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La Nava (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2017-01-05 by ivan sache
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Flag of La Nava - Image by Ivan Sache, 2 September 2016

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Presentation of La Nava

The municipality of La Nava (289 inhabitants in 2015; 6,200 ha; municipal website) is located 100 km north of Huelva).

La Nava was first mentioned in 1261, when Remundo, Archbishop of Seville, allocated the parish of La Nava to the Vicar of Almonaster. Located on the disputed border of Spain and Portugal, the village was depopulated in 1311, following an episode of black plague. Re-settlement did not occur until 1341; the village experienced a certain demographic boom, which prompted the inhabitants to ask in the middle of the 15th century new land from the Council of Seville. The villagers restored the old mills established by the Moors on river Múrtigas and built brand new ones; in the 19th century, La Nava counted 36 grain mills, two oil mills and five fouling mills.

At the end of the 19th century, La Nava experienced a wealthy period, thanks to the 86 mines scattered on the municipal territory; the Eureka mine employed 125 workers in 1900. The modern means of transport allowed the growers to sell much more efficiently their products on the markets of Seville and Huelva; the development of agriculture caused the population of La Nava to peak to 1,950 in 1960. The opening of the María Luisa mine also provided work for people from the neighbouring villages. The closing of the mine in the 1970s caused massive emigration and a strong decrease in the population of the village.

Ivan Sache, 2 September 2016

Symbols of La Nava

The flag (photo, photo) and arms of La Nava were adopted on 14 February 2000 by the Municipal Council. The process of registration does not appear to have been completed yet.
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular, in proportions 1:2, made of three parallel stripes and perpendicular to the hoist, the first, celestial blue, of 1/4 of the [flag's] width, the second or central, white, of 1/2,and the third, bottle green, of 1/4. Charged in the center with the local coat of arms.
Coat of arms: Vert a bridge or masoned sable over waves argent and azure in base ensigned by a peach or. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed.

TThe symbols were proposed on 16 July 1995 by Juan José Antequera.


Flag of La Nava as originally proposed - Image by Ivan Sache, 2 September 2016

The flag is based on the design proposed by Servando Valiente Guerra and adopted on 29 September 1993 by the Municipal Council. The flag was described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular, in proportions 1/2, horizontally divided in three stripes; the central, white, shall cover 1/4 of the [flag's] width, the other stripes shall be of the same width, the upper, celestial blue and the lower, bottle green.

The Royal Academy of History validated the proposed flag "without any objection". The registration process was not completed since the companion coat of arms was rejected by the Academy (see below).
Upon the municipality's request, Antequera only modified the original design, while he would have preferred to design a brand new flag. He added the municipal coat of arms in the white stripe, whose width was increased, most probably, for the sake of visibility.
Assessors questioned the proposed flag, deemed too similar with the flag of Lepe, and, therefore, potentially confusing. The designer replied on 18 July 1998, that the overall proportions and the respective proportions of the stripes, as well as the shade of blue, are different in the two flags.

The meaning of the flag was given by Servando Valiente Guerra, as follows:
"Between mountains and green valleys
God established a nice village
With bright, white streets
And river of celestial blue colour"
is the beginning of the pasodoble of La Nava, which cannot be better expressed than in the flag.
The lower, green stripe represents the fields located on the municipal territory; green is also the colour of Andalusia.
The upper, celestial blue stripe represents the water of the rivers and the colour of the limpid sky; blue is also the colour of Huelva.
The central, white stripe represents the whiteness of the village and the union of the province and the region.
The difference in the width of the stripes recalls that the greenness of the fields equals the blueness of the sky, with, inbetween, the small whiteness of the village.

Antequera kept from the rejected coat of arms (see below) only the most emblematic charges, the bridge, the river, and the peach. The bridge is represented touching the two edges of the shield, following the example of the most famous Spanish heraldists: Francisco Xavier de Garma y Durán, Dalmiro de la Válgoma y Díaz-Varela (1904-1990), and Vicente de Cadenas y Vicent (1915-2005, Chronicler King of Arms of the Kingdom of Spain).

The first coat of arms of La Nava, proposed by Servando Valiente Guerra, was adopted on 29 September 1993 by the Municipal Council. The arms were described as follows:

Coat of arms: Argent a bridge proper over a river azure, covering the lower third of the shield. Above the bridge and not touching it a campanile with three bells sable surrounded by two wheat spikes or tied by a ribbon gules. A bordure azure inscribed in chief with "La Nava" and all around with "Corazón de la Sierra" [Heart of the Mountains]. Around the shield and not touching it foliar ornaments separated in the upper part by a kind of sceptre or and in the lower part by a peach superimposed by two acorns on a branch with one leaf all proper. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown open.

The meaning of the arms was given by Servando Valiente Guerra, as follows:
The river represents river Múrtigas, which irrigates the huertas of the village, as well as river Caliente, which has the same use. The bridge is a copy of the medieval bridge that crosses river Múrtigas and was used to access the several mills established all along the river.
The two spikes represent wheat grain supplied to the mills to produce flour; they also symbolize a Roman writing found in the old chapel of Our Lady of the Virtues, dated from the 1st century AD and related to the old village of La Nava.
The bell-tower, a copy of the tower of the parish church, represents the whole village.
The peach tree and the acorns stand for the present of La Nava, a village fully dedicated to agriculture.
The Royal crown open highlights the antiquity of the town, which always belonged to the Royal domain.
The motto recalls that La Nava is located in the geographical center of the Sierra de Huelva.

The proposed coat of arms is severely flawed. The shape of the shield is French-Carlist, while the design is disproportionate, with two many charges represented proper and in a figurative manner. The inclusion of a bordure inscribed with a motto is inappropriate. The crown is not as prescribed by the law, while outer ornaments are forbidden.
[Juan José Antequera. Principios de transmisibilidad en las heráldicas officiales de Sevilla, Córdoba y Huelva]

Not unsurprisingly, the Royal Academy of History rejected the proposed arms, arguing that "the proposed design is absolutely unacceptable since it is not even minimally compliant with the charges and colours used in heraldry. The municipality should commission an expert to propose a new design."
[Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia 1995, 192:2, 345]

The registration process was declared null and void by a Resolution adopted on 21 July 1997 by the Directorate General of the Local Administration and published on 21 August 1997 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 97, p. 10,185 (text).

The Peach Festival is celebrated every day in the last week of August. The 50th festival was celebrated in 2012. Hundreds of kilogram of peaches are pealed and processed into punch; the beverage is served for free to the visitors, mostly coming from 20 to 25 neighbouring villages of the Sierra de Huelva, which are represented by an official delegation led by a Dame of Honour. The locals say that Ferrán Adriá and other famous cooks have attempted to reproduce the secrete recipe of the punch, with much little success than "El Sastre" and the villagers.
[Municipal website]

Ivan Sache, 2 September 2016