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Salamanca Province (Castile and Leon, Spain)

Last modified: 2002-03-23 by santiago dotor
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Salamanca Province

According to the Manual del Estado Español (Handbook of the Spanish State, Spanish text only) by Editorial Lama: no [officially adopted?] flag; coat-of-arms used since the 1950s.

Pascal Vagnat, 16 July 1999

I recently spent a long weekend in southeastern Salamanca province as well as in Salamanca city itself. Apart from the Spanish, the European and the Castile and Leon flags there were not many to be seen. Most towns in the area (Béjar, Candelario, Miranda del Castañar, La Alberca) do not seem to have a flag of their own, and their city halls only display the above three flags. The Castile and Leon flag is rarely ommitted here, as no trace of Leonese "autonomism" is apparent in this area. Only at Salamanca city did I see two other flags, those of the city and of the provincial Diputación or council. They both consist of a coat-of-arms on a purple field, of a shade very similar to that of Leon.

The provincial arms can be seen at the official webpage of the Diputación Provincial and also here, with a more "artistic" rendering and an incorrect crown (note that transparencies should be Argent ie. white). They incorporate the quartered arms of the most important towns in Salamanca province (Ciudad Rodrigo, Béjar, Peñaranda de Bracamonte and Vitigudino), with the Salamanca city arms ("old" version) on a central, oval, uncrowned inescutcheon. This time the crest is a closed royal crown.

The provincial flag had a 2:3 ratio and its coat-of-arms was centered but smaller than that of the city, about one third of the hoist high.

The Salamanca city hall (where I saw both flags) flew five flags, from left to right: Salamanca province, Castile and Leon, Spain, Salamanca city and European Union.

Santiago Dotor, 17 November 1999

Salamanca province flag recently posted seems to be official but adoption is probably unwrited. The color used is dark red, but sometimes is purple.

Jaume Ollé, 27 February 2000


City of Salamanca

The Salamanca city flag consists of a coat-of-arms on a purple field, of a shade very similar to that of Leon. The city arms in the flag are as the third one in Ralf Hartemink's International Civic Arms website but with an open royal crown (no arches, no red cap) rather than a closed one.

One funny thing about the Salamanca arms is that they have changed at some point recently. Up to now they had the "Or, four pallets Gules, on a bordure Azure crosslets potent Argent" (ie. red and yellow bars with a blue border with white crosses) on the dexter (ie. left) side of the arms. They appear thus on the Diccionario Enciclopédico Espasa Calpe, Madrid 1978, and on the Enciclopedia Larousse, Madrid 1981, as well as on the city's old street name plaques and on stamps like this one in Nahum Shereshevsky's exhibit (which actually is the basis for Ralf Hartemink's third image).

However, both on recent documents published by the City Council and on the flag, that part of the arms appears on the sinister (ie. right) side. This does not appear to be a mistake, and I saw these new arms elsewhere. Actually, I did not make a note of that, but I seem to recall that (at least on the current arms) there are not four but only three pallets Gules — thus differencing these arms from the Catalan ones. However I am not 100% sure of this.

The city flag has a 2:3 ratio and its coat-of-arms was half of the hoist high and centered. The Salamanca city hall (where I saw both flags) flew five flags, from left to right: Salamanca province, Castile and Leon, Spain, Salamanca city and European Union.

Santiago Dotor, 17 November 1999

Antonio Gutiérrez sent me the text of the 1996 Order by which the change in the arms (swapping of the two side quarters) took place. I am copying and translating it:

(...) Boletín Oficial de Castilla y León nº 118, de 20 de junio de 1996. "Orden de 11 de junio de 1996, de la Consejería de Presidencia y Administración Territorial, por la que se aprueba el escudo heráldico de Salamanca."
Official Bulletin of Castile and Leon, no. 118, June 20th 1996. "Order of June 11th 1996, of the Presidency and Territorial Administration Department, to approve the coat-of-arms of Salamanca."
"Escudo partido. Primero, de plata con un puente de piedra, mazonado de sable, sobre el que está pasante un toro arrestado de sable, y tras él una higuera de sinople, arrancada. Segundo, de oro con cuatro palos de gules; bordura de azur con ocho cruces paté de plata. Mantelado en jefe de plata, con dos leones mornados, al natural, salientes de los flancos y afrontados. Al timbre, la Corona Real Española, abierta y sin diademas".
"Per pale, Argent, a stone bridge [proper], masoned Sable, on which dexter a bull passant statant [sic!] Sable, and sinister an erradicated fig tree Vert; and Or, four pallets Gules, on a bordure Azure eight crosslets potent Argent; on a chief mantled Argent two demi-lions mornés [ie. without tongue or claws] respectant issuant from the flanks proper. Crest: an open Spanish royal crown with no arches [sic]."

Antonio Gutiérrez points out that the blazon has several mistakes and makes a very specific reference to how can a bull be passant and statant at the same time. My personal opinion is that whoever wrote the description used statant as a (correct) adjective for the bull's stance and passant as a previous, incorrect adverb for the bull's position (as opposed —wrongly— to affronty). The blazon also states "an open crown with no arches" when all open crowns are archless. Antonio also says that he ignores the reason why the dexter and sinister halves were swapped, and that he lacks a copy of the Order's introductory "heraldic report" which might explain that particular point. He also points out that the pallets are certainly four (and not three as I had erroneously recalled). Finally, Antonio Gutiérrez says that even if the Order's title says "approval" actually it is a "re-grant" of already existing Arms, as another part of the said Order mentions.

Santiago Dotor, 17 November 1999

Michael Simakov wrote, "«...on a chief mantled Argent two demi-lions mornes» — this is another big change in the coat-of-arms. Until that it was «mastiff's heads (with tongues Gules)». So, we can't say that it is a re-grant of already existing Arms. This is absolutely new one". Not at all. Re-granting arms (at least in Spain) means an officialization of arms previously used (for a long period of time, usually more than 100 years) without any legislation involved. This implies a very wide collection of drawings of the same coat-of-arms was used through the years, with minor differences. I've seen this coat-of-arms with dog's, mastiff's (a dog itself, by the way), snakes' or lion's heads. The granting or re-granting of the arms fixes it definitively.

Antonio Gutiérrez, 25 November 1999

In the right of the coat[-of-arms], there appear the four symbols of the city: the Tormes river, the Roman bridge, a bull (representing the celtiberian pre-roman verraco which is still nowadays placed on the bridge) and an evergreen oak, very common in this land. In the left there is the coat[-of-arms] of Aragon-Catalonia surrounded by a bordure of azur with crosslets potent argent. The reference for Aragon-Catalonia is because in the Middle Ages Salamanca was a part of the kingdom of Leon, and many times, when Leon was at war with Castille, the Aragonese helped the Leonese. And the azur bordure is a reference to Asturias, the homeland of the kingdom of Leon.

Mikel Heavy, 11 June 2000

With due respect, I find this symbolism somewhat concocted. Castile and Leon became a united kingdom in 1230. And the cross of Asturias has always been the "cross of Victory", quite different from the crosslets potent in the Salamanca coat-of-arms. And these are white (Argent) not yellow (Or) as the Asturias one.

Santiago Dotor, 29 November 2000





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