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Florencio Varela District (Argentina)

Last modified: 2021-12-23 by rob raeside
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[Flag of Florencio Varela] image located by Ivan Sache, 20 September 2019
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About Florencio Varela

The municipality of Florencio Varela (146,704 inhabitants) is located 25 km south-east of Buenos Aires and 35 km north-west of La Plata. The town's namesake is the writer and politician Florencio Varela (1808-1848). After the defeat of the Unitarians, Varela exiled to Montevideo, where he became a main opponent to Juan Manuel de Rosas' rule. Founder of the newspaper "El Comercio del Plat", he was murdered in 1848 by a hit man commissioned by Rosas.

Florencio Varela originates in an old rural estate known in 1772 as Orqueta Curá. It was then part of the parish of La Exaltación de la Cruz de los Indios Quilmes (today, the municipality of Quilmes). Colonization started in 1820 in Los Tronquitos and on the banks of brook Conchitos. The early colonists, mostly cattle breeders and shepherds, came from Britain, North America, Uruguay, Italy and Spain. Deserted in 1870 by yellow fever, the area was subsequently re-settled by new colonists.

Led by Juan de la Cruz Contreras, the villagers obtained from Governor Mariano Acosta the establishment of the village of San Juan, recognized by a Decree signed on 11 February 1873. They also asked for the appointment of a chaplain to serve the chapel dedicated to St. John the Baptist. Due to the diversity of its inhabitants, the village was know as Saint John in the rural areas and San Juan el Bautista in its central part.

In 1833, the villagers' commission considered changing the name of the village. The Executive renamed in 1886 the railway station of San Juan to Florencio Varela. The municipality of Florencio Varela was established by Provincial Law No. 2,397 issued on 30 January 1891. Florencio Varela was granted the title of town ("ciudad") by Provincial Decree No. 5,731 issued on 22 June 1953.
Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 21 September 2019

Description of the flag

The flag of Florencio Varela was selected in a public contest open to the educational institutes of the municipality. Out of the 170 received proposals, the jury selected on 25 August 2017 four designs, submitted to people's vote, organized from 4 to 24 October 2017 in different places of the municipality. The results were proclaimed on 1 November 2017.

Proposal No. 2, submitted by Jardín Municipal No. 2 "Frutillitas", obtained 44% of the votes and was elected the new municipal flag.

The flag is described as follows:
Rectangular, composed of an upper, yellow stripe and a lower, green stripe, both horizontal. In the upper right corner, on a yellow background, are placed four white five-pointed stars. In the lower right corner is placed a black wheel (similar to the wheel featured in the upper right quarter of the municipal coat of arms*). In the lateral left part (spanning over c. one fourth of the rectangle) are placed five vertical lines, celestial blue, white, celestial blue, green, and celestial blue, respectively. At the right of the lines is placed a yellow half sun, in a shade lighter than the upper stripe, outlined in a lighter shade of yellow, partially spanning over the upper, yellow and lower, green, stripes, up to the center of the panel. Between the horizontal upper, yellow and lower, green stripes is placed a red horizontal line running from the right to the border of the half sun, located at the right of the design and forming a division between the aforementioned colors.
Varela al Dia

*The coat of arms of Florencio Varela is prescribed by Order No. 612, adopted in 1981.

Shield in old French shape. Quarterly, 1. Gules an open book argent superimposed with a quill of the same in bend sinister the letters sable G.H. on the sinister page [not shown on the drawing], 2. Argent a carnation gules leaved vert in bend sinister a steel industrial wheel proper superimposed sinister with a retort proper the neck dexterwise, 3. Vert a river argent [azure on the drawing] in bend sinister bordered by stones proper, 4. Azure a bovine's head proper an old cart's yoke proper with belts argent.Superimposed a cross patty or. A bordure argent inscribed with "1891 - MUNICIPALIDAD DE FLORENCIO VARELA".

