Last modified: 2010-03-20 by eugene ipavec
Keywords: spain | andalusia | jaen | bailén | municipality | stripes: 7 (vertical) | stripes: 7 (yellow-grey) | eagle: dead | jug | water jug | swords: 2 (ceossed) | crown: mural |
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image by Ivan Sache after the image at cronistadebailen.es, 03 Aug 2009
The municipality of Bailén (18,798 inhabitants in 2008; 11,760 ha) is located 40 km north of Jaén.
The oldest known name of Bailén is Baritto, a name of Turdetani (Iberic) origin seeminglty reused by the Phoenicians. Known by the Greeks as Balkol or Besur, the town got the Roman names of Baecula Caecilia / Baecula Betica. These early colonists were mostly interested in the local resources in lead, gold, silver and copper. In 237 BC, the Carthaginian general Hamilcar Barca invaded the south of Spain; in 209 , during the Second Punic war, Scipio Africanus defeated Hasdrubal Barca, Hannibal's brother, in the Battle of Baecula. This event confirmed the strategic skills of Scipio, as reported by Polybius and Livy; it was the start of the Carthaginian decline and of the Roman colonization of Hispania, with the set up of the colony of Italica. Baécula was subsequently involved in the Roman Civil Wars. In 80 BC, Consul Metelius, Governor of Hispania Baetica, defeated there the Herculeius brothers, who supported Sertorius. Julius Caesar spent in the town the night preceding the Battle of Munda (45 BC), during which he defeated Pompey's sons.
Little is known for sure of Bailén, then a small village, during the Middle Ages. There is a reference to a mosque built in 860-880 by Abd al-Rahman I on the remains of a Wisigothic monastery, itself founded in 691 by Abbot Locuber. The only written reference available states that King Alfonso VII granted in 1155 the castles of Baños, Segral and Bailén to his vassal Abdelaziz. Owned since 1227 by the Kings of Castile, the "villa" of Bailén was ruled by the parishes of Baeza, until purchased from King Alfonso XI in 1349, together with its castle, by Pedro Ponce de León, lord of Marchena. His descendants progressively increased their power until eventually created Counts of Arcos by King Juan II in 1440.
On 19 July 1808, the Battle of Bailén opposed Napoléon's troops commanded by General Dupont to the Spanish troops commanded by General Castaños. The French defeat was the first experienced by Napoléon's army on a battlefield. The myth of the invincible Grande Armée broke down and the winners proclaimed themsleves "winners of the Austerlitz winners." Castaños (1758-1851) was subsequently made Duke of Bailéen and Grandee of Spain. The Argentine General José de San Martin (1778-1850) fought in the battle as a captain of the Bourbon Regiment (but was, later, one of the "libertadores" of the South american countries from Spanish colonial rule). On 30 June 1809, the title of "Muy noble y leal" (Very Noble and Loyal) was awarded to the town, whose rank was upgraded to "ciudad" by Royal Decree on 11 December 1850.
Source: Municipal website
Ivan Sache, 03 Aug 2009
The flag and arms of Bailén were approved by the Municipal Council on 14 June 2004 and submitted on 18 June 2004 to the General Directorate of Local Administration, which confirmed them by Decree on 25 October 2004, published in the Andalusian official gazette (Boletín Oficial de la Junta de Andalucía, BOJA) No. 208 on 25 October 2004.
The relevant parts of the Decree are the following:
Coat of arms: Shield divided per pale: 1.: Gules a jug proper placed per pale, with a window showing water kept inside and the mouth looking to the chief of the shield. 2.: Or two swords proper crossed, tied by a ribbon gules forming a scroll from which hangs an eagle sable tied by the claws, the whole surmounted by a laurel wreath vert and surrounded by a scroll wavy argent bearing in letters sable: "Bailén, 19 de julio de 1808" [Bailén, 18 July 1808]. The shield French-framed and surmounted by a mural crown, proper to the town.
Flag: Rectangular flag, with usual proportions of the length 3/2 the hoist, with seven vertical stripes: four gold and three silver, of equal size, in turn gold and argent, with golden stripes at hoist and fly; fully charged with the coat of arms of the town, including the crown, the geometric axis of the shield matching the center of the flag, with a height of 2/5 the flag hoist, the shield represented on both sides of the flag.
The symbols should be registered on the Andalusian Register of Local Entities, with their official written description and graphics (as originally submitted, but unfortunately not appended to the Decree).
Source: BOJA, No. 208, p. 24,150, 25 Oct 2004
The flag of Bailén is another case of a flag widely used before the adoption of the Law on local symbols and subsequently officialized.
Ivan Sache, 03 Aug 2009
The coat of arms recalls the Battle of Bailén. The eagle hanging upside down is a straightforward allegory of Napoléon's defeat. The jug represents the local heroin María Bellido; the legend says that the women of Bailén brought water jugs on the battlefield, where the temperature reached 45 ºC. The jug offerred by María to General Reding was hit by a bullet; not scared, María picked up the broken piece of the jug, which still contained a few water, and quenched Reding's thurst.
The memoir presenting the proposed flag of Bailén was redacted by the town's official chronicler Juan Soriano Izquierdo. Since nothing could be found of an historic flag of Bailén, a working group presided by the Mayor proposed the modern flag. The selection of the colours is "explained" as follows:
Or represents the sun, fire, the month of July and the lion. Its proper heraldic characteristics (sic) are nobleness, constancy, magnanimity, wealth, power, light and wisdom. Per the laws of heraldry (sic), those bearing or on their arms and flags should give their goods to the poor and defend their principles up to their last drop of blood. Argent represents the moon, water, the months of January and February and the hermine. Its proper heraldic characteristics (sic) are purity, integrity, obedience, firmness, vigilance, eloquence and victory. Per the laws of heraldry (sic), those bearing or on their arms and flags should defend the virgins and protect the orphans. Or, therefore, recalls the Battle of Bailén, which took place in July under the fiercy Andalusian sun, showed the victory of the Spanish lion on the French eagle and examplified the nobleness, magnanimity and constancy of the inhabitants of the town. Argent, therefore, recalls the contribution of the women, children and elders of Bailén, who brought water to the battlefield. The first quarter of the coat of arms (see below) also recalls this event. The flag was hoisted for the first time on 17 July 1985 for the celebration of the battle.
Ivan Sache, 03 Aug 2009