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Spain: Flags derived from the national flag

Last modified: 2021-05-22 by ivan sache
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Flags with the Osborne bull

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Flag with the Osborne bull, two versions - Images by José Carlos Alegría, 14 September 2002

Osborne, Spanish makers of sherry, brandy and port, was founded in 1772 by a British immigrant, Thomas Osborne Mann. Osborne's bull was a commercial trade mark of Osborne but the wide presence of the bull all across Spanish roads made it a very popular symbol in the Spanish countryside. When traffic regulations forbade roadside advertisements there was a popular movement in order to permit Osborne's bull to remain in our landscapes. The final resolution was that the bulls could remain but with no words (Osborne) on them.
The Osborne bull is, however, not necessarily associated with Osborne, but is a symbol of hispanidad ("spanishness").

The Spanish flag with the black Osborne bull is increasingly becoming a supporters' flag at all sort of sporting events. Most surprising was a picture of Spanish Foreign Legion soldiers folding one of these flags, as they were preparing to leave Perejil Island after the 2002 events there.
Those flags are sold everywhere in Spain, except maybe in Catalonia and the Basque Country. The bull is featured on the flag in varying sizes.

Santiago Tazon, José Carlos Alegría, António Martins & Klaus-Michael Schneider, 22 June 2009

Flag of the 500th anniversary of the Spanish discoveries


Flag of the 500th anniversary of the Spanish discoveries - Image by António Martins, 26 August 2003

A Spanish national flag charged with the official logo of the event celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Spanish discoveries was released in 1992. Mass-produced, the flag was not official, though.

António Martins, 26 August 2003

Pink-stained Spanish flag


Pink-stained Spanish flag, as designed by Esvin Alarcón Lam

The artist Esvin Alarcón Lam, from Guatemala, designed a pink-stained Spanish national flag as a tribute to another artist, Pepe Espaliú (Córdoba, 1955-1993).

By different performances, Espaliú was among the first peoples in Spain to make what is now called a "coming-out" on his homosexuality and AIDS disease. At the time, this meant breaking a taboo. On 1 December 1992 (AIDS Day), he marched from the Congress to Queen Sofia Museum with naked feet never touching the soil, as a symbol of exclusion; the performance; called "Carrying" was made possible by dozen volunteers who carried the artist in their arms; among them was Carmen Romero, the wife of the then Prime Minister, Felipe González.
Lam and his fellows have re-enacted "Carrying", carrying this time the pink-stained flag on the same route as during the original performance.

On the stained flag, Esvin Alarcón Lam substituted the imperialist motto "Plus Ultra" by "Abya Yala", a native name of the American continent.
In the aftermath of the recent proliferation on Spanish national flags on balconies (connected to the Catalan crisis), Lam hoisted the flag on the balcony of his apartment, flanked by a green flag, as used in international marches for the depenalization of abortion, and a purple flag, as a well-known symbol of feminism.
[El País, 29 February 2020]

Ivan Sache, 13 March 2000