Last modified: 2001-11-16 by dov gutterman
Keywords: puerto rico | san juan | st. john |
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by Blas Delgado
The image from lexjuris site
is not very impressive. It shows the CoA of the capital of Puerto
Ricoon a white field. On the homepage of San Juan http://www.sanjuan.org/newweb/escudo_y_bandera.htm
there is a small CoA, a slightly bigger CoA and ... no flag;
there are long descriptions of CoA and flag(s?). I gather that
there has been a 'najanjito' flag with the CoA and that there is
a close connection between the CoA of Puerto Rico and San Juan.
San Juan is on the north coast of Puerto Rico; the oldest part of
the city was built on an island in a large bay which has a narrow
entrance, connected with mainland by a causeway and bridges;
there is the School of Tropical Medicine of the University of
Puerto Rico. The site was first visited (1508) by Ponce de le'on
who made a settlement (Caparra) 1509 on the mainland; in 1511
Caparra abandoned and site on the island settled; fortifications
begun 1533, El Morro castle built 1539-84; attacked by Drake and
Hawkins 1595; held by the British under Lord Clifford for a short
time 1598; sacked by the Dutch 1625; attacked again
unsuccessfully by British 1797; occupied by Americans 1898. There
are 437,745 Sanjuaneros.
Jarig Bakker , 5 Febuary 2000
site says: "Shield of the City of San Juan. The shield
of the City of San Juan is very similar to that of Puerto Rico,
both having as the principal charge the Lamb of God or Paschal
Lamb, which represents Jesus Christ and St. John the Baptist. It
was natural to place the Paschal Lamb on the shield of the island,
which was originally called Island of St. John the Baptist, and
on that of the capital. With the passage of time, "San Juan"
came to be the name of the capital and "Puerto Rico"
that of the island. St. John the Baptist is the patron saint of
the city. The shield of San Juan is blue. The lamb is shown
standing on a rock. This lamb represents, in the first place,
Jesus Christ the Redeemer. It is for this reason that its head
has a halo which carries the emblem of the cross. The flag
carried by the lamb, silver or white with a red cross, represents
the sacrifice of Christ on the cross and also His triumph, in the
resurrection, over sin and death. The lamb moreover represents St.
John the Baptist, prescursor of the Savior, who pointed out
Christ saying: "Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the
sins of the world." The rock on which the lamb stands has a
double significance. In the first place, it represents Mount Zion,
symbol of the city of Jerusalem and the Church. The stream that
flows from it represents the rivers of paradise and the
sacraments, particularly baptism. In the second place, the rock
placed on the waves of water represents the islet of San Juan,
location of our capital. The mural crown is the emblem with which
are adorned the shields of villages, towns, and cities,
principally those that are or have been fortified or surrounded
by walls, like San Juan. This shield represents a history of
constancy and heroism. In the year 1799, King Charles IV of Spain,
to reward the valor and fidelity shown by the sons of Puerto Rico
on the occasion of the last English attack on San Juan (1797),
granted the capital the privilege of surrounding its arms with
the following motto: For her constancy, love, and fidelity, this
city is very noble and loyal. For the 450th anniversary of the
City of San Juan, and with the assistance of the Institute for
Puerto Rican Culture, in 1971 the Municipal Assembly decided to
reform the shield as well as the seal and official flag of the
city. The ordinance provided that "the arms of the capital
be purified of the elements that have been attached to it without
historical or heraldic justification, that certain details be
added which are undoubtedly merited, and that they se le aņadan
ciertos detalles de que indebidamente carece, and that they be
given a character more in keeping with the simplicity and
precision that characterize both ancient as well as contemporary
heraldry." In this year the flag was changed to a "white
rectangular field with the shield of arms on the center."
The first flag of the capital city was officially adopted on
March 8, 1948, by the Municipal Assembly. It was an entirely
orange field, on the center of which were depicted the arms of
the city. The color then given to the flag was based on a text of
Don Diego de Torres Vargas, taken form his description of the
city and island of Puerto Rico in the year 1647, which read:
"Shield of arms granted to Puerto Rico by the Catholic Kings
in the year 1511, an inhabitant named Pedro Moreno being the
Procurator. They are: a white lamb with its red pennant, upon a
book, and all on a green island, which is that of Puerto Rico,
and on the sides an F and and I, which represent Fernando and
Isabel, the Catholic Kings who granted them, and today remain on
the royal standard, which is an orange damask, with which the
city was won."
Comment: The lamb resting on the book remains, I believe, the arms of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
Joe McMillan , 6 Febuary 2000
Here's what's said at lexjuris site
It's pretty much a condensed version of what's at the sanjuan.org
The shield of the City of San Juan is very similar to that of Puerto Rico, both having as the principal charge the Lamb of God or Paschal Lamb, which represents Jesus Christ and St. John the Baptist. The shield represents a complete history of constancy and heroism.
On March 8, 1948, the Municipal Assembly of San Juan officially adopted, as the flag of the capital of Puerto Rico, a white field, in the center of which is the coat of arms of the city. [Note: This conflicts with the sanjuan.org site, which attributes the white flag to a later date, as well as to the language of the very next paragraph:] . The color of the flag is based on a text of Canon Don Diego de Torres Vargas, taken from his "Description of the City and Island of Puerto Rico" (1647),
Joe McMillan , 6 Febuary 2000
This is the one appearing in pueblos-de-puertorico and the one
seen actually flying in the Capital City.
Blas Delgado, 7 March 2000
It is interesting to me to see that the emblem on the flag for
San Juan. That ram is holding a St. George's flag, which seems to
me to represent England.
Is there a story about this emblem?
steve stringfellow, 7 March 2000
The Paschal lamb (not ram), or Lamb of God, has been an
iconographic symbol of St. John the Baptist since very early
times. Both Christ and St. John as well as the Lamb are
frequently depicted carrying a white flag with a red cross on it.
The association with St. George is, I believe, derivative if not
coincidental. The blazon of the San Juan arms actually refers to
the banner as that of St. John.
Joe McMillan, 7 March 2000
St George for England is not that old - crusades time but the
order of St. John has the silver cross with the red background.
That might be related to the first silver processional cross
about 300 AD which had red wool tied to it to represent the blood
Hugh Watkins , 11 March 2000