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Majorca (Balearic Islands, Spain)

Mallorca, Majorca Island Council, Consejo/Consell Insular de Mallorca

Last modified: 2013-12-02 by peter hans van den muijzenberg
Keywords: balearic islands | majorca | mallorca | consejo insular | consell insular | stripes: 9 | castle (white) | angel (black) | human: winged | unidentified flag | pennant: ogival | book of all kingdoms | stripes: black-green |
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[Majorca (Balearic Islands, Spain)] 2:3
image by Pascal Gross and Antonio Gutiérrez



See also:


Description

According to the Manual del Estado Español (Handbook of the Spanish State, Spanish text only) by Editorial Lama:

  • flag (without date): "está formada por barras rojas horizontales sobre fondo amarillo; a la izquierda, un castillo con cinco torres" i.e. red stripes on a yellow field, at the hoist a white castle with five towers;
  • coat-of-arms (without date): "Cuartelado: en el primero y el tercero, dos rayas rojas sobre fondo amarillo. En el segundo y cuarto, castillo de cinco torres. Timbrado con corona real."

Pascal Vagnat, 16 Jul 1999

I spent some days in Majorca in August 2000. Most flag displays included the flags of Spain, the European Union and the Balearic Islands. Strangely enough, the flag of the Consell Insular de Mallorca (Majorca Island Council) was rarely to be seen. The flag of Majorca is like that of the Balearic Islands but has the canton turned 90º counterclockwise and occupying all of the hoist. Also, a human figure outlined in white is shown standing on the middle tower. Of the few Majorcan flags I could see, most had the hoist-by rectangle occupying 1/3rd of the flag's length, but others appeared to measure 1/4th. Also, the human figure on the tower was sometimes missing.

Santiago Dotor, 05 Sep 2000

The flag is the Aragonese-Catalan flag – nine horizontal stripes yellow and red – with, in the hoist, a white castle rotated 90º counterclockwise on a purple field. On the central tower, a human figure in black. The figure appears to have a nimbus on its head and a lance, which makes me think of St. George. Pascal Gross's image is based on an official handbook of the Govern Balear (autonomous government) which details the community's flag and arms as well as those of the three island councils.

Santiago Dotor, 30 Oct 2000

The figure is an angel. The castle on the flag represents Almudaina Castle, in Palma de Mallorca, the capital city of the Balearic Islands. This was the royal castle of Majorcan kings, and has, in its central tower, the figure of an angel – I do not know why.

Jordi Pérez, 30 Oct 2000


History of the Flag

Visiting Mallorca in May, I have been told by a functionary of the ceremonial department of the municipality, that city and island always have been considered as one entity. Therefore there never had been a special desire of having an own city flag, hence the flag of Palma is the same as that of Mallorca. The current flag was granted in 1311 by King Sancho, according to the Libro de Reales Cédulas 1311 a 1316, fol. 84. The source text is written in Latin, and is reprinted together with a Spanish translation in [pon76]; p.16f:

“We, Sancho, by the grace of God, king of Mallorca, count of Rossellón etc., () condescend to concede to you (remark of translator: the assembled ambassadors), the university, the city and the kingdom of Mallorca a sign to be shown on pennants and other flags; () we concede, according to your desires, a sign, () having our royal blazoning of pallets and at the top a white castle upon a purple field, which has been painted on paper by your ambassadors and has been transmitted to us. Wishing and installing it in order to be your sign and also of the whole kingdom of Mallorca, if you think this being acceptable. Granted in Montpeller a.d. XIX. Kalendis Ianuariis MCCCXII A.D. 1312* (remark of translator: i.e. 14 December 1311)

According to source the castle is the palace of Almudaina in Palma de Mallorca. As pales are mentioned within the source and the castle is denoted as “at the top”, the first flag probably was used like this:

[City / Island of Palma de Mallorca (Mallorca Island, Balearic Islands, Spain)]

[City / Island of Palma de Mallorca (Mallorca Island, Balearic Islands, Spain)]
 
 
images by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 12 Jun 2009

The image is based on that one, depicted in [pon76]; p.9, showing the castle turned 270° clockwise, now being at the hoist side and the pallets have been turned into bars. The castle has seven towers, from left to right; towers #2 and #6 are slightly broader and higher, the central tower being even bigger (Note that the walls of the castle are masoned purple within source, but that is beyond of the capabilities of my software).

