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Olivença irredentists (Portugal)

Last modified: 2014-06-29 by klaus-michael schneider
Keywords: olivença | olivenza | irredentist | fictional flags | april’s fool | quina | quinas: 5 | quinas: cross | castle (red) | armillary sphere | tower (yellow) | tree: olive | crer e querer para vencer |
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Presentation of Olivença

Olivença is a 600 km² border municipality disputed by both Portugal and Spain. It has been under spanish control since 1806 but this has never been recognized by Portugal. In portuguese official maps the border is unmarked in that region (left bank of Guadiana river south of Badajoz), and utill recently portuguese was the local language. Although the anexation is still unrecognized (a matter brought every now and then in diplomatic circles), the question is far from being a major problem between both countries, and has even an anedoctical flavour among portuguese public opinion.
António Martins, 13 Jan 1998

Irredentist groups

irredentist municipal flag proposal
image by António Martins, 08 Feb 1998

The coat of arms used by irredentist groups is slightly different from the official coat of arms of the town (see Olivenza). It seems to be white instead of red (but I’m not 100% sure of this) and the olive tree is standing in front of the castle, not inside of it. In the dexter chief there is a five bezanted version of the 1185 portuguese coat of arms (a cross of eschuteons, the ones in the middle pointing downwards, the ones at the sides pointing to the center), and in the sinister chief there is an old style armillary sphrere. Finnally, it’s mural crown has only 4 castles.

Note that in this flag, along with the town-gyronny irregularity, also the scroll text is unusual, because instead of the municipality name (with or without some epithet) there is a motto there: "CRER E QUERER PARA VENCER", meaning «to believe and to want [in order] to succeed» (or, more stylishly, «faith and will to success»).
António Martins, 13 Jan 1998

The irredentist oliventin association’s flag differs from the the spanish official Olivenza flag, as proposed by a portuguese heraldry institution, in a number of points:

  1. Background is plain green, not green over yellow gyronny.
  2. Castle door is open in black.
  3. Armillary sphere does not have “stirrup”, only base, and its zodiac is blue, not yellow.
The irredentist association flag has also the lettering "AMIGOS DE OLIVENÇA" over the mural crown, but this would not appear in the (putative) municipal flag.
António Martins, 08 Feb 1998

April’s fool flag of Olivença

Depicted flag of an “Independent Olivença”
image by António Martins, 14 Jan 1997

Last April’s Fool (1 April 1996) the portuguese newspaper Diário de Notícias chose this subject for the traditional fake story, pretending that the European Union had proposed independence for the Olivença municipality as a way to settle the question, wich had already been accepted by both central and local governments.

The article offered a brief presentation of the country to be and included a flag, discribed as «associating the colors of both Portugal and Spain, bearing in its center the main castle tower, an important 15th century portuguese millitary achitecture monument».

António Martins, 14 Jan 1997

Supposed misinterpretation corrected

Flag of an “Independent Olivença”, according to the description
image by António Martins, 14 Jan 1997

I suppose the paper’s artist misunderstood the author’s specifications, so I’ve added a another picture (below) wich really «associates the colors of both Portugal and Spain» (and with white tower for better emphasis in the yellow field).
António Martins, 14 Jan 1997

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