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Gerena (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2017-02-11 by ivan sache
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Flag of Gerena - Image from the Símbolos de Sevilla website, 26 May 2014

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Presentation of Gerena

The municipality of Gerena (7,207 inhabitants in 2013; 13,090 ha; municipal website) is located 25 km north-west of Seville.

Gerena was once known as Jerena: the Cancionero de Baena lists the local poet Garcí Ferrandes de Jerena, poet at the court of King John II. In the 16th century, the town was known as Ierenna or Jerenna. Local legends claim that Gerena was named for the mythological king-shepherd Geryon, described by Hesiod as a three-headed demi-god owning big herds of bulls. There is, of course, not the least evidence backing up this etymology.
Gerena might have been established by the Etruscans in the mining district of Itucci / Tucci (Tejada). Several Roman remains have been excavated on the municipal territory, such as walls and thermae adjacent to the hydraulic complex of Fuente de los Caños, and smaller thermae recently discovered in El Esparragal. Remains of a paleo-chrixtian basilica and of a fortified mosque have confirmed that the place has been continuously settled for ages.

Gerena was reconquerred in 1247 by King Ferdinand III the Saint after a violent assault. Considered during all the Middle Ages as the grain barn of the Kingdom of Sevilla, Gerena was listed and illustrated in G. Braun's Civitates Orbis Terrarum (1565). The town was acquired in 1627 by Pedro Cornejo Sandoval. In 1650, Philip IV erected the County of Gerena for Pedro de Ursúa y Arizmendi, a Navarrese general and knight of the Order of St. James. The Mirandilla, Mojongordo, El Chamorro and Los Larios rural estates were incorporated to the County. Luis de Bucarelli y Bucarell, 2nd Marquis of Vallehermose, married in 1805 the heiress of the Ursúa lineage, so that his descendants became Counts of Gerena. During the War of Independence, General Victor set up in Gerena the headquarters that controlled the roads to Extremadura and Portugal, as well as supplying grounds for the French army.

Granite quarries were the main source of income for the town in the first half of the 20th century. The Ibero-American Fair, organized in Seville in 1929, boosted the economy of the town. Stone extraction then declined, because of the high cost of cutting the very tough granite of Gerena.

Ivan Sache, 26 May 2014

Symbols of Gerena

The flag of Gerena is vertically divided white-red with a yellow border and the municipal coat of arms in the center. The flag is, obviously, based on the coat of arms.
The coat of arms of Gerena is "Per pale, 1. Argent a holly oak vert a hare sable passant, 2. Gules a castle or masoned and port and windows sable ensigned by a Count's coronet. A bordure or inscribed with the motto "IERENNA FAMOSUS PROPE HISPALIM LOCUS". The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed."

The coat of arms recalls the peace and war episodes experienced by the town all along its history. Argent is a symbol of peace and hospitality. Gules is a symbol of the blood shed during the War of Independence. The castle recalls the old castle, disappeared long ago, which stood in front of the parish church. The motto, taken from Civitates Orbis Terrarum (1595), reads "Gerena famous place located close to Seville".
[Unofficial website]

The Royal Academy of History validated the proposed coat of arms, which does not appear to have been officially registered.
[Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia. 1985, 182, 3: 560]


Former flag of Gerena - Image from the Símbolos de Sevilla website, 26 May 2014

The municipality previously used a flag horizontally divided purple-white-green. Designed by a local school teacher, the flag combined the colours of the local brotherhoods.
The upper stripe is purple, for the Soledad Coronada brotherhood, aka as the brotherhood of the upper town; the central stripe is white for the brotherhood of the Encarnación, the patron saint of Gerena; and the lower stripe is green for the Vera-Cruz brotherhood, aka the brotherhood of the lower town.
[Símbolos de Sevilla website]

Ivan Sache & Klaus-Michael Schneider, 26 May 2014