Klaus-Michael Schneider, 12 Jun 2009


Flag Variants

[Majorca (Balearic Islands, Spain), variant] 2:3
image by Pascal Gross and Antonio Gutiérrez

On the few Majorcan flags I could see in August 2000, the human figure on the tower was sometimes missing. Most had the rectangle at the hoist occupying 1/3rd of the flag's length, but on others it appeared to measure 1/4th.

Santiago Dotor, 05 Sep 2000

Pascal Gross also made an initial version of the image which lacked the human figure standing on the castle, a very common mistake in actual flags.

Santiago Dotor, 30 Oct 2000

The flag has been kept more or less the same up to now. I found two variants on the island in May 2009:

Variant 1
[City / Island of Palma de Mallorca (Mallorca Island, Balearic Islands, Spain)]
Variant 1 (detail)
[City / Island of Palma de Mallorca (Mallorca Island, Balearic Islands, Spain)]
 
 
images by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 12 Jun 2009

Version 2009: #1 The castle has only five towers of equal height except the central tower and a lower segment is added at each side. The central tower is topped by a nimbed white angel holding a crozier in his left hand and a palm leaf in his right. The purple shade is about 197/132/100 – 156R/48G/165B. It seems this is the version hoisted by the locals. I observed this flag in Palma, in the suburb of Calanova on 26 May 2009.

Variant 2
[City of Palma de Mallorca (Mallorca Island, Balearic Islands, Spain)]
Variant 2 (detail)
[City of Palma de Mallorca (Mallorca Island, Balearic Islands, Spain)]
 
 
images by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 12 Jun 2009

Version 2009 #2: The castle has only five towers of equal height except the central tower. The central tower is topped by a white silhouette of a human figure, either being nimbed or wearing a head and holding something like a walking stick in his left hand and a palm leaf in his right. The purple shade is about: (181/141/77 – 84R/34G/130B. It seems that this is the version hoisted on town halls, council buildings etc. The shade is darker and more blueish. I observed this flag right in the centre of Palma on 30 May 2009. If the castle is Almudaina palace, there should be an angel on the flag; I took a photo of that angel, but he is holding a cross. Of course I don't know whether he was already there in 1311.

Source: [pon76] La bandera de Mallorca – El sello y el estandarte

Klaus-Michael Schneider, 12 Jun 2009

* The comma makes the difference, so the number of year is primer, the Latin source says “Kalendis Ianuariis, anno domini MCCCXII” and not “Kalendis Ianuariis anni domini MCCCXII”. So it is understood that those Kalendis is the 1 January of 1313(!), and then 19 days before is 14 December 1312. This information is confirmed by Gabriel Bibiloni on his website (where there is also a translation of Latin source into Catalan) and also by Benito Pons y Fàbregues on page 17 of his booklet.

Klaus-Michael Schneider, 14 Jun 2009


La Quarterada

['La Quarterada' (Palma de Mallorca, Mallorca Island, Balearic Islands, Spain)]
image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 19 Jun 2009

La Quarterada ("The quarterly-divided one") is a flag derived from the coat of arms of the city of Palma de Mallorca. But the pallets have turned to bars. So we have in the end a “Senyera” forming the 1st and 4th quarter. In the 2nd and 3rd quarter is the silver (white) Almudaina castle in a blue field. Gabriel Bibiloni claims, however, that this flag never had existed and would be a mere invention of Benito Pons y Fabregues.

