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Brenes (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2022-09-09 by ivan sache
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Flag of Brenes - Image from Símbolos de Sevilla, 10 April 2022

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Presentation of Brenes

The municipality of Brenes (12,581 inhabitants in 2021; 2,145 ha; unofficial website) is located 20 km north-east of Seville.

Brenes was settled in the Roman times by a number of rural landlords trading olive oil, which was shipped to Ilipa (Alcalá del Río) and Hispalis (Seville) from a small river port. Amphorae were produced in local workshops located in El Puerto del Barco and Cruz Verde. Nothing has remained from the Visigoth period except a column kept in the town's museum.
Urbanization was initiated after the Muslim conquest with the establishment of the fortified farm (alquería) of Qulumbira / Qulumbayra, a name probably derived from Romance columba / columbario, "a pigeon". "a pigeon house". In the middle of the 8th century, the place was renamed to Billa Nuba al-Bahriyyín/ Bahríes, for its owner, the powerful Banu Bahr family. The Muslims developed intensive agriculture and exploited the pine forests located on the banks of the Guadalquivir; an important trade of charcoal is documented at this period.

In 1246-1247, Brenes plead allegiance to king Ferdinand III the Saint, who granted it to Infante Fadrique, brother of future king Alfonso X the Wise. Brenes was listed as a "bread land", that is, mostly dedicated to the production of grain (wheat and barley). At the time, there were no longer woods, vineyards and olive trees, all suppressed during the war. In 1285, Remondo, Archbishop of Seville, shared the reconquered lands between himself and the cathedral, keeping for him Brenes and Cantillana. Brenes would be ruled by the archbishop until 1574.

Ivan Sache, 10 April 2022

Symbols of Brenes

The flag and arms of Brenes, adopted on 27 January 2022 by the Municipal Council and submitted on 4 March 2022 to the Directorate General of Local Administration, is prescribed by a Resolution issued on 14 March 2022 by the Directorate General of Local Administration and published on 21 March 2022 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 54, p. 4,410 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular with proportions 3:2, two parallel stripes perpendicular to the hoist, the first one of 2/5 in width, white, the second one, of 3/5 in width, Omayyad green. In the central third, two white waves and another two blue one of equal size. Tierced at hoist, of 3/5 in width, the coat of arms.
Coat of arms: Spanish shield. Argent an olive tree on a base vert dexter an agave all proper a base wavy azure and argent. A bordure gules. The shield surmounted by a Marquess' coronet.

Since Brenes never had a proper flag, a design had to be created from scratch, which parallels the design of the coat of arms. The larger, green stripe crossed by the white and blue waves, represents the plain of Gualdalquivir where the town is located.
The coat of arms is a "rehabilitation" of the design used for years without official approval and therefore incorporated into the collective imaginary, already initiated in the early 1990s. Different proposals designed by historian José Antequara Luengo were found in the municipal archives, none of them having ever been approved.
The agave bush was relocated from the sinister to the dexter side of the olive tree while waves symbolizing the Guadalquivir were added in base; the cartouche supporting the shield was transformed into a border, while the Marquess' coronet was kept. The Marquisate of Brenes was established in 1679 by Charles II for Juan Antonio Vicentelo de Leca y Herrera, the son of the 3rd lord of Brenes and 1st Count of Cantillana.
The municipal archivist found that the municipal coat of arms was first mentioned in a letter by Mayor José de la Huerta dated 1876, stating that it was "the sole seal used by the municipality since 1812".
[El Correo de Andalucía, 22 July 2021]

The oldest known seals of Brenes indeed features the agave bush in the dexter part of the shield. Dropped from later versions of the arms, the bush re-appeared in the last decades of the 20th century in the sinister part.
[Brenes en la Memoria, 25 January 2015]

Ivan Sache, 10 April 2022