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Jabugo (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-12-20 by ivan sache
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Flag of Jabugo - Image from the Símbolos de Huelva website, 30 August 2016

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Presentation of Jabugo

The municipality of Jabugo (2,267 inhabitants in 2015; 2,500 ha) is located 100 km north of Huelva. The municipality is made of the four settlements of Jabugo, El Repilado, Los Romeros, and El Quejigo.

Jabugo was disputed by different Portuguese military orders after the Christian reconquest, to be eventually allocated in the middle of the 13th century to the Order of Saint James; depending of Almonaster la Real, the place was then known as Jabugo la Real. Its most famous lord was Infante Luís Márquez de Avellaneda, Knight of Saint James, who granted to the town independence from Almonaster la Real in 1691, against a fee of 20,000 reales. Jabugo was granted the status of villa two years later.

Jabugo is famous for the local ham, which is protected by the Denomination of Protected Origin "Jamón de Huelva" (Huelva Ham). The elaboration area of the ham covers 31 municipalities all located in the mountains of the north of the Province of Huelva, while ham is processed by 40 companies registered in Aracena, Aroche, Corteconcepción, Cortegana, Cumbres Mayores, Jabugo, and Santa Olalia del Cala.
The Regulatory Board of the Denomination of Protected Origin required on 10 September 2008 a name change to "Jabugo". The change was prescribed by a Resolution adopted on 30 July 2015 by the Directorate General of Food Industry and published on 1 August 2015 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 183, p. 67,261 (text). Registration of the new name by the European Union is pending.

Ivan Sache, 30 August 2016

Symbols of Jabugo

The flag (photo, photo, photo, photo) and arms of Jabugo, adopted on 29 February 1996 by the Municipal Council, rejected on 27 June 1996 by the Royal Academy of Córdoba, and adopted again on 17 September 1998 by the Municipal Council, are prescribed by Decree No. 233, adopted on 10 November 1998 by the Government of Andalusia and published on 5 December 1998 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 139, pp. 14,972-14,973 (text). This was confirmed by a Resolution adopted on 30 November 2004 by the Government of Andalusia and published on 20 December 2004 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 246, pp. 28,986-29,002 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular, in proportions 11 x 18, made of five parallel stripes perpendicular to the hoist. The first and the fifth, yellow, the second, green, the third, black, and the fourth, red. The first and the fifth, in width 2/7 of the flag's width, the other, 2/7 each. Charged in the center with the local coat of arms.
Coat of arms: Or a pair of scales sable the beam superimposed with a sword gules the blade wavy in base a branch flory of willow vert in fess. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed.

The symbols were proposed on 12 February 1996 by Juan José Antequera.
The municipality started in 1956 to use and ink seal made of a rectangular shield with a triangular base, featuring on a field or a pair of scales argent, the sinister plate lower, superimposed by a branch flory of willow vert and a sword argent with a wavy blade in pale. The shield is of whimsical shape and not crowned, while the charges are arranged without any heraldic order.
The "rehabilitated" design was rejected by the Royal Academy of Córdoba, which argued that the supporting memoir was "insufficient". The historical and heraldic investigations were not detailed, the text including only general conclusions and the proposal. The Academy found it unacceptable, since it could not verify the statements and point out potential errors. The archivistic and bibliographical sources consulted should be specified, since the Decree prescribes a most exhaustive investigation. Otherwise, the proposal appears to be acceptable, since the design, at first sight, does not break any heraldic or vexillological law and is compliant with the technical specifications of the Decree. However, the arms should represent the most characteristic elements of the municipality; it is, therefore, doubtful that the unofficial arms stacking charges could match this criterium. Accordingly, the coat of arms is not "founded on a secular tradition [...] and not the product of a powerful actuality".

The Mayor required clarification on the "secular tradition", most probably ham production. This triggered a "bitter polemic" with the Academy, mediated by the Directorate General of the Local Administration. The designer insisted that, for obvious reasons, the pig is considered as inappropriate in heraldry. The designer wrote a rebuttal on 9 September 1996, stressing the following points:
1. No evidence of a seal used in Jabugo before 1956 was found.
2. There is plenty of official documents stamped with the seal since 1956.
3. The supporting memoir was concise and related to the historical aspects directly connected with the proposed arms, as recommended by the Royal Academy of History, which has a much longer experience of heraldic assessment. A list of documents and experts consulted follows.
4. An endless list of sources consulted to no avail would not have helped the Academy to assess the proposal.
5. The "rehabilitated" design has been of clearly demonstrated use; accordingly, its validation by the Academy would not be an "act of faith".
6. There is a contradiction in the Academy's conclusions, stating on the one hand that the design seems to be acceptable, and, on the other hand, that the supporting memoir is not sufficiently explicit.
7. The "rehabilitated" design conveys a strong symbolic meaning for the town. The scales, the willow and the sword with wavy blade are unique to Jabugo, as opposed, for instance, to the castle featured on so many municipal arms. Neither the designer nor the Academy could force Jabugo to change its traditional symbols.
The Mayor did not forward the rebuttal to the Academy and required a more concise and less conflictual rebuttal, which was produced by the designer on 3 October 1996, stressing the same points. The Academy failed to assess the document within the legal due time (two months), and the proposals were eventually adopted.

The scales and the sword are attributes of Archangel St. Michael, the town's patron saint. The scales are also the symbol of trade, the main source of income in Jabugo. The willow makes the arms canting, the name of Jabugo being derived from sauco, "a willow".
[Juan José Antequera. Principios de transmisibilidad en las heráldicas officiales de Sevilla, Córdoba y Huelva]

Ivan Sache, 30 August 2016