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Cantabrian labarum (Cantabria, Spain)

Lábaru cántabro

Last modified: 2015-03-07 by ivan sache
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Cantabrian labarum - Image by Jaume Ollé, 17 January 1996

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Cantabrian labarum

The Cantabrian independendist movement uses a flag named Cantabrian Labarum (Lábaru cántabro). In 1977 the United Cantabria Association (ATROPU) emerged in Santander, proposing to adopt this flag for the region. At the time all parties supported the proposal, but by 1978 only two parties maintained their support while the others supported the use of the flag of Santander Maritime Province, that is horizontally divided red-white. The red and white proposal was finally approved as the regional flag. However, the nationalistic groups maintained their support forthe labaru, and that has continued to the present day.

The central symbol, probably of Celtic origin, comes from the Barros stele. Found in the town of Barros, near Torrelavega, the stele dates back to 400 BC. Originally kept in the Prehistory Museum of Santander, the stele was repatriated to Barros, where it can be seen near the ancient chapel. Other similar symbols have since been found elsewhere.
The symbol is also featured in the lower part of the Cantabrian coat of arms.

Jaume Ollé, 17 January 1996

Cantabrian Nationalists claim that labaru is considered, together with another Iranian standard (probably Kaveh's flag), the oldest in the world. The claim is based on a story about Roman legions adopting a Celtic symbol found in northern Spain as their own, "as homage to the heroism of that people and the pride they had in having conquered it (...) as they used to do with emblems of conquered countries". I believe the Romans had no such tradition.

Santiago Dotor, 30 April 2002

Asociación de Defensa de los Intereses de Cantabria (ADIC) shall soon table at the Cantabrian Parliament a bill to grant the labaru flag an official status: the labaru should not replace the current red and white flag of Cantabria, but be considered as another official Cantabrian symbol. However, ADIC considers the labaru flag to be much more popular and representative than the red and white flag.
[El Diario Montañes, 20 May 2009]

Ivan Sache, 23 May 2009