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Guadalupe (Municipality, Extremadura, Spain)

Last modified: 2020-11-14 by ivan sache
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Flag of Guadalupe - Image by Ivan Sache, 20 March 2020

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Presentation of Guadalupe

The municipality of Guadalupe (1,862 inhabitants in 2019; 6,820 ha) is located 120 km east of Cáceres and 30 km north-east of Logrósan.

Guadalupe developed around the Royal Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The legend says that a statue of the Virgin and other relics were hidden near river Guadalupe by monks during the Muslim advance (8th century). After the Christian reconquest of the area in the 13th century, the statue was discovered by Gil Cordero, a shepherd from Cáceres. Searching for a lost cow near Alía, Cordero eventually found the animal three days later, but dead. He made the sign of the cross on the cow's skin with his knife, which prompted the cow to stand up. A celestial voice revealed to the shepherd the location of the hidden statue and relics, asking him to warn the churchmen, whom she commissioned to erect a chapel to keep the relics. Back to his hut, the shepherd found his son dead; he invoked the Virgin, promising her to dedicate his son to her service would a miracle occured, which was done with the son's resurrection.

Alfonso XI visited the miraculous chapel in the middle of the 14th century; ashamed by the small size and the bad state of the sanctuary, he funded the building of a brand new church. The village of Puebla de Guadalupe was established in 1337 while the building of the Royal monastery started in 1340. John I granted the sanctuary to the Hieronymites in 1389, who were succeeded by the Franciscans in 1908.
From the 14th to the 18th century, the Hieronymites dramatically increased the sanctuary. The temple-basilica and its dependency erected in the 14th century were progressively surrounded by fortified buildings, aimed at protecting the riches kept inside the sanctuary. The Miracles' cloister was designed in Mudéjar style in the late 14th century.
The sacristy of the monastery, dated 1638, is nicknamed Extremadura's Sistine Chapel, for its five vaults decorated by Zurbarán. The nearby St. Hieronymus' chapel shows Zurbarán's masterpiece, "St. Hieronymus' Triumph or Apotheosis". The monastery's Sculpture and Painting Museum includes works by El Greco, Zurbarán, Juan de Flandres, Juan Correa, Goya etc.
Proclaimed a National Monument in 1879, the Royal Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe was inscribed on the World Heritage List by UNESCO in 1993.

The black Virgin of Guadalupe is a Romanesque sculpture dated to the 12th century; made of Lebanon cedar and completely painted, the statue is 59 cm in height and 4 kg in weight. The statute has been clad with a blue cloak and holding a scepter since the 14th century. The popularity of the Guadalupe Virgin is evidenced by the nine Codices of the Miracles of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Initiated by Alfonso XI, the connection between th Spanish monarchs and Guadalupe was maintained for more than seven centuries. Henry IV and his mother, Mary of Aragón, were interred in the monastery. The Austrian kings maintained the tradition, which was more or less abandoned by the Bourbons until re-activated by Alfonso XIII.
Proclaimed the patron saint of Extremadura in March 1907 by Pope Pius X, in the aftermath of a pilgrimage that gathered 10,000 pilgrims on 12 October 1906 (12 October being the anniversary of the "discovery" of America), the Virgin of Guadalupe was canonically crowned as "Queen of All-Spain and Spanish World" by Alfonso XIII in 1928.

The sanctuary was visited by several foreign monarchs, such as John II (Aragón) / John I (Navarre), Alfonso V and Sebastian (Portugal), and Albert and Paola (Belgium). The most prominent Spanish writers - Miguel de Cervantes, Miguel de Unamuno, Luis de Góngora, Félix Lope de Vega, Rafael Alberti - have also visited Guadalupe and sometimes celebrated it in their works. So did several famous saints: Vincent Ferrer, Amadeus of Savoy, Beatrice of Silva, John of Ávila, John of God, Juan de Ribera, Peter of Alcántara, Teresa of Ávila, Francisco de Borja, Anthony Mary Claret.

Christopher Columbus was received in Guadalupe by the Catholic Monarchs in 1486, 1489 and 1492. The legend says that Columbus prayed in the chapel the days before leaving for his first voyage. Natives he "brought back" from his second voyage were christened on 29 July 1496 in the baptismal font today part of the fountain of St. Mary Square.
Columbus always kept with him a replica of the statue of he Black Virgin. In 1493, he renamed Karukera to Guadalupe (French, Guadeloupe) as a devotion to the Virgin.
The cult of the Guadalupe Virgin, who was also highly venerated by Hernán Cortés, was quickly spread to New Spain, with the establishment of the Guadalupe basilica in Mexico. The Mexican church, however, severed connections with the Spanish Virgin and related the Mexican Guadalupe Virgin to an apparition on Tepeyac hill in December 1531. Historical records of the colonization report that Spanish missionaries erected a chapel dedicated to "their" Virgin on the hill that was considered as a place of worship by the natives. Not reported in chronicles, the appearance of the Virgin to native Juan Diego is rather a convenient means to establish a "national" Virgin. Historians established a parallel between the "creation" of the two cults, both based on legendary events. The Mexican Virgin, as opposed to the Spanish one, does not bear Baby Jesus, probably because the natives were not "prepared" to understand the symbolic.
Accordingly, most Mexicans ignore the European existence of the Guadalupe Virgin, and even the existence of the Spanish sanctuary. This led to a fierce rivalry between the Mexican and Spanish worshipers of the Virgin; not compliant with Christian values, the quarrel was settled by churchmen from the two sides of the Ocean.
Visiting the Spanish sanctuary, Javier Lozano Barragán, Bishop of Zacatecas, publicly stated: "Here are our roots". in 1982, Pope John Paul II said in Guadalupe: "I have the same esteem for this Virgin as for the Mexico Guadalupe Virgin. I have to take into account that the origins are here. Before visiting the Tepeyac basilica, I had to come here to better understand the Mexican devotion".
[Cofrades, 24 August 2011]

Ivan Sache, 20 March 2020

Flag of Guadalupe

The flag of Guadalupe (photo), adopted on 27 July 1990 by the Municipal Council and validated on 15 February 1991 by the Royal Academy of History, is prescribed by an Order issued on 26 February 1991 by the Government of Extremadura and published on 7 March 1991 in the official gazette of Extremadura, No. 19, pp. 491-492 (text).
The flag is described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular, in proportions 2:3. Composed of two horizontal stripes, the lower, blue, in width 1/4 the flag's width, the upper, white, charged in the center with the crowned municipal coat of arms.

The coat of arms of Guadalupe is prescribed by Decree No. 2,949, issued on 8 September 1964 by the Government of Extremadura and published on 3 October 1964 in the official gazette of Extremadura, No. 238, p. 12,964 (text).
The coat of arms is described as follows:

Coat of arms: Per pale, 1. Azure a vase or with a branch of lilies argent, 2. Argent two mounts vert over waves argent and azure a base vert. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown.

Ivan Sache, 20 March 2020