Today, 4th of December, is the non official Day of Andalusia (I already explained why this date is so important in our history here), so this year I want to celebrate it with a little bit of fun… with Andalusian flags!
In Sheldon Cooper style:
The Andalusian flag is green, white and green. Colors that appear in a lot of Mediterranean countries, specially those with a strong Islamic influence. According to a legend, the origin of the flag is from the 8th century, when Abderraman, the first emir of Al-Andalus, was on his way from Ishbiliya to Qurtuba and he stopped to rest a little bit in the middle of the countryside between two olives trees. He took his white turban from his head and he tied it to the olive trees. At that moment he saw the flag of his emirate: green, white and green. But that is just a legend. The first historical references to this flag is from the 11th century in a poem written by the vizier Abu Asbag Ibn Arqam where he talks about “a green flag that has made a belt with the white dawn” in the alcazaba of Almeria. So we are talking about the oldest flag in Europe.
Actually, during Al-Andalus period there were a lot of different flags with the same colors. Here you have some examples:
If we go closer in time, we can find one more flag with these colors in Seville. The riot of the green flag was in 1521. The carpenter Antón Sánchez and the neighbors of Feria St., most of them descendants of the Al-Andalus population, started a riot due to the increase of the price of the bread against civil and noble power, mostly descendants of the Castillian conquerors. They stole the green flag from the church Omnium Sanctorum. It was in the church as a war trophy against the Almohads or the Nasrids (depending on the sources). The people used this flag as their emblem during the riot. Nowadays the church hang out the flag from the bell tower every time of the year they celebrate a religious procession in the neighborhood. I love this story so much that I show in some of my tours a green flag with the three white half moons made by my mother in law.
The present green flag was designed by Blas Infante, the father of the Andalusian Nation, in the beginning of the 20th century. The white color is a symbol of purity and the green color is a symbol of our Islamic history. The emblem recalls the Iberian and Roman periods. Hercules is the mythical founder of Cadiz and Hispalis, the first cities founded within the Roman Empire, but this hero is an evolution of the God Melqart, the god of the sun before the Romans conquered La Betica. In the emblem Hercules is dominating two lions, and they are between the two columns of the end of the world. Below Hercules and the lions you can read a phrase.
The official motto is “Andalusia for itself, Spain and the Humanity”, but nationalists change the word Spain for the words “los pueblos” (it means “the nations” or “the people”) because it is quite contradictory to pronounce the name of the State that oppresses Andalusia.
Nowadays, different political groups customize the flag in different ways. For example pro-independence people use the Andalusian flag with a red star, some others prefer the Tartessic start with eight points, and I have seen also pacifist and feminists symbols in the flag. In the end, where everybody agrees is in the green, white and green combination as Blas Infante did it. He also said that he took this two colors inspired by the women who in 1810 stirred up a rebellion against the French domination in Casares, his native town.
Are you visiting Andalusia? Maybe I can help you to organize your trip or I can be your guide. Penelope