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Nerva (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-12-20 by ivan sache
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Flag of Nerva - Image from the Símbolos de Huelva website, 2 September 2016

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Presentation of Nerva

The municipality of Nierva (5,514 inhabitants in 2015; 5,500 ha) is located on the border with the Province of Seville, half distance (80 km) of Huelva and Seville.

Nerva was first mentioned in 1566 as a small group of huts known as Nuestra Señora de Riotinto. The hamlet of Riotinto was renamed in 1885, when separating from Zalamea la Real to form an independent municipality. The place was renamed for the Roman Emperor Nerva (30-98; crowned in 96); on 31 July 1762, miners found in a mine of the village a Roman copper plate engraved with the name of the emperor.
The prehistoric settlement of La Parrita is considered as the oldest mining camp in the mining basin of Huelva. Maintained by the Tartessians, the Phoenicians and the Ibero-Romans, mining industry declined in the Middle Ages, being superseded by agriculture and cattle-breeding. The mines were reactivated in the 18th century, under the influence of Philip V, and, mostly, Charles III. Massive industrialization was started in 1876 by the Riotinto Company Limited. Mining industry declined in the 1950s.

Jos&ecute; Díaz del Real (1862-1933) is the symbol of the social and political struggle that took place in Nerva in the beginning of the 20th century. After having resigned from the army and joined the PSOE, Díaz del Real served from 1918 to 1920 as the Mayor of Nerva. In 1918, he convinced the mining companies to hire local, unemployed workers, which contributed the solve the employment crisis in the mining basin. In 1919, he promoted, together with the Riotinto Company Limited, the establishment in Nerva of a "common kitchen" aimed at feeding the poorest workers.

Nerva is the birth place of the painter Daniel Vázquez Díaz (1882-1969). Inspired by the cubist painters and Zurbaran, Daniel Vázquez Díaz portrayed several celebrities, such as Miguel de Unamuno. In 1930, he decorated the monastery of La Rábida with frescos (1930). Appointed Professor of Decorative Painting in the School of Fine Arts of San Fernando in 1936 and Professor of Mural Painting from 1940 to 1952, he taught most of the painters who would renovate the Spanish art after the Civil War. In 1962, the 80th anniversary of the painter was celebrated by a big exhibition organized in Madrid, while the town awarded him the title of "Adoptive Son". The Province of Huelva eventually honoured him on 12 March 1969, five days before his death.
[Vázquez Díaz Foundation]

Ivan Sache, 2 September 2016

Symbols of Nerva

The flag (photo, photo, photo) and arms of Nerva were adopted in 2000 by the Municipal Council. The registration process does not appear to have been completed yet.
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Three parallel stripes perpendicular to the hoist, of equal size. The first and the third, celestial blue, and the second, or central, white. Charged in the center with the local coat of arms.
Coat of arms: Or a heron proper holding a broken chain sable in the beak the other parts of the chain on the base vert. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed.

Juan José Antequera proposed on 16 October 1995 a different flag, described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular, in proportions 11 x 18, dark yellow in chief a green chevron. Charged in the center with the coat of arms.

The arms, also proposed on 16 October 1995 by Juan José Antequera, are a "rehabilitation" of the arms used since 1885, These arms were of oval shape, decorated with lambresquins charged with a scroll inscribed with "Nerva, 1885, Villa de la Libertad", sometimes placed on a bordure.
The Royal heron breaking chains alludes to the emancipation from Zalamea la Real.
[Juan José Antequera. Principios de transmisibilidad en las heráldicas officiales de Sevilla, Córdoba y Huelva]

Ivan Sache, 2 September 2016