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Cantillana (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-04-02 by ivan sache
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Flag of Cantillana - Image from the Símbolos de Sevilla website, 19 October 2015

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Presentation of Cantillana

The municipality of Cantillana (10,842 inhabitants in 2014; 10,770 ha ), is located 30 km north-east of Seville.

Cantillana is located on the site of a Roman town, which was identified by the English archeologist and historian George Bonsor as Naeva, a town mentioned by Pliny. Naeva, famous for its river port, minted its coins featuring a woman's head and a fish. In the lower Roman Empire, the town was renamed Cantillana, for the Cantillus lineage. Isidore of Seville lists the town, as Catiliana, in "The Etymologies".
The Moors increased the Roman fortifications of the town; the Clock Tower is today located on the site of the former gate of the old town. The Crónica General reports that King Ferdinand III the Saint conquered the town in spring 1247; the Royal camp was located near brook Garci-Pérez. Cantillana was granted in 1248 to the Order of St. James, and, in 1252, to the Archbishop of Seville. The local tradition claims that King of Castile Peter I the Cruel spent summertime in Cantillana, in an estate located between rivers Guadalquivir and Viar, which once belonged to his grand-father, King Ferdinand IV the Summoned. The stays of the archbishops of Seville in Cantillana are firmly documented; in 1401, Archbishop Gonzalo de Mena died in Cantillana after having left Seville scoured by the black plague. Another archbishop, Diego Anaya, died in Cantillana in 1437. The Catholic Monarchs granted several privileges to the town, listed in a charter kept in the municipal archives. Queen Isabel stepped at Cantillana during his journey to Seville in 1478.

Cantillana was acquired on 26 April 1567 by Juan Antonio Vicentelo de Leca, member of a Corsican lineage established in Seville and famous for its munificence. His descendant Juan Antonio Vicentelo de Toledo, Knight of the Order of St. James, was made on 23 April 1611 the 1st Count of Cantillana by Philip II. The count and his wife, Brígida, promoted education, religion, industry and agriculture, obtaining the status of villa for Cantillana. In the 18th century, the town counted 2,400 inhabitants.
Cantillana thrived in the 19th century, being located on the road to Extremadura and to the mines of Almadén de la Plata; the town counted 5,000 inhabitants living in 850 houses grouped along 21 streets, and maintained a small bullring, a jail, a military post, an hospital and two schools. The Guadalquivir was then the main means of communication; barges transporting coal from the Villanueva mines and iron from El Pedroso moored in the river port, while ferries were operated by the municipality to cross the river. In the middle of the 19th century, the inauguration of the Seville-Córdoba railway boosted communications.

Cantillana is the birth town of José Ceballos y Ruiz de Vargas (1724-1776), a founding member of the Royal Academy of Literature of Seville and member of the Royal Academy of History. Ceballos was appointed Professor of Ecclesiastic Discipline in Madrid, Canon of the Cathedral of Seville and Rector of the University of Seville.

Cantillana was from 1910 to 1922 the residence of the notary Blas Infante (1885-1936; biography), the "Father of the Andalusian homeland". During these years, Blas Infante met in The Seville Ateneo the Andalusian intellectuals and was inspired by the nationalist Mario Méndez Bejarano. He published Ideal andaluz in 1915 and founded the next year the Seville Andalusian Center, publisher of the review Andalucía. In January 1918, he proposed to re-establish the old green and white Andalusian flag and designed a coat of arms, which were presented in the first Andalusian regionalist assembly, organized in Ronda. On 1 January 1919, Blas Infante signed the Córdoba Andalusian manifesto, which defined a Spanish federal state and promoted Andalusia as an historical nation. He subsequently moved to Isla Cristina (1922) and, eventually, to Seville (1931), where he was murdered by the Phalangists.

Ivan Sache, 19 October 2015

Symbols of Cantillana

The flag and arms of Cantillana, adopted on 25 September 2014 by the Municipal Council and submitted on 17 October 2014 to the Directorate General of the Local Administration, are prescribed by a Decree adopted on 22 October 2014 by the Directorate General of the Local Administration and published on 4 November 2014 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 215, p. 25 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular panel in proportions 11:18, made of three horizontal stripes, the upper and the lower each in width 3/7 of the [flag's] width, the first, red, and the second, green, and the central, argent (grayish white), 1/7 in width. The municipal coat of arms centered.
Coat of arms: Spanish shield. Gules a castle argent masoned sable port and windows azure with an Arab gate on a base vert issuant from the main tower a warrior armed with a steel breast-plate proper a helmet of the same surmounted by five feathers gules or azure argent and vert holding dexter a sword argent hilted or and sinister a flag argent staffed or charged with a Latin cross flory gules (the early emblem of the Order of St. James) the dexter tower ensigned with a mitre argent decorated or with infulae of the same charged with a patriarchal cross vert the sinister tower ensigned with a Count's coronet or in base a river made of a double fess wavy the upper azure the lower argent. A bordure or inscribed with the Latin motto "MUNICIPIUM FLAVIUM NAEVENSIS ORIGO CASTRI, VILLAE COMITATUSQUE CANTILLANAE" in letters gules. The shield surmounted by a mural crown representing a villa.

