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Mancha Real (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-06-03 by ivan sache
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Flag of Mancha Real - Image from the Símbolos de Jaén website, 3 December 2015

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Presentation of Mancha Real

The municipality of Mancha Real (11,353 inhabitants in 2013; 9,700 ha; municipal website) is located 20 km east of Jaén.

Mancha Real originates in a petition submitted in the early 16th century to Queen Joanna by the Council of Jaén; lacking space, the Council required the colonization of the mountainous areas surrounding the town.
The establishment of several villages, La Mancha included, was prescribed by Royal Letters signed in Burgos on 17 March 1508. The Council of Jaén, however, decided otherwise, fearing commercial competition from the new villages. The Council did everything to postpone the colonization, so that it was sued in 1526 by a group of potential colonists from the town. After more than ten years of legal dispute, the Royal Council ordered the Council of Jaén to initiate the colonization, as prescribed in detail by Royal Letters signed on 6 July 1537 in Valladolid. Due to the reluctance of the Council of Jaén to implement the prescription, Jerónimo de Bustamante was officially appointed on 5 March 1538 to manage the erection of the new settlement; soon retired, he was succeeded by Juan de Ribadeneyra, appointed on 12 March 1539 in Toledo and established on 2 April in Jaén. La Mancha was founded as an estate (cortijo) depending on the Council of Jaén; two priests were appointed in 1539 by Bishop Francisco de Mendoza.
Less than 20 years later, La Mancha was a wealthy settlement, counting some 300 households and significantly contributing to the funding of the border guard and galleys. Accordingly, La Mancha was granted the status of villa on 5 May 1557, separating from Jaén.
The town was renamed Mancha Real on 25 November 1635.

Ivan Sache, 3 December 2015

Symbols of Mancha Real

The flag (photo, photo) and arms of Mancha Real, adopted on 10 November 1998 by the Municipal Council and revised on 11 May 1999 as recommended on 11 March 1999 by the Royal Academy of Córdoba, are prescribed by Decree No. 15, adopted on 15 January 2000 by the Government of Andalusia and published on 22 February 2000 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 22 (text). This was confirmed by a Resolution adopted on 30 November 2004 by the Directorate General of the Local Administration 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, in proportions 3 units in length on 2 units in width, horizontally divided into two equal parts, the upper half vert, or olive green, and the lower half purple, charged with the coat of arms of the place; with crown and motto. The geometrical axis of the shield shall match the center of the flag. The height of the coat of arms shall be 2/3 of the flag's hoist.
Coat of arms: Argent a tower proper masoned and port and windows sable ensigned with an arm proper moving dexter holding three flags the dexter gules the sinister azure and the central or charged with two fesses gules. The shield surrounded by a scroll azure inscribed with the motto "Muy noble y muy leal villa de Mancha Real" in letters sable fimbriated or. The shield surmounted by a Royal Spanish crown closed.

The Preamble of the Decree states that the Royal Academy of Córdoba rejected the proposed arms because they were too similar to the arms of Rute (Province of Córdoba) and recommended to suppress the motto [which was not done].

The memoir supporting the proposed symbols was redacted by Andrés Nicás Moreno (Memoria del escudo, bandera y lema de Mancha Real (Jaén). Sumuntán: Revista de estudios sobre Sierra Mágina, 2001, 14, 89-1085). The graphical designer of the symbols is Ricardo Ruiz Nicás.
The flag was designed from scratch. The upper stripe represents olive cultivation in Mancha Real, olive oil, the "liquid gold", being the main source of income in the municipality. The lower stripe recalls that Mancha Real once depended on Jaén, which used a purple banner.
The colour specifications for the flag are (Pantone scale):

Olive green	V+	339 U
Purple		P+     2627 U

The proposed coat of arms is a "rehabilitation" of the arms used in Mancha Real at least since the late 18th century.
The design of the arms that were granted in 1557 to the newly established villa of La Mancha is not known. The copy of the lost original charter, kept in the Simancas Archives, lacks any illumination.
A map of the town, kept in the Archives of the Royal Chancellory at Granada and dated 1570, is a copy of the original map drawn in 1548 by Juan de Reolid. The upper part of the document is decorated with the Royal arms of Charles V, surrounded by two smaller coats of arms, dexter, the arms of Jaén and sinister a shield in Spanish shape, featuring a three-arched bridge over water waves, ensigned by a cross flory; the bordure of the shield is charged with ten scallops, three is chief, four on the flanks, and three in base. This shield could represent the arms of the emerging settlement of La Mancha, which still depended on Jaén. This would be "geographical arms" representing the bridge erected on brook Sequillo on Roman foundations. These arms could have been derived from the arms of Juan de Reolid, the architect in charge of the design of the new town; the arms of his lineage, however, do not show any similarity with the arms represented on the map. Those were rather derived from the arms of Juan de Ribadeneyra, who managed the project: "Or, a cross flory gules charged with five scallops argent in base three fesses wavy azure". Accordingly, the arms shown on the map were, most probably, not those used by the town, if any.
The official documents kept in the Municipal Archives of Mancha Real since 1562 do not provide any clue on symbols used by the town. Philip II's Relaciones Topográficas (1575-1578), kept in the Escorial Library is not more helpful; neither are the Historical National Archives. The seal used in 1876 by the municipality is made of two pennants crossed per saltire surmounted by a Royal crown closed, the whole orled by a vegetal wreath.

The oldest reference to the arms of Mancha Real is found in Bernardo de Espinalt's Atlante Español (1789), as "Argent a tower ensigned by a hand holding three flags, the first or with two bends, the second crimson, and the third azure". Piferrer (1860) gives the same description. Manuel de la PazMosquera y Quirós (1832-1906), first Director of the School of Drawing of the Real Sociedad Económica de Amigos del País de Jaén, published at the end of the 19th century a drawing of the arms basically faithful to Espinalt and Piferrer.
Juan de Dios López Jiménez designed in 1941 for the Provincial Council a painting representing all the municipal arms in the province of Jaén. The coat of arms used in Mancha Real since then was based on this "official" model. The shield is in Spanish-French shape, surmounted either with an Infante's coronet or a Royal crown closed. A painting designed in the 20h century in the St. John the Evangelist parish church shows the arms surmounted by an Infante's coronet and surrounded by a scroll argent inscribed with "Muy Noble y Muy Leal villa de Mancha Real" in letters sable.
The coat of arms in use by the municipality was similar to the official version eventually adopted, the Infante's coronet excepted.

The tower represented on the arms must stand for the tower of the Fig tree's Fountain (Torre del a Fuente del Moral), which is represented on Reolid's map. This medieval tower, of probable much older origin, must have been the nucleus of the first settlement established in the area. The flags, of documented use as signals in border areas, highlight the strategical location of the tower "on a border zone facing the Muslim threat".
Argent is a symbol of the frankness of the inhabitants of Mancha Real.
The only significant departure from from Espinalt and Piferrer's model is the addition of the motto and the substitution of an arm to the hand emerging form the tower. This change is based on a stone coat of arms from the 16th century surmounted by the crown of the Blessed Virgin and an arm holding a sword, therefore, the full coat of arms of the Order of the Discalced Carmelites; this design might have inspired the municipal coat of arms. The convent of the Limpia Concepción de Nuestra Señora la Virgen María was established in Mancha Real on 15 October 1586.

The colour specifications for the coat of arms are (Pantone scale):

Argent		414 C
Brunâtre       4645 U
Or		117 C
Gules		192 C
Azure	       3005 C

Ivan Sache, 3 December 2015