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Alcalá de los Gazules (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2015-09-07 by ivan sache
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Flag of Alcalá de los Gazules - Image from the Símbolos de Cadíz website, 23 March 2014

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Presentation of Alcalá de los Gazules

The municipality of Alcalá de los Gazules (5,439 inhabitants in 2013; 47,959 ha; municipal website) is located in the heart of the Alcornocales Natural Park, 70 km east of Cádiz.

Alcalá de los Gazules was already settled in the Upper Paleolithic; the Iron Stone (Lajas de los Hierros) is engraved with signs believed to represent iron brands used by early cattle breeders. The Lascuta Bronze, dated 189 BC and kept in the Louvre Museum (Paris), was found in the Mesa del Esparragal site; it is the oldest knon Roman inscription ever found in Spain. The site was further settled by the Visigoths, who erected a tower, still visible, and the disappeared chapel of the New Saints, which kept relics of Sts. Servan and German (martyred in Gades / Cádiz in 305), Saturnin (martyred in Toulouse in 257), Justa and Rufina (martyred in Hispalis / Seville in 287), and, last but not least, of St. John: those relics are located now, together with the stone identifying them, in the St. George parish church.
After the Moorish conquest, the village was renamed Qalat at Yazula (Castle of the Gazules), granted by the King of Granada to the Gazules tribe, and incorporated to the cora of Algeciras. The modern name of the town was coined by King Alfonso X the Wise in the Chronicle relating the reconquest of the town in 1264. Years later, the town was transfered to the Ribera, Dukes of Alcalá.
The town was granted the title of ciudad by Alfonso XII in June 1876 The old downtown was proclaimed an Historical nd Artistical Monument in 1984.

Ivan Sache, 23 March 2014

Symbols of Alcalá de los Gazules

The flag (photo) and arms of Alcalá de los Gazules, adopted on 10 June 1991 by the Municipal Council and approved on 26 June 1992 by the Royal Academy of History, are prescribed by Decree No. 185, adopted on 13 October 1992 by the Government of Andalusia and published on 1 December 1992 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 124, pp. 9,847-9,848 (text). This was confirmed by a Decree 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 panel, horizontally divided in two equal parts, the upper crimson red and the lower blue. In the middle is placed the municipal coat of arms surmounted by a Royal Spanish crown.
Coat of arms: Modification of the blazon of the second quarter (Arms of the Ribera, Dukes of Alcalá). The authentic blazon of these arms is "Or three fesses vert. The shield surmounted by a Royal Spanish crown".

The arms of Alcalá de los Gazules were originally prescribed by Decree No.2,175, adopted on 16 August 1969 by the Spanish Government and published on 1 October 1969 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 235, p. 15,391 (text).
The arms, validated by the Royal Academy of History, were described as follows:

Coat of arms: Per fess, 1a. Quarterly Castile and León, 1b. Or fives fesses vert (Ribera), 2. Azure a St. George armed argent riding a horse of the same trampling a dragon vert and or. The shield surmounted by a Ducal coronet.

The arms recall different periods of the local history. The first quarter shows the arms of Castile and León, granted in 1264 by Alfonso the Wise to the Town Council. The second quarter shwos the arms of the Ribera, recalling that the town was granted to Per Afán de Ribera, 4th Count of los Molares and 2nd Marquis of Tarifa. The third quarter represents the town's patron saint, St. George, recalling that the town was reconquerred on 23 April, a date still celebrated by a religious festival.
[Símbolos de las Entidades Locales de Andalucía. Cádiz (PDF file)]

Klaus-Michael Schneider & Ivan Sache, 3 May 2014