The symbols, designed by the local artist Luis Manuel López Hernández, were inaugurated on 5 December 2014 [Municipal website]

The colours of the flag and the proportions of the stripes evoke the location and past and present history of Cantillana, as well as its relevant periods and people, and idiosyncrasy.
Garnet is a symbol of the Roman and pre-Andalusian periods, as well as the blood shed by the Moors who heroically defended the castle. Crimson is the colour of Castile and of the Order of St. James, which conquered the town. Heraldic red is the colour of the cardinals and of the Vicentelo de Leca lineage; it also represents the reddish soil of the Sierra Morena, and, finally, the passion, struggle and blood of the inhabitants of Cantillana all along its history.
Green is the symbol of the plain and fertile land; it is the colour of the Andalusian legacy, flag and anthem that originate in Blas Infante. Vert is the colour of the archbishop's dignity and also the heraldic colour of the Vicentelo de Leca lineage. Finally, green is the colour of hope.
Argent white, in the central stripe, separates the duality of the two other colours; it represents the town's light, joy, houses and historical, disappeared castle. White stands for the big river forming a shining path to the future, and the spiritual star of the famous Marian ceremonies.

The coat of arms is a "rehabilitation" of the historical arms of the town.
The arms were first documented in 1785, as painted on the Clock's Tower, featuring "an Imperial eagle surmounted by a castle with a warrior holding a flag". The shield was surrounded with Latin verses highlighting the pre-Roman origin of the town and the evolution of its name. The seal used in 1848 to stamp official documents showed a castle and a warlord with a sword, the flag and Imperial eagle having been dropped. This was kept as the local institutional symbol all along the 19th and 20th century, in different versions more or less artistic but lacking heraldic rigor; the shape of the shield, the colours and the crown were not strictly defined.
The historical emblems - the castle and the warrior - were kept in the modern design, while the flag shown on the oldest arms was "rehabilitated", featuring the earlier cross of the Order of St. James. This recalls the fortress of Cantillana, conquered in 1247, and the Master and knights of the Order of St. James, which was granted the place by Ferdinand III. Two charges alluding to significant historical periods were added to the lower towers of the castle: a mitre with a green patriarchal cross, recalling the rule of the Archbishops of Seville (1252-1573) and a Count's coronet, recalling the rule of the Vicentelo de Leca lineage, Counts of Cantillana (1574-1812).
The base of the shield is green, as a symbol of Andalusia, also recalling the location of the town in the Seville plain; the fess wavy represents river Guadalquivir, the geographic environment and origin of the town.
The field of the shield is red (in heraldry, gules, "representing the blood of the enemy"). It is crimson red, like the Royal banner of Castile, recalling the conquerors, but also the blood shed by the Arabs who heroically defended the castle, as reported in historical chronicles. Jointly with green, the heraldic colour of the arms of the Vicentelo de Leca lineage, it is the colour of passion, representing the idiosyncrasy of the inhabitants of Cantillana.
The bordure or recalls the bordure of the arms of the Vicentelo de Leca lineage. The Latin motto, borrowed form the old coat of arms, was "rehabilitated" and corrected according to the modern archeological and historical knowledge. It refers to the Roman town established under the Flavian emperor Vespasian (MUNICIPIUM FLAVIUM NAEVENSIS) and to the villa and County of Cantillana (VILLAE COMITATUSQUE CANTILLANAE).
The five-towered, mural crown recalls the fortified Roman town; it was considered as the "best and most adequate crown" by experts in heraldry [which contradicts the recommended use of the Royal Spanish crown on municipal coat of arms].
[Municipal website]

The symbols were first proposed on 3 August 1994 by Juan José Antequera Luengo. The symbols were described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular, in proportions 11:18, embattled blue and white at 1/3 of five and six pieces. Charged in the center with the municipal coat of arms.
Coat of arms: Azure a castle argent masoned and port and windows sable surmounted by a knight armed issuant from the central tower the dexter arm raised holding a sword argent hilted or the sinister arm holding a shield or wearing a helmet feathered argent or and sable. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed.

A new proposal was submitted on 1 March 2003 by Juan José Antequera Luengo. The symbols were described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular, in proportions 11:18, made of three horizontal stripes of equal dimensions, parallel to each other and perpendicular to the hoist. The first and third stripe, lemon yellow, the second, or central, stripe, white embattled blue at 1/4 parallel to the hoist, of five pieces. Charged in the center with the municipal coat of arms.
Coat of arms: Azure a castle argent masoned sable surmounted dexter by a Christian sword argent hilted or and sinister by an Arab scimitar of the same crossed per saltire and pointing upwards surrounded dexter by an archbishop's mitre or and sinister by a Count's coronet of the same. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed.

The municipality used, at least since 1853, proto-heraldic arms presumably adopted in compliance with the Order released in 1844 by the Ministry of Government. The ink seal was oval, inscribed in the bordure with "Alcaldia Constitucional de Cantillana", and showed a tower open ensigned by a warrior raising a sword dexter and holding a shield sinister wearing a feathered helmet. This seal, which predominated in the 19th century, was described by Madoz as "a castle ensigned by an herald".
In February 1903, Antonio Sanz y Angulo, Secretary of the municipal administration, designed a version of the arms that would be subsequently used by the municipality; the coat of arms uses an odd rectangular shape, ending in chief and base with a point, placed on a cartouche. The castle, argent masoned sable, has three towers, the central one of the same height but wider, stands on a base proper. In the central tower stands a bearded warrior raising a sword dexter and holding a shield sinister and wearing an anachronistic Roman helmet. The whole is placed on a celestial field.
Pineda Novo erroneously assumes that the Council of Cantillana once used the arms of the Vicentelo de Leca lineage, "Argent three fesses gules vert and gules the central fess charged with a castle argent surrounded by two lions affronty of the same". which were not used as the model for the municipal arms.
[Juan José Antequera Luengo. Heráldica oficial de la provincia de Sevilla]

Ivan Sache, 19 October 2015