and the aspiration to self-government are explicitly claimed, in the framework of federalist-minded movements and the rise of regionalisms and nationalisms all over Spain. In those first times there is not yet a clear conscience of Andalusia, swinging from expansionist proposals, seeking to include Murcia or Badajoz, to other disintegrationist ideas, proposing separate entities for Eastern and Western, or Higher and Lower, or Baetic and Penibaetic Andalusia.

In 1869 takes place in Córdoba one of the so-called federal pacts, also held simultaneously in other regions; as a sign of what was said above, it is attended by representatives from Murcia and Badajoz, areas where the regional consciousness is weaker and therefore their inhabitants consider themselves as Andalusians, an idea that will last until late the 20th Century. The ideas raised in this first meeting will materialize in 1883 in the First Charter of the Andalusian Country, proposing a Federation of Andalusian Republics, under this or another name. The deep anarcho-sindicalist influence resulted in the wide use of red and black in the flag proposals for this hypothetical entity, though always together with white and green, that stood out as undisputed Andalusian colors.

This way, one proposal consisted in four horizontal stripes: black, red, white and green, other had three horizontal stripes, black, white and green, and a third one would be red, white and green.

Finally, in 1918 is held in Ronda (Málaga province) the Andalucist Assembly, where it is proclaimed that the flag of Andalusia will consist on three horizontal stripes of equal width, green, white and green. Blas Infante justified the election of these colors as corresponding, the green, to the Caliphate of Cordoba – which, from the historical point of view, is rather arguable, since the color traditionally related to this dynasty is white – and the white, to the Almohad Empire, considering that these were the two periods when a political power centered in Andalusia reached the highest glory. According to this idea, the specific shade of green, rather dark, was called Umayyad green, and this denomination has been officially recognized by the Andalusian Autonomous Government. Together with this historical meaning would co-exist a symbolical meaning, identifying green with hope and white with peace, as expressed by the regional anthem:

"The green and white flag
returns after centuries of war
to say peace and hope
under the sun of our land."
Source: my own article in a local magazine of Alcalá de Guadaira (Seville province), my home town.

José Manuel Erbez, 19 May 2000


Flag Proposal of the 1642 Revolt

[Flag Proposal 1642 (Andalusia, Spain), second]
image by António Martins

The first and only serious attempt of making Andalusia a political entity separate from the Kingdom of Spain was led under a green and white flag. It was the rebellion of the Duke of Medina Sidonia, who in 1642 tried to create an independent Andalusian kingdom, with himself as king. A flag vertically divided green and white would be the common sign of his alliance with the Moriscos (Muslim converts) led by Al Hörr, who should rise up in Eastern Andalusia.

José Manuel Erbez, 19 May 2000


Flag Proposals at the Antequera Congress 1883

[Flag Proposal 1883 (Andalusia, Spain), first]
image by Jorge Candeias

[Flag Proposal 1883 (Andalusia, Spain), second]
image by António Martins

[Flag Proposal 1883 (Andalusia, Spain), third]
image by António Martins

The first flags proposed for Andalusia – intended to include Murcia and Badajoz – were designed at the Antequera Congress 27-29 October 1883:

  1. four horizontal stripes of black (for Sierra Morena mountains), red (federalist colour), white (Sierra Nevada) and green (Guadalquivir river)
  2. another proposal was the same but without the red (that is, the current Extremadura flag upside down)
  3. a third proposal was red-white-green (red federalist, white Umayid, green river).
The first proposal was the most used one.

Jaume Ollé, 07 Jan 1999

I wonder if there is any relation between the third proposal and the Cáceres Separatist Flag referred to by Jaume Ollé some time ago?

António Martins, 23 May 2000


Eastern Andalusia Proposal 1976-1977

[Eastern Andalusia proposal, 1976-77 (Spain)]
image by Eugene Ipavec, xx Apr 2010

Autonomy for Eastern Andalusia was proposed in 1976-77. A flag for the territory was designed but never used officially. In 1977 all of Andalusia obtained a status of pre-autonomy.

Jaume Ollé, 15 Dec 1996