Source: Gabriel Bibiloni's bibiloni.cat

Similar descriptions of a flag are however given in various medieval maps. Bibiloni has on his page small images out of the following maps:

  1. Carta Nàutica by d'Angeli Dulcert (1339) and (1327/British Library, London)
  2. Catalan Atlas of the World by Cresques Abraham (1375, National Library of France, Paris)
  3. another copy, same era (National Library of Spain, Madrid) Those have two bars instead of four in the 1st and 4th quarter.
  4. Map of the Mediterranean Sea by Macià de Viladesters (1411)
  5. Map of the Mediterranean Sea by Macià de Viladesters (1421) Those have one bar instead of four in the 1st and 4th quarter.

I saw a reprint of the Catalan Atlas in Paris with a tiny image, but back at home I found an image in reasonable size printed in a MERIAN guide. You can never be sure whether flag images given in a portolan belong to real flags; they might be simply images of a coat of arms shaped as a flag. The Catalan Atlas, like most other maps, shows a reverse:

Reverse
['La Quarterada' (Palma de Mallorca, Mallorca Island, Balearic Islands, Spain)]
Obverse (reconstruction)
['La Quarterada' (Palma de Mallorca, Mallorca Island, Balearic Islands, Spain)]
 
 
images by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 12 Jun 2009

This depiction is of a quarterly-divided ogival pennant. The 1st and 4th quarters show two red bars in a golden (yellow) field. The 2nd and 3rd quarter show a three-towered, embattled silver (white) castle in a blue field. (Source: MERIAN, Jahrgang 40 (1987), Heft 2, p.108 (reverse); Primary Source: Cresques Abraham, “Mappa Mundi”, aka “Catalan Atlas of the World”, Palma de Mallorca, 1375)

Bibiloni often disagrees with Pons y Fabregues, so the whole thing is a bit doubtful. While Bibiloni gives sophisticated explications why the proofs given by Pons y Fabregues are insufficient, unfortunately only in Catalá I also can't guarantee the shape of the castle in the 1375 version, so my images are mere blow ups from the source. Also I have not yet counterchecked the booklet of Pons y Fabregues about the Quarterada.

The Catalan Atlas was a donation from king Pedro IV. to his friend king Charles V. of France. The map is surprisingly exact in the description of the Mediterranian Sea but has nothing to do with reality in regions farther away; the Atlas is not simply a collection of maps, but an image of the system of the world, what the ancient Greeks would have called κοσμος ("cosmos"). Some “information” about far regions was taken from the Holy Bible, and some parts were mere fantasies of the producers.

Klaus-Michael Schneider, 19 June 2009

['La Quarterada' (Palma de Mallorca, Mallorca Island, Balearic Islands, Spain)]
['La Quarterada' (Palma de Mallorca, Mallorca Island, Balearic Islands, Spain)]
 
 
images by Tomislav Todorović, 28 Apr 2010
 
 
The quartered flag of Majorca in the Catalan Atlas is another flag drom the same source with the engrailed fly. What looks like the superimposing of two blue cantons with white castles over the Aragonese-Catalan flag, is actually the result of drawing by hand - as can be seen at Gabriel Bibiloni's website (image). the flag is rather asymmetrical, just like many others from the same source, as well as those from other contemporary sources. This must have been expected to happen, considering the then mapmaking techniques, as the map was eventually delivered to the King Pedro IV of Aragon and presented by him to king Charles V of France, regardless of that fact. Another evidence for this is shown in the Gelre Armorial, where the coat of arms of Aragon was reduced to two red pallets on gold field in several cases of marshalling, the device produced being quite symmetrical.

The rendition is derived from the above images by Klaus-Michael Schneider. These are certainly an accurate representation of the flag image from Mr Schneider's source, but I went further in the regularization of the flag representation, because the mapmaker would have certainly drawn a more symmetrical image if he had been able to.

