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Lepe (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-12-20 by ivan sache
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Flag of Lepe - Image by Ivan Sache, 31 August 2016; coat of arms from the Símbolos de Huelva website

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Presentation of Lepe

The municipality of Lepe (27,675 inhabitants in 2015, therefore the 2nd most populated municipality in the province; 12,794 ha; municipal website) is located 30 km west of Huelva and 20 km of the border with Portugal. The municipality is made of the town of Lepe and of the villages of El Terrón (92 inh.), Islantilla (pro parte, 733 inh.), La Barca (13 inh.), La Antilla (1,565 inh.), and Pinares de Lepe (331 inh.).
Lepe is Spain's capital of strawberry ultivation. Citrus cultivation, targeted to the same market, developed more recently.
El Terrón is the registration port for trawlers practising traditional tuna fishing in the Gulf of Cádiz and along the Moroccan coast. The main source of income in Lepe, however, is tourism; the municipality has four white sand beaches (La Antilla, Nueva Umbría, Santa Pura, and Islantilla, the latter recently established jointly with the neighbouring municipality of Isla Cristina), stretching over 27 km.

Lepe, most probably established during the Roman period, was under the Muslim domination the capital of the coastal region. After the Christian reconquest, Lepe was transferred to the Order of the Temple; after the suppression of the Order, Lepe was acquired by the Guzm&aacut;n lineage, which would rule it until the middle of the 15th century. After a long family quarrel, Juan Alonso de Guzm&aacut;n transferred Lepe to his daughter, Teresa de Guzm&aacut;n, who married Pedro de Zúñiga, Marquis of Ayamonte. Lepe belonged to the Marquisate of Ayamonte until the first third of the 19th century.

The seamen from Lepe were involved in several expeditions to the African coasts; Rodrigo Pérez de Acevedo, a member of Colombus' first expedition, was the first to spot the American coast on 12 October 1492, as reported in Francisco López de Gómara's La historia de las Indias y conquista de México (1552). The discoverer is also known as Rodrigo de Triana, for a borough of Seville where he spent a part of his life and which is believed by some historians to be his actual birth place.
The Spanish expedition that discovered River Plate in 1516, led by Juan Díaz de Solís (1470-1516), was secretly organized in Lepe.

Lepe is the birth town of Álvaro Alonso Barba (1569-1662).
Emigrated to Peru as a parish priest, Barba published in 1640 Arte de los metales en que se enseña el verdadero beneficio de los de oro, y plata por azogue. El modo de fundirlos todos y como se han de refinar, y apartar unos de otros, a detailed account of silver resources in South America; the book described the "pot method", invented by Barba to extract silver from boiling material. Back to Spain, Barba studied the Riotinto mines and several Roman mines located in the Province of Huelva. Aged 90, he related his findings in Relación de Río Tinto, a book unfortunately lost.
Translated into French, English and German, Barba's Artes de los metales is considered as the most advanced metallurgy treatise of the time, superseding the early works of the German alchemist Georgius Agricola (1494-1565).

Ivan Sache, 31 August 2016

Symbols of Lepe

The flag and arms of Lepe, adopted on 14 March 1988 by the Municipal Council and validated on 18 November 1988 by the Royal Academy of History, are prescribed by Decree No. 92, adopted on 3 May 1989 by the Government of Andalusia and published on 12 May 1989 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 37, p. 1,801 (text). This was confirmed by a Resolution adopted on 30 November 2004 by the Government of Andalusia 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, in proportions 11 x 18, made of three parallel stripes perpendicular to the hoist. The first, blue, the second, white, and the third, green. The width of the first and the third stripes shall be 2/7 of the flag's width, and that of the central, white stripe, 3/7 of the same. Charged in the center with the coat of arms.
Coat of arms: Rectangular, rounded-off in base, in Spanish style, in proportions 5 x 6. Per fess, 1. Azure a castle argent masoned sable port and windows gules surrounded dexter by a gryphon argent and by a branch of rosebay fructed proper inbetween, 2. Argent the figure of Rodrigo Pérez de Acevedo [proper] about to discover the New World. [Crown not mentioned].

The flags in actual use (photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo) have stripes of equal width.

The flag originally proposed on 20 February 1986 by José Antonio Delgado y Orellana was charged in the middle of the central stripe with a fig leaf. The Royal Academy of History recommended to use three leaves instead of one, as shown on the proposed coat of arms (see below). The Municipal Council turned down the two proposals, eventually adding the municipal coat of arms in the central stripe.
The colours of the flag were taken from the coat of arms. A popular explanation, however, alludes to the colours of Huelva (blue and white) and of Andalusia (green and white). Blue is also said to represent the sky, white the houses, and green the fields.
[Lepe' Tourist Board blog]

The arms were proposed on 20 February 1986 by José Antonio Delgado y Orellana.
The arms are a "rehabilitation" of the coat of arms of immemorial use, which features a tower, surrounded dexter by a dragon and sinister by a branch of rosebay. A revision was required because the arms were not compliant with the most elementary laws of heraldry and because the symbolic was unachieved, thus reflecting only partially the idiosyncrasy of Lepe. The second quarter of the original proposal was "Argent three fig leaves vert 1 + 2", recalling the numerous fig trees growing on the municipal territory; moreover, fig trees are "eminently" heraldic charges, easy to identify. The Municipal Council asked to substitute the figure of Rodrigo Pérez de Acevedo to the leaves.
The Royal Academy of History recognized the relevance of the design eventually adopted by the Municipal Council but recommended to come back to the early proposal, arguing that it would be difficult to represent a specific human figure with arbitrary elements, as requested by the laws of heraldry. For whatever reason, the design finally adopted did not follow the requirements of the Academy.

The castle and the gryphon are a tribute to Alonso P&ecute;rez de Guzmán, aka the Good Guzmán. A legend claims that Guzmán once killed a mighty beast that threatened the population of Fes (Morocco). The rosebay has been shown on the arms of Lepe for centuries.
[Juan José Antequera. Principios de transmisibilidad en las heráldicas officiales de Sevilla, Córdoba y Huelva]

Ivan Sache, 31 August 2016

Club Atletismo de Lepe


Flag of Club Atletismo de Lepe - Image by Ivan Sache, 31 August 2016; coat of arms from the Símbolos de Huelva website

The race walker Laura Garcáa-Caro (b. 1985), who competed in the women's 20 km event at the 2015 World Championships in Athletics in Beijing (32nd, 1:36:22'), posed (photo) with the flag of her birth town, charged with "CLUB ATLETISMO" and "CIUDAD DE LEPE" in the upper and lower stripe, respectively.

Ivan Sache, 31 August 2016