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Campofrío (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2020-10-08 by ivan sache
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Flag of Campofrío - Image by Ivan Sache, 20 August 2016

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Presentation of Campofrío

The municipality of Campofrío (643 inhabitants in 2015; 4,800 ha) is located 90 km north-east of Huelva. The municipality is made of the villages of Campofrío and Ventes de Arriba.

Campofrío has been settled since the late Age of Bronze. A local legend, backed up in 1609 by Father Juan Pineda in his "History of King Solomon", claims that Solomon built the oppidum/ castrum (indeed of probable Iberian origin) to watch the mines. The municipal territory was crossed by the Roman road that connected the Riotinto mines with Emerita Augusta (Mérida), as evidenced by the Roman bridge that still crosses river Odiel. A necropolis that yielded coins portraying Emperors Trajan and Hadrian was excavated in El Risco del Tesoro (lit. Treasure's Rock).

Reconquerred from the Moors by Alfonso X the Wise in the middle of the 13th century, the place was renamed for the harsh (frío, "cold") environment met by the Castilian colonists. Campofrío was first documented in the early 15th century, as a hamlet depending on Aracena. It took three centuries of permanent territorial disputes to obtain municipal emancipation from Aracena, which was granted on 5 May 1753 by Ferdinand VI. At the time, the population of the new municipality was scattered over 18 hamlets.
In the middle of the 19th centuries, Riotinto Minera developed the manganese mines of Cogullo and La Ponderosa, which boosted the development of the village.
[Los municipios integrantes de la Faja Pirítica, pp. 50-53]

Ivan Sache, 20 August 2016

Symbols of Campofrío

The flag and arms of Campofríowere proposed on 5 May 1998. The Municipal Council failed to adopt them officially.
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular, in proportions 11 x 18. A green panel with a white lozenge, charged in the middle with a coat of arms.
Coat of arms: Vert two bullfighting swords argent in saltire superimposed with a sword or ensigned with an open book of the same. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed.

The symbols were originally proposed on 2 September 1995 by Juan José Antequera.
A local artist submitted in 1986 a proposal of coat of arms, which was not approved. According to the drawing kept in the Town Hall, the shield was "Quarterly, 1. A wheat spike, 2. A tree, 3. The local bullring, 4. A calvary, all charges proper on a field azure." The shield was surmounted by a Royal crown open and placed on a cartouche inscribed with "Trabajo, fortaleza y tradición". This proposal is heraldically flawed. The design juxtaposes colour on colour in three of the four quarters, which are separated by an unnecessary fimbriation gules; the style is excessively picturesque, including charges that are absolutely not specific to the place (the wheat spike and the tree). The significant elements (the bullring and the calvary) are not easy to identify, since their representation sticks to the original buildings.

The bullfighting swords represent the local bullring. Built in 1718 by the Brotherhood of Apostle St. James, it is considered as the oldest with permanent use - and, disputably, the most dilapidated - in Spain. The arrangement of the swords in saltire recalls a miracle that occurred in 1728, as reported by Friar Joseph de la Encarnación, Professor at the San Francisco Casa Grande in Seville (Relaciones de la Augusta Monarchía ... y cosas notablas de la Orden de San Francisco, 1728): the two swords used to kill the bull promptly jumped out of the bullring and hit the Franciscan Friar Juan de la Presentación, a local preacher. Scared, the crowd implored the help of the patron saint, "¡Santiago, Santiago, libra a Campofrío!". The friar immediately jumped on his feet, showing that the swords had been blocked by his cloak and had not injured him.
The sword and the book are the attributes of St. James. Showing the tool of his martyr, as reported in the Bible, this representation was preferred to the medieval representations of the saint riding a horse and raising a sword.


Flag of Campofrío used in the 1990s - Image by Ivan Sache, 20 August 2016

In the 1990s, the municipality used a green flag with a white lozenge charged with the Cross of the Order of St. James. The emblem of the Order, which has no historical connection with Campofrío, was, erroneously, intended to represent the town's patron saint, St. James.


Earlier proposal of flag of Campofrío - Image by Ivan Sache, 20 August 2016

Juan José Antequera proposed to substitute the municipal coat of arms to the meaningless Cross of St. James, superseding his own earlier proposal, a green flag with a white cross fimbriated in yellow.
[Juan José Antequera. Principios de transmisibilidad en las heráldicas officiales de Sevilla, Córdoba y Huelva]

Ivan Sache, 20 August 2016