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Rosal de la Frontera (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-12-20 by ivan sache
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Flag of Rosal de la Frontera - Image from the Símbolos de Huelva website, 4 September 2016

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Presentation of Rosal de la Frontera

The municipality of Rosal de la Frontera (1,750 inhabitants in 2015; 21,027 ha) is located 100 km north-west of Huelva, on the border (frontera) with Portugal.

Rosal de la Frontera emerged, according to Manuel Antonio Cortés Ballesteros (Rosal de la Frontera (Huelva). Un fruto tardío de la utopía ilustrada. Espacio, Tiempo y Forma, Serie IV, Ha Moderna 1995, 8, 319-330), as "a later fruit of the Enlightenment utopia". King Ferdinand VII was forced in March 1820 to recognize the Cádiz Constitution, which inaugurated the reformist period known as the Liberal Triennium (1820-1823). During these years the agrarian policy favoured by Charles III was reinstated, with a resume in the re-settlement of deserted areas, especially in Andalusia. Different Decrees published in June 1822 permitted the establishment of new settlements in municipalities suffering from a low density of population. The Decree signed on 22 June 1822 commissioned the Provincial Councils to organize the re-settlement.

In September 1822, Gaspar García, Deacon of the town of Aroche, submitted to the Provincial Council a petition signed by 260 villagers, which required the re-settlement of the old village of El Gallego, depopulated since its destruction in 1642 during the Spanish-Portuguese War. The re-settlement process was very similar to the re-colonization of the Sierra Morena ordered by Charles III one century earlier. The municipal territory of Aroche then spread over 70,860 ha, inhabited by slightly more than 2,000 inhabitants; most of the land was either barren or covered with holly oaks forests, which were, illegally, burned down to gain more arable land. The big size of the territory made the prevention of deforestation unmanageable.
Until the 17th century, the area was settled with several scattered hamlets. As reported by Pedro de León (1602) and Rodrigo Caro (1621), the inhabitants were shepherds speaking a specific language ("they speak neither our language nor Portuguese"). After the inhabitants had fled the villages during the war, the region became a no man's land; those "deserts" became a no-law zone and a den of smugglers and rascals from Jabugo, Aroche and Encinasola. Two carabineers heading to Rosal were killed in an ambush in 1858.
The demographic boom in Aroche was another reason for re-settlement of the "deserts". The population of the town increased from 550 households in 1808 to 660 in 1865, while income stagnated, causing the impoverishment of the workers. In 1835, Aroche counted 58 landowners, 212 landless workers, and 328 day labourers. The 1822 petition was signed by 31 small landowners, 45 workers, and 184 day labourers.

The request was validated by the Provincial Council on 6 May 1823. The restoration of Ferdinand VII's absolute power postponed the re-settlement project for another ten years, a period known as the Ominous Decade. In 1834, Martínez de la Rosa's government allowed the privatization of barren and crown lands; the foundation of the new village, allowed in August 1834, was facilitated by the re-establishment of the provincial Councils, effective in 1835. Three new villages were planned on the municipal territory of Aroche, in Valdosetella, El Valle de las Peñas, and Rosal. The territory granted to Rosal was delimited in December 1838. The organization was modelled on the Charter of the New Settlements of the Sierra Morena. After the abolishment of the Charter by the Regent in March 1835, the Provincial Council granted privileges and tax exemptions to the newly founded settlements.
Like in Espiel, Villaviciosa, La Rambla, Bailén, Seville and Villamartín, the notables of Aroche resisted for more than 30 years to the establishment of the new colony, which covered more than 30% of its original territory. Most colonists listed in 1844 came from Encinasola (31%) and CorteganaSanta Bárbara, whose municipal administration had been commissioned to manage the colonization process.

Ivan Sache, 4 September 2016

Symbols of Rosal de la Frontera

The flag of Rosal de la Frontera, adopted on 31 October 1997 by the Municipal Council and validated on 29 October 1998 by the Royal Academy of Córdoba,, is prescribed by Decree No. 263, adopted on 15 December 1998 by the Government of Andalusia and published on 12 January 1999 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 5, p. 427 (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 flag is described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular, in proportions 11 x 18, quartered per cross, 1. and 4. Yellow and 2. and 3. Green, charged with three parallel stripes perpendicular to the hoist, centered, of 1/8 of the length each, the first and the third, red, and the second, or central, white. Charged in the center with the local coat of arms.

The coat of arms of Rosal de la Frontera is prescribed by Royal Decree No. 3,280, adopted on 22 December 1978 and published on 29 January 1979 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 25, p. 2,238 (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 coat of arms is described as follows:

Coat of arms: [Per fess] 1. Or three roses gules, 2. Argent vert a wall argent surrounded by two Moorish towers. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed.

The Royal Academy of History validated the proposed coat of arms. The rose and the border fortifications make the arms canting.
[Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia 1979, 177:2, 413-414]

Ivan Sache, 4 September 2016