In the 1st quarter, the quill symbolizes Dr. Florencio Varela, the municipality's namesake, while the book symbolizes the writer and ornithologist Guillermo Enrique Hudson (1841-1922; internationally known as William Henry Hudson, founding member of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds), who spent his youth in the Veinticinco Ombúes farm, where contact with nature fostered his passion for ornithology. In the 2nd quarter, argent is a symbol of purity; carnation is cultivated in the area. The wheel and the retort represent work and industry, especially chemical industry, a min source of income in Florencio Varela. In the 3rd quarter, green represents the Earth and abundance, as well as soil fertility. The landscape recalls the Stones' Brook (Arroyo de las Piedras), around which the first population nucleus emerged. In the 4th quarter, azure is a symbol of serenity and of the sky over Florencio Varela. The bovine and the yoke evoke the cart, once the main working tool of the early, laborious settlers, who used it to sell fruits and other crops to earn their life. The cross evokes the Christian roots of the country.
Municipal website

The flag was inaugurated on 20 June 2018, during the celebration of the 198th anniversary of the death of Manuel Belgrano, the designer of the national flag.
Official video
Municipal website
Varela al Dia, 21 June 2018
7ma Diario, 20 June 2018
Periódico El Progreso

Ivan Sache, 21 September 2019

Other flag proposals

Proposal No. 1, submitted by Escuela Secundaria No. 15 "Dr. Rene Favaloro", obtained 29% of the votes. The flag features as the central image an ombú, the autochthonous tree species growing in the farm where Guillermo Enrique Hudson was born. The flag is a reminiscence of the writer; through its colors, it is a symbol of peace, justice and water resources. The colors and images recall the period of birth of Varela.

Proposal No. 3, submitted by Escuela Asunción de María, obtained 20% of the votes. The flag features as the central figure a tarumá tree representing the municipality. The finger-like arrangement of branches symbolize the ten settlements forming the municipality. The heart in the middle of the branches is a tribute to Dr. Sallarés, who, together with Drs. Dessy and Boccuzzi, work in solidarity to the service of their patients. In the lower part is formed a "V", which represents the earth that nurtures and the trunk that maintain life.

Proposal No. 4, submitted by Escuela Primaria N°52 "Capitán Giachino", obtained 7% of the votes. The flag features a tarumá, a tree proper to the south zone of America and characteristic of Argentina, represented with a globose canopy, green foliage and red fruit.

The ombú (Phytolacca dioica L.) is the emblematic tree (indeed, a giant herbaceous plant) of La Pampa and a kind of national tree in Argentina, and source of inspiration for several writers. In 1927, 30,000 students were asked to designate Argentina's national tree. The ombú received 14,670 votes, probably thanks to the poem "El ombú", published in 1843 by Luis Lorenzo Domínguez (1819-1898), a classic piece of Argentine literature ("Buenos Aires - beautiful fatherland - has its great pampa / the pampa has the ombú"). The result was disputed, since the plant does not originate from Argentina but spread from Brazil and Uruguay. Leopoldo Lugones (1874-1938), in "El payador" presents the plant as "immigrant from the missionary forest". The writer and painter Emilio Lascano Tegui (1887-1966) describes the ombú as "not a tree but an antediluvian bush".
The gauchos highly prize the ombú for its healing properties and as the sole source of shade in la Pampa, but dislike it as it does not produce wood, which is extremely rare in the area.
The ombú is quoted by Atahualpa Yupanqui (1908-1992) in "Canto del Sur" ("Under the lonely ombú like a meditating gaucho"). The politician Bartolomeo Mitre (1821-1906) dedicated a poem to the ombú. The Uruguayan poet Fernán Silva Valdés (1887-1975) labels the ombú "father of poetry in River Plate", while Pablo Neruda (1904-1973) called him "king of the herbs".
The Vice Roy Vértiz' ombú, more than 500 years old, is believed to be Buenos Aires' oldest tree. The historian Mariano Pelliza (1837-1902) reports that San Martín, Pueyrredón and Tomás Guido met in San Isidro under the "ombú of hope", swearing to achieve independence.

Espores, 28 July 2017

The tarumá (Vitex cymosa Bertero ex Spreng.) is a tree native from Central and South America. The Paraguayan writer Augusto Roa Bastos (1917-2005) considered it as a magic tree. Its olive-shaped trees produce a strong, colored oil.
ABC Paraguay, 17 June 2017

Ivan Sache, 21 September 2019