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Gualeguaychú Department, Entre Ríos Province, Argentina

Last modified: 2021-12-24 by rob raeside
Keywords: gualeguaychú department | entre ríos province | argentina |
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Municipality of Gualeguaychú

[Bovril flag] image by Ivan Sache, 25 May 2017

The municipality of Gualeguaychú (97,839 inhabitants in 2010) is located in the south-east of the Entre Ríos Province, 25 km of the border with Uruguay and 230 km of Buenos Aires.

Gualeguaychú was first mentioned, as a river, in 1715, when the priest Policarpo Dufó was hired as the chaplain of a military expedition sent to tame the rebelled natives. The town was officially founded on 18 October 1783 by Tomás de Rocamora, as San José de Gualeguaychú and granted the status of "ciudad" on 4 November 1851. The municipality was established on 6 January 1873.

The legendary foundation of the town was related by the local poet José Sixto Álvarez, aka Fray Mocho (Tonsured Friar), probably recalling an oral tradition. In 1600, Gonzalo Pérez de la Viña, desperately searching for a woman whose track he had lost, crossed a river rising his horse; since the water level was too high, he eventually to swim to reach the other side. Attacked by a bull, Gonzalo ran away and came across a viper, whose venom was known to cause quick death. After the man had implored his patron, St. Joseph, to help him, the bull rushed to the viper, forced it to withdraw and eventually killed it. Year later, Gonzalo Pérez de la Viña rewarded the saint's intercession by erecting a chapel on the site of the miracle.

Gualeguaychú is a toponym of Guarani origin, whose meaning is still a matter of conjecture. In his book "Entrerrianías", the journalist Mario Alarcón Muñiz has compiled several etymological proposals Pérez Colman, quoting Luis F. Deletang, believes that the first part of the name comes from "guagua", an onomatopoeia describing water, while its second pat would be a corruption of "chué", "a tortoise"; the whole name would refer to the slow flow of the river. Deletang proposed an alternative explanation, referring to "chuá", "a sharp object"; here the peaks in the river that make navigation hazardous. Benigno Tejeiro Martínez claims that the name of the town is derived from "guaguachuy", "a river with caves or wells". Josefa Buffa interprets Gualeguaychú as a Spanish bastardization of Yaguarí Guazú, a name shown on some maps, meaning the Great Jaguar River. - Sidecreer, 9 March 2011

On 30 April 2005, 10,000 to 20,000 protesters blocked the Libertador General San Martín Bridge, which connects Gualeguaychú to Fray Bentos (Uruguay), starting the crisis known as the River Uruguay pulp mill dispute. The crisis broke out after Uruguay had granted to he Spanish company ENCE (Empresa Nacional de Celulosas de España) a permit to build a pulp mill on the bank of river Uruguay, the project was eventually cancelled on 21 September 2006 by its promoters. In the meantime, the Finnish Oy Metsä-Botnia AB company built the Orion pulp mill in a nearby site; production started on 9 November 2007. Local protesters, who did not lift the pressure and organized the blockade of the bridge received provincial - from the governor and the bishop to the Carnival queen - and national support; Argentina eventually filed on 4 May 2006 an application against Uruguay at the International Court of Justice. The final ruling, issued on 20 April 2010, is the following:

"The Court finds that Uruguay has breached its procedural obligations to co-operate with Argentina and the Administrative Commission of the River Uruguay (CARU) during the development of plans for the CMB (ENCE)and Orion (Botnia) pulp mills. The Court declares that Uruguay has not breached its substantive obligations for the protection of the environment provided for by the Statute of the River Uruguay by authorizing the construction and commissioning of the Orion (Botnia) mill." - International Court of Justice. Pulp Mills on the River Uruguay (Argentina v. Uruguay)

The flag of Gualeguaychú is prescribed by Ordinance No. 11,955, adopted on 18 June 2015 by the Municipal Council.

The flag was selected in a public contest prescribed by Ordinance No. 11,819, adopted on 15 August 2013 by the Municipal Council. The contest was organized by Decree No. 1,242, adopted on 13 June 2014 by the Municipal Executive; the Asociación Argentina de Vexilología was commissioned as the official assessor of the contest. Beside the usual recommendations, the proportions of the flag were fixed as 9:14, to match those of the national and provincial flag. The jury unanimously adopted on 18 May 2015 proposal No. 104, submitted under the pseudonym of Yaguarisito, with the following rationale:
"The meandering presence of your river,
The waving horizon of the rounded hills,
The legend of your origin,
The powerful historical action, Gualeguaychú".
The colours were described as:
"Green, for the fields and the natural environment;
Yellow, for the beaches and arable land;
Celestial blue for the sky and water".

The jury highlighted the aesthetic impact of the design, the originality of the distribution of the components of the image, the synthesis of the shapes and colours to allude to the local and regional element and features of great symbolic value for the inhabitants of the town, such as the legend of the origin of the town, the river, hills, beaches and arable land, as well as the eleven stars representing the districts that form the department. In agreement with Article 7 of the contest rules, the jury proposed to change the background colours from celestial blue for an alternative shade that would increase contrast, and to incorporate in a smooth line the Federalist red colour, as characteristic of the idiosyncrasy of the town.

The official jury statement, released on 21 May 2015, named the author of the flag as Francisco Melchiori. The author kindly accepted the shade modification proposed by the jury; the red line, however, was not added as recommended, because of the incompatibility with the other colours and its negative impact on the original design.

The colours are prescribed as follows:
Celestial blue background RGB 62-152-212 CMYK 71-28-0-0 Pantone 2925 C
Dark green RGB 7-94-23 CMYK 87-37-100-31 Pantone 3425 C
Median green RGB 78-135-7 CMYK 74-25-100-8 Pantone 370 C
Light green RGB 173-204-110 CMYK 40-1-68-0 Pantone 367 C
Yellow RGB 237-224-156 CMYK 10-9-47-0 Pantone 7402 C - Gualepedia

Press reports - Diario El Argentino, 19 May 2015 - Revista Analisis de la Actualidad, 19 May 2015 - Diario La Provincia, 19 May 2015

The flag was inaugurated on 20 June 2015

Photos - Uno Entre Ríos, 21 June 2015 - El Once, 21 June 2015 - El Once, 18 June 2016

Other sightings - Colegio Las Victorias, 4 June 2015 - Municipality, 21 October 2016 - 7 December 2016 - Maxima Online, 19 August 2016

The flag hoisted during the inauguration ceremony had a lighter shade of blue than the copies subsequently used.

Ivan Sache, 25 May 2017