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Galaroza (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-12-20 by ivan sache
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Flag of Galaroza - Image from the Símbolos de Huelva website, 24 August 2016

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Presentation of Galaroza

The municipality of Galaroza (1,548 inhabitants in 2013; 2,200 ha; municipal website) is located 110 km north of Huelva.

Galaroza was established by Berber tribes, as Al-Jaroza. The Arab name was interpreted as "The Rose's Valley", "The Maiden's Valley", or "The Bride's Valley". The latter translation is recalled by a local legend popularized in 1930 by the local writer José Andrés Vázquez, portraying Prince Ysmail, who met in the valley a beautiful women who escaped through the woods, and, whom, of course, he never met again.
After the Christian reconquest, the area was fiercely disputed between Spain and Portugal, being eventually allocated to Castile by the Treaty of Badajoz, signed in 1267. Galaroza was first documented on 18 April 1553 when Charles I granted the status of villa to the place, which separated from Aracena . According to the founding charter, the town counted some 680 inhabitants, scattered among the villages of Galaroza, Fuenteheridos, Navahermosa, Las Cañadas, Las Chinas, Cortegrullo, and Las Vegas. Galaroza was acquired in 1559 by Fadrique Enríquez de Ribera, Count of Alcalá; the town was transferred in 1756 to the County of Altamira.

Ivan Sache, 24 August 2016

Symbols of Galaroza

The flag and arms of Galaroza, adopted on 29 March 1998 by the Municipal Council and revised on 7 May 1998, as suggested by the Royal Academy of Córdoba, which validated them on 29 October 1998, are prescribed by Decree No. 264, adopted on 15 December 1998 by the Government of Andalusia and published on 12 January 1999 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 5, pp. 427-428 (text). This was confirmed by a Resolution adopted on 30 November 2004 by the Government of Andalusia and published on 20 December 2004 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 246, pp. 28,986-29,002 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular flag, in proportions 11:18, made of three parallel horizontal stripes of equal height, perpendicular to the hoist, the first, blue, the second, white, and the third, yellow. Centered and overall the local coat of arms.
Coat of arms: Shield in Spanish shape. Azure a two-handled vase or ensigned with three roses argent slipped and leaved of the same superimposed in base with a crescent argent the points ensigned with five-pointed stars or. The shield surmounted with a Royal crown closed.

Galaroza has been using since 1851 an oval ink seal featuring a two-handled vase with five roses; a crescent with a six-pointed star on each point was added in 1907. Variants appeared with three roses and five-pointed stars. In colour reproductions, the vase is or, the roses are proper leaved vert, the crescent is argent and the stars or. The charges are sometimes placed on an oval shield, either azure or vert, with external ornaments.

The "rehabilitated" coat of arms and the flag were proposed on 27 October 1994 by Juan José Antequera.
The Royal Academy of Córdoba postponed the validation of the proposal until a copy of the oldest seal is provided. The Academy postponed again the validation on 18 November 1997, arguing that the photocopy of the document showing the seal was too dark and pointing out some differences between the seal and the proposed arms. The seal does not show three, but five or seven flowers, which look like carnations rather than roses, and does not show the crescent.
The designer "technically" defended his proposal on 18 February 1998 as follows:
1. Since the number of flowers appears to have changed according to the mood of the seal's designers, he showed three flowers, three being the usual representation of plural in heraldry.
2. While the flowers featured on the oldest seals actually look like carnations, the painter's intention was most probably to design roses, which are featured on the subsequent versions of the seal. Moreover, the roses make the arms "semi-canting".
3. The addition of the moon is not "of today", as claimed by the Academy, but supported by historical evidence.

The vase might evoke the Jarritos festival, a traditional event of ethnographical significance. The crescent, a common feature in the Marian iconography, is a symbol of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception; the parish church of Galaroza was dedicated in 1606 to the Blessed Virgin, during a period of immaculatist fervour in the south-west of Spain; the Pure and Stainless Conception was proclaimed on Christmas Day 1615 in the Regina Angelorum college, managed in Seville by the Order of the Preachers. Three decades later, Galaroza dedicated in 1636 its parish church to the Immaculate Conception, while the dogma was still discussed by theologians. The roses probably recall the name of the town. The ingenious etymology related to the Roses' Valley was proposed in a pamphlet released on 29 October 1916 for the homage paid by the town to Gumersindo Márquez Chaparro, a noted medical doctor and student. The name of the town, however, is most probably related to the rozas cropping system, based on a two-three decades rotation of the plots.
[Juan José Antequera. Principios de transmisibilidad en las heráldicas officiales de Sevilla, Córdoba y Huelva]

According to the local chronicler Rodrí,guez Beneyto, the Jarritos festival has been celebrated since the middle of the 19th century. Organized every 6 September, the festival is a tribute to water, centered around the fountain dedicated to Our Lady of the Carmel, locally known as the Twelve Pipes' Fountain.
The significance of water for the municipality is highlighted in the nickname given to its inhabitants, cachoneros / cachoneras, from cachón, "a water spring".
[Municipal website]

Ivan Sache, 24 August 2016