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Last modified: 2017-06-19 by ivan sache
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Flag of the Province of Almería - Image from the Símbolos de Almería website, 11 February 2017
The Province of Almería (699,329 inhabitants in 2013; 8,774 sq. km) is located in the east of Andalusia.
Ivan Sache, 21 June 2011
The flag of the Province of Almería, adopted on 31 March 2017 by the Provincial Council and submitted on 3 May 2017 to the Directorate General of the Local Administration, is prescribed by a Resolution adopted on 8 May 2017 by the Directorate General of Local Administration and published on 16 May 2017 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 91, p. 58 (teext).
The flag is described as follows:
Flag: In proportions 7 x 11, white with a purple red St. George's Cross horizontally and vertically centered and covering the whole panel, with arms of 1/7 (horizontal) and 1/11 (vertical) in width.
Centered and covering the whole panel, the coat of arms of the Province of Almería, in proportions 5/7 of the [flag's] width, outlined in white.
The Provincial Council initiated the process of adoption of a new flag by an Agreement adopted on 24 May 2016 and published on 9 June 2016 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 109, p. 493 (text).
The design was submitted in March 2014 to the Provincial Council by Nicolau Guillé:m Medina, on behalf of the Acción por Almería association. The design is supported by a memoir redacted by Dolores Durán Díaz, Professor of Geography and History.
The memoir argues that the flag in current use "has never been officially adopted, is of limited diffusion and of no local significance". Moreover, nothing was found anywhere about its creation.
In contrast, the St. George's Cross has been formally associated with the town of Almería and its territory since the reconquest of the town in 1489 by the Catholic Monarchs. The charter granted to the town in 1494 mentions "a banner charged with the arms of the Council granted by the Monarchs". Not described in the charter, the coat of arms, as we know it today, appeared during the reign of Charles V; historians traditionally believe that these arms are based on those originally granted by the Catholic Monarchs.
The St. George's Cross was allegedly introduced in Almería after the conquest of the town in 1147 by Alfonso VII, who led a coalition of Christian militia set up by the Pope. The Genoese troops are said to have significantly contributed to the victory, therefore the adoption of the emblem of the Republic of Genoa by the town, which was soon reconquerred by the Moors (1157). Historians traditionally believe that the Catholic Monarchs reestablished the arms granted by Alfonso VII as a symbol of the Christian past of the town and of its definitive reconquest. The arms were featured in the banner, aka Royal standard, of the town, which was celebrated during the Banner's Day.
Historical flag of Almería - Image by Ivan Sache, 11 February 2017
The St. George's Cross is featured on seals stamping letters sent to Ferdinand the Catholic. The painting of the Virgin of the Sea (17th-18th century, cathedral of Almería) features in the background a boat flying a St. George's Cross flag. Another painting known as the Moor's Altarpiece (17th-18th century, parish church of Vera), shows the flag with the cross coupé, hoisted on a watch tower assaulted by a Moorish ship. [These sightings, however, are clearly related to the town of Almería, and not to the province, which did not exist before 1833; the area being part of the Kingdom of Granada].
The St. George's Cross flag got official recognition in 1845, when adopted as the flag of the Maritime Province of Almería. The flag is featured on several maps and engravings representing the province, mostly in a maritime context. [Here again, the registration flag was not intended to represent the Province of Municipalities in the Province of Almería].
Ivan Sache, 19 June 2017
Controversy about the flag
The adoption of the flag by the Provincial Council stirred bitter controversy. Suring the first cote, only the the 16 Councillors representing the PP approved it, while the 10 Councillors representing the PSOE and the Councillor representing Ciudadanos abstained from voting, requiring the postponing of the vote until the proposed flag is assessed by "historians and sociologists from the Instituto de Estudios Almerienses". The Councillor from IU, rejected the flag, arguing it should reflect a consensus, which it clearly does not, and that it represents "the Genoese invasion of Almería".
[La Voz de Almería, 30 April 2016]
The PP claims that the change of the flag, based on history, should not be transformed into a political issue. However, Acción por Almería, the movement that initiated the campaign for the adoption of the "genuine" flag, was established in 2010 by "Almerienses que no se sienten andaluces" (Almerians who do not feel Andalusians), with a blatant political agenda, the establishment of a Region of Almería separated from Andalusia, The suppression of the straightforward reference to Andalusia, the green colours, is therefore not a mere coincidence.
[Almería360, 14 November 2013]
During the final vote at the Provincial Council, the PP approved the new design while the PSOE and IU voted against the proposal; Ciudadanos abstained from voting.
[EuropaPress, 31 March 2017]
Ivan Sache, 19 June 2017
Nationalist counter-proposal of provincial flag - Image by Ivan Sache, 11 February 2017
Andalusian independentist groups rejected the proposed flag, considering Acción por Almería as a "robot group" of the PP.
Liberación Andaluza found the change of the flag "motiveless and demagogic" and an insult to the inhabitants of the province, as the "flag of the Franks, Catalans, Pisans and Genoese, whose armies destroyed the old 'Portus Magnus' of the town" and the "flag of infamy, death, destruction, and lie".
Liberación Andaluza's counter-proposal of new flag is horizontally divided green-white-green (that is, the flag of Andalusia) with the provincial coat of arms in the center.
[Teleprensa, 27 April 2016]
Ivan Sache, 11 February 2017
Coat of arms of Province of Almería - Image by Klaus-Michael-Schneider, 22 October 2012
The coat of arms of the Province of Almería was adopted on 29 July 1925 by the Provincial Council. The Royal Academy of History blazoned the arms as follows:
Made of nine quarters representing the judicial districts (partidos judiciales), inescutcheon the coat of arms of the capital.
1. Berja - Gules a castle argent.
2. Canjáyar - Azure a sheaf of wheat or.
3. Cuevas de Almanzora - Three mounts proper planted with nettles over sea waves azure and argent.
4. Gérgal - A ruined tower or on a field of rhombs gules and argent.
5. Huércal-Overa - Azure a castle or ensigned with a key argent.
6. Purchena - Azure a castle or sinister a key argent.
7. Sorbas - Argent a lion gules [armed and langued sable].
8. Vera - Gules a double castle and a central key all argent.
9. Vélez-Rubio (Marquisate of Los Vélez) - Similar to the arms of Cuevas de Almanzora.
Inescutcheon. The coat of arms of the capital - Argent a Genoese Cross gules.
The shield surmounted by a six-towered mural crown or.
On the arms used on the flag, the escutcheon has a bordure made of 15 pieces, in turn: Castile (Gules a tower or), León (Argent a lion purpure gules crowned or), Aragón (Or four pallets gules), Navarre (Argent an eagle sable) and Granada (Argent a pomegranate proper). The shield is not surmounted by a double mural crown as prescribed above; the mural crown is of the same type as the four-towered variant in Portuguese municipal flags, but or.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 22 October 2012
Former flag of the Province of Almería - Image from the Símbolos de Almería website, 11 February 2017
The former provincial flag (photo, photo, photo, photo, photo) was green with the provincial arms in the center.
Ivan Sache, 11 February 2017
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