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Cañaveral de León (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-12-20 by ivan sache
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Flag of Cañaveral de León - Image from the Símbolos de Huelva website, 20 August 2016

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Presentation of Cañaveral de León

The municipality of Cañaveral de León (439 inhabitants in 2008; 3,500 ha) is located in the Sierra Morena, 135 km north-est of Huelva.

Cañaveral de León is part of a group of four sister villages, the three other ones, located in the Badajoz Province (Extremadura), being Calera de León, Segura de León and Fuentes de León. All of them once belonged to the Encomienda Mayor de León (Greater Commandery of León), ruled by the Order of Saint James, which was commissioned by the Catholic Monarchs to watch the border with the Moorish states. In Spanish, cañaveral means "a place where reeds [caña] grow".
The title of villa was granted to Cañaveral de León by King Philip II on 30 December 1588, which allowed the village to secede from Fuentes de León. Until 1833, the village was part of the Badajoz Province. in the next years, Cañaveral de León had a big dispute with the neighbouring village of Hinojales for the ownership of the area known as Umbría de Hinojales; Hinojales eventually won the case in court and Cañaveral de León lost some 4,500 ha of land.

Ivan Sache, 1 August 2009

Symbols of Cañaveral de León

The flag and arms of Cañaveral de León, adopted on 29 September 2004 by the Municipal Council and submitted on 8 October 2004 to the Directorate General of the Local Administration, are prescribed a Decree adopted on 28 October 2004 by the Directorate General of the Local Administration and published on 11 November 2004 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 220, pp. 26,148-26,149 (text).
The flag and arms are described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular flag, in proportions 11:18, vertically pinned at 1/4, first purple, second red. Centered overall, the local coat of arms.
Coat of arms: Shield in Spanish shield. Per pale, 1. Or a common rush plant eradicated with three stems gules, 2. Argent a lion rampant purple langued and armed gules crowned or. The shield surmounted with a Royal crown closed.

The rushs allude to the toponym Cañaveral, making the arms canting. The lion comes from the arms of León, recalling the town was once a hamlet of Fuentes de León until the 16th century and belonged to the Commandery of León until the 19th century.
[Símbolos de las Entidades Locales de Andalucía. Huelva (PDF file)]

The symbols eventually approved in 2004 were proposed on 11 May 1995 by by Juan José Antequera.
The municipality had been using, at least since 1846, an oval ink seal featuring a lion rampant. In the last decades of the 20th century, the arms used by the municipality were a Spanish shield "Argent a lion gules" surmounted by a Royal crown open. Juan José Antequera proposed to add a second quarter specific to the place and to change the tincture of the lion from gules to purpure.

The Royal Academy of Córdoba rejected the proposed symbols on 6 November 1996. The designer's rebuttal was released on 7 April 1997.
The Academy pinpointed the lack of the extensive list of the consulted references; the designer replied that since nothing was found in the these sources, a long list of negative references would not be of interest to anyone. The Academy required a precision on the use of the seal featuring the lion, deemed "incomplete" by the designer, who replied that the periods of non-use were 1931-1945 and 1969-1975, when the national arms were used instead. To the question raised by the Academy of who had decided to change the shield in the last decades of the 20th century, the designer ironically replied "Statement of the obvious: the Municipality". The Academy questioned, in a slightly more relevant manner, the use of the lion on the arms. The designer replied that the centenary use of the lion justified its inclusion on the modern arms, recalling that the lion was not taken from the arms of León, but from the arms of the Encomendia de León, "Argent a Cross of St. James gules superimposed by a lion purpure".

The municipality did not appeal to the rejection of the proposed symbols in due time. Accordingly, the file was declared null and void by a Resolution adopted on 13 November 1997 by the Directorate General of the Local Administration and published on 9 December 1997 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 142, p. 14,544 (text).
[Juan José Antequera. Principios de transmisibilidad en las heráldicas officiales de Sevilla, Córdoba y Huelva]

Therefore, the municipality waited until the adoption of the new Law on the local symbols in 2003, which suppressed the approval of the proposed symbols by the Royal Academy of Córdoba.

Ivan Sache, 20 August 2016