The flag of Majorca shown in the facsimile of Catalan Atlas which is kept in the National Library of Spain, Madrid, differs from the original in reversing gold and red bars [1]. This was not uncommon for the Middle Ages: there are sources [2] which speak of both patterns (red bars on gold field and vice versa) and the reversed pattern - gules four pallets Or - did find its way into the heraldry as the augmentation of at least one Spanish coat of arms [3] and was also used to represent Majorca in the Gelre Armorial (see below). The facsimile of Catalan Atlas which is kept in the British Museum, London also shows the reversed gold and red bars, but blue field of other two cantons was not painted here, so white castle looks just outlined black on white field; this must be the error made during the copying, as it appears in several other flags from the same source [4].

It is difficult to tell whether both images show the obverse or they both show the reverse; with many other flags from the map the mapmaker seems not to have been making the difference between dexter and sinister hoistings (for ex. with England).

 
 
Sources:

  1. Gabriel Bibiloni's website (image)
  2. Enciclopedia universal ilustrada, vol. XXI, España; Madrid: Espasa-Calpe S.A., 1968
  3. Paston-Bedingfeld, Henry; and Gwynn-Jones, Peter: Heraldry (C) 1993 PRC Publishing Ltd, London ISBN 0-86288-279-6
  4. Istorija otkrića i istraživanja, vol. I: Početak istraživanja; Mladinska knjiga, Ljubljana, 1979; (Original title: A History of Discovery and Exploration, vol. I: The Search Begins; (C) 1973 Aldus Books Limited, London)

Tomislav Todorović, 28 Apr 2010


Banner of Arms of Majorca in the Gelre Armorial

['La Quarterada' (Palma de Mallorca, Mallorca Island, Balearic Islands, Spain)]
image by Tomislav Todorović, 28 Apr 2010

The Scottish Genealogy Society website shows the page from the Gelre Armorial concerning Aragon, which contains the banner of arms of Majorca (spelled "Mayurc"): gules four pallets Or. The shield of arms of King of Aragon, on the other hand, shows the opposite pattern: Or four pallets gules. The same is true for five coats of arms of Aragonese princes. Both patterns were obviously in parallel use during the Middle Ages.

Tomislav Todorović, 28 Apr 2010


Majorca (Mayorcas) in the Book of All Kingdoms

[Majorca in the Book of All Kingdoms (Spain, Late 14th Century)]
image by Eugene Ipavec, 08 Apr 2009

The 61st flag mentioned and illustrated in the Book of All Kingdoms [f0fXX] is attributed to Mayorcas, in English Majorca, the largest of the Balears, currently part of Spain, at the time of this source part of independent Aragon (Catalonian Countries). This as depicted in the 2005 Spanish illustrated transcription [f0f05] as a vertically striped flag in the ogival default shape of this source, with six green stripes alternating with six black ones (green at the hoist).

The annonymous author of [f0fXX] tersly describes the flag thusly:

«El rey d'ella á por señales bastones verdes e prietos.»
"And its king has for device green and black bars."

FotW-ws doesn't mention this flag at or under the Balearic Islands. At Jose Barral's blog, a commenter says that the striped green and black are the Burdils family arms and points to here, where can be seen a CoA «Sable three bendlets Azure» (my blazoning, though the latter may be a miscoloring for green) and confirmation that this family was active and powerful in Majorca on the date in question.

António Martins-Tuválkin, 25 Nov 2007


Unknown Mallorca Flag

[Unknown Mallorca Flag (Mallorca Island, Balearic Islands, Spain)]
image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 20 Jun 2009

I saw a photo on the web showing demonstrators in a rally on 31 August 2006, showing posters with the following inscriptions: “No al .cat (word is deleted by red X) en Baleares” and “POR LA LIBERTAD (de Baleares?) Y LA CONVIVENC(i)A” (letters in brackets can't be seen). Above all is a yellow flag divided by three horizontal red stripes. At the hoist is a dark purple (or very dark blue) vertical stripe with the image of Almudaina castle, as given on the official flag of Mallorca. The stripe is joined by another blue stripe, containing three white vertical wavy lines.

I thought the photo has been taken from Bibiloni's pages, but unfortunately I couldn't find it again. Furthermore the context of this photo doesn't match Bibiloni's point of view.

Klaus-Michael Schneider, 20 Jun 2009