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Navarre (Spain)

Navarra, Nafarroa, Comunidad Foral de Navarra, Nafarroako Foru Komunitatea

Last modified: 2002-09-21 by santiago dotor
Keywords: spain | navarra | nafarroa | comunidad foral de navarra | nafarroako foru komunitatea | coat of arms (chains: yellow) | crown | banner of arms | unidentified flag | chains | emerald |
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[Navarre (Spain)] 2:3
by Antonio Gutiérrez, taken with permission from the S.E.V. website

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The region of Navarre (and province of Pamplona) had before 1916 a plain dark red flag; the coat-of-arms was added in 1916. Similar to the current design with minor changes in the shape of crown and shield. On November 8th 1937 a military decoration was added to the coat-of-arms [Laureate Cross of Saint Ferdinand]. In 1977 an unofficial dark red flag with chains (no coat-of-arms) was widely used. Horizontal red-yellow-green (5:2:1) was proposed by the governing party UCD [Unión de Centro Democrático, 1976-1982] but never adopted.

Jaume Ollé, 27 November 1999


[Coat-of-Arms (Navarre, Spain)]
by Antonio Gutiérrez, taken with permission from the S.E.V. website

Governmental Banner-of-Arms

[Governmental Banner-of-Arms (Navarre, Spain)] 1:1
by Santiago Dotor

On December 3rd 2000, the autonomous government of Navarre made a celebration to honour the Navarre victims of Basque terrorism. This took place at the Javier Castle, and was chaired by the President of Navarre. Beside him stood two sort of mace- or standard-bearers (not heralds) bearing medieval-like tabards etc. The vexillologically interesting point is that one of them was bearing a banner-of-arms of Navarre. As far as I could tell, the flag had 1:1 proportions and a width of about 80 cm. It certainly was not the flag of the autonomous community — there was neither shield nor crown and the outer chains almost touched the flag's border. I have no record nor idea what is the status of such flag, if and when it was adopted. A simple hypothesis is that it might be the presidential flag, but this is only a quick guess.

Santiago Dotor, 12 December 2000

Miguel Izu, a vexillologist from Pamplona, wrote me:

El 3 de diciembre de cada año, festividad de San Francisco Javier, patrón de Navarra, se celebra oficialmente también el "Día de Navarra". Con tal motivo el Gobierno acude al Castillo de Javier (en la localidad de Javier), lugar de nacimiento del santo. Posteriormente se celebra un acto institucional en Pamplona, uno de cuyos momentos es la entrega de la Medalla de Oro que se concede anualmente. En el año 2000 se entregó a las víctimas del terrorismo.

El pendón que se reproduce no ha sido objeto de un acto formal de adopción, pero acompaña tradicionalmente al Gobierno de Navarra en actos solemnes (no es, por tanto, un guión presidencial). El Gobierno de Navarra, que adopta este nombre en 1984, es sucesor de la Diputación Foral de Navarra, que a su vez sucedió en 1836 a la antigua Diputación del Reino, órgano delegado de las Cortes de Navarra.

Cuando en 1836 desaparece el Reino de Navarra (integrado en el nuevo estado nacional español, aunque conserva un régimen de autonomía o régimen foral) la Diputación conservó algunos de los elementos de protocolo anteriores. Desde el siglo XVII las Cortes y la Diputación se hacían acompañar de unos maceros y un abanderado que portaba el pendón real, práctica conservada en el siglo XIX. En 1949 se añadieron clarines y timbales. Todos ellos acostumbran a vestir trajes de factura medieval (aunque fueron diseñados en 1912 y 1949). El denominado "rey de armas" porta el pendón.

El actual pendón se conserva, junto con las mazas y otros objetos, en la vitrina de honor situada en la planta noble del Palacio de Navarra, sede del Gobierno. Fue utilizado durante la guerra civil de 1936-1939 por la columna navarra de Somosierra. Parece ser que otras unidades militares, e incluso el general Mola, también utilizaron banderines similares.

El origen exacto del pendón, que reproduce el escudo de armas de Navarra, no está muy claro. Puede que se utilizara ya en el siglo XIX, o que se diseñara en su forma actual con motivo del séptimo centenario de la batalla de las Navas de Tolosa, en 1912, junto con los trajes de la comitiva.

My abridged translation:
This banner has never been officially adopted, but it is traditionally flown at solemn celebrations attended by the Government of Navarre. It therefore is not a presidential banner [rather a governmental banner]. The Government of Navarre replaced in 1984 the former Diputación Foral de Navarra [provincial government], which in turn replaced in 1836 the former Diputación del Reino [deputy government of the kingdom], a delegate body of the Navarre parliament.

When the Kingdom of Navarre disappears in 1836 [personal union with Castile and Aragon since 1512], fully integrated into the new organisation of the Spanish state, though with an autonomous or statutory (foral) regime, the Diputación kept some former elements of protocol. During the 17th century, the parliament (Cortes) and the deputy government (Diputación del Reino) were accompanied by two mace-bearers and a standard-bearer which carried the royal banner. This practice was still in use in the 19th century, bugle and drum players being incorporated to the group in 1949. All of them dress in medieval costumes, though designed in 1912 and 1949. The standard-bearer is called the king of arms [even if he isn't one, heraldically speaking].

The current banner is kept, together with the maces and other objects, in the honour showcase on the main floor of the Navarre Palace, seat of the government. It was used during the 1936-1939 civil war by the Navarre Column at Somosierra. Apparently other military units, perhaps even General Mola himself, used similar flags.

The precise origin of the current banner-of-arms of Navarre is not fully clear. It may have been used already in the 19th century, or perhaps it was designed in its current form for the seventh centennial of the battle of the Navas de Tolosa [where the 'chains' were captured according to legend], together with the medieval costumes of the standard- and mace- bearers.

Santiago Dotor, 5 April 2001

Former Province of Navarre

The Diputación Provincial [provincial council] was an administrative body which dissappeared in the early 1980s in those Autonomous Communities which comprise only one province. Note that although the administrative body is now the Autonomous Community, the province still exists.

Antonio Gutiérrez, 18 November 1999

The former flag of Navarre region and/or province showed the Laureate Cross of Saint Ferdinand [the Spanish highest military decoration for valour] behind the coat-of-arms.

José Carlos Alegría, 22 November 1999

Banner of Charles Prince of Viana c.1460

The Navarre regional government's website contains an image of the banner of Charles, Prince of Viana (1421-1461) who headed the Beaumontais claimants to the throne of Navarre in a long civil war in the 15th century which ended with Catholic King Ferdinand's invasion of Navarre (1512) in support of the Beaumontais and the subsequent merger of the Castilian and Navarre crowns. The banner is a 'modern' (reconstructed?) version kept in the Palacio de Navarra.

Santiago Dotor, 22 January 2001

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