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El Granado (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-12-20 by ivan sache
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Flag of El Granado - Image from the Símbolos de Huelva website, 27 August 2016

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Presentation of El Granado

The municipality of El Granado (540 inhabitants in 2015; 9,755 ha; municipal website) is located 60 km north-west of Huelva, on the border with Portugal, here river Chanza. The Bajo Guadiana International Bridge (150 m), inaugurated on 26 February 2009, connects Pomarão to El Granado (12 km); beforehand, the connection via the Ayamonte bridge required a detour of 100 km.
The municipality is made of the villages of El Granado (548 inh. in 2013), Puerto de la Leja (12 inh.), and Santa Catalina (6 inh.).

El Granado was already settled in the Prehistoric times. Remains of stone tombs from the 3rd millennium BC were found in Carabisaltos, Carabisbajos, and Aguzaderas. The village was traditionally identified as Praesidio, the Roman villa located closest to the mouth of river Guadiana on the Antonine Itinerary; recent investigations, however, have revealed that the villa was indeed located in Sanlúcar de Guadiana.
After the Christian reconquest, El Granado was granted to the lords of Gibraleón. In 1547, Maria Teresa de Zúñiga, Duchess of Béjar and Marchioness of Gibraleón, offered the pastures of Boyal and Las Veras, which included the place named El Guijarrillo, for joint re-settlement with the neighbouring town of Sanlúcar de Guadiana; this initiated the second colonization of El Granado.
El Granado remained a rural village, with grain, grapes and oranges as the main source of income, until the opening of the manganese mine of Santa Catalina and of the factory of Puerto de la Leja, which processed ore brought by railway from the La Herrería mine (municipality of La Puebla de Guzmán). The factory was once owned by the French group Saint-Gobain. The population of the village peaked in 1940 to 1,260. Industry disappeared from El Granado in the 1950-1960s.

Ivan Sache, 27 August 2016

Symbols of El Granado

The flag and arms of El Granado, adopted on 16 April 1998 by the Municipal Council, in spite of the rejection of the symbols on 26 October 1995 by the Royal Academy of Córdoba, are prescribed by Decree No. 189, adopted on 29 September 1998 by the Government of Andalusia and published on 24 October 1998 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 121, p. 13,060 (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 four parallel stripes of equal size and perpendicular to the hoist. The first, black; the second, white, the third, yellow, and the fourth, green. Charged in the center with the local coat of arms.
Coat of arms: Spanish shield. Per pale, 1. Argent a bend sable orled by a chain or of eight pieces, 2. Or a pomegranate tree proper fructed proper the trunk superimposed by a bladed wheel sable. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed.

The symbols were proposed in 19944 by Juan José Antequera. As outlined in the Decree, the proposed arms were rejected by the Royal Academy of Córdoba.
The Academy found the second quarter of the arms of "good design", specific and not prone to mistaking. Elegant and simple, it would perfectly represent the municipality. In contrast, the arms of Zúñiga are here "superfluous and irrelevant". The Academy blamed the trend of using arms of former lords in "servile spirit"; unfortunately, El Granado was not the main place in the Marquisate of Gibraleón, and neither the village nor the municipality ever used these arms. The Academy further pointed out errors in the supporting memoir regarding the genealogy of the lords of Gibraleón; accordingly, there is no evidence that the feudal lords of El Granado ever bore the arms of Zúñiga.

The designer sent a rebuttal on 28 February 1996, stressing the following points:
1. The proposed coat of arms featuring per pale feudal arms and new arms representative of the place is compliant with Decree No. 14, adopted on 31 January 1995, while the rejection of the first quarter by the Academy is not legally substantiated.
2. While El Granado was indeed not the main place in the Marquisate of Gibraleón and never used the lord's arms, the evolution of the village was strongly connected with the Marquisate.
3. The "historical errors" pointed out by the Academy indeed provide evidence that the supporting memoir was not completely read by the Academicians.
4. While the suppression of the feudal arms would be heraldically acceptable, the majority of the villagers stick to the original proposal.
5. The Academy should not assess the proposed flags as it does for the coat of arms.
The designer concluded that the Academy had not shown any respect for the proposed symbols, which are in total compliance with the norms of heraldry, and recommended the Municipal Council to re-adopt the original proposals.

The Municipal Council re-adopted on 17 May 1996 the proposed symbols (five councillors validated the proposals while one abstained from the vote). The designer completed the supporting memoir on 26 May 1997. The bibliographical and sigillographical sources were searched for older seals of El Granado, to no avail, and listed. The designer pointed out that the Royal Academy of History had validated the inclusion of the arms of Zúñiga in the municipal arms of San Silvestre de Guzmán, with the same organization.
The pomegranate tree (granado) makes the arms canting. The bladed wheel is the symbol of the martyr of St. Catherine, the patron saint of the village and of the parish church.
[Juan José Antequera. Principios de transmisibilidad en las heráldicas officiales de Sevilla, Córdoba y Huelva]

Ivan Sache, 27 August 2016