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Santa Olalia del Cala (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-12-20 by ivan sache
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Flag of Santa Olalia del Cala - Image from the Símbolos de Huelva website, 6 September 2016

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Presentation of Santa Olalia del Cala

The municipality of Santa Olalia del Cala (2,010 inhabitants in 2015; 20,400 ha) is the north-easternmost municipality in the province, located 150 km of Huelva, on the border with the Province of Seville and with Extremadura (Province of Badajoz).

Santa Olalla del Cala is watched by a castle erected in the 13th century in Gothic-Mudéjar style on a hill dominating the village (540 m asl). The castle was built by the Council of Seville upon request of King Sancho IV. The rectangular fortress is defended by four semicircular and six square towers.
The town was the seat of the headquarters of the Naval infantry during the French invasion; the period is recalled by an anchor-shaped monument erected in 1970-1971 and an assault cannon offered in 2000 by the Naval Infantry.

Ivan Sache, 6 September 2016

Symbols of Santa Olalia del Cala

The flag (photo, photo) and arms of Santa Olalla del Cala were adopted on 29 November 1994 by the Municipal Council. After the rejection of the proposed symbols by the Royal Academy of History, the municipality failed to submit a new proposal in due time; accordingly, the registration process was declared null and void by a Resolution adopted on 21 July 1997 by the Directorate General of the Local Administration and published on 21 August 1997 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 97, p. 10,186 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular, in proportions 11 x 18. Quartered per cross, 1. and 4. White, 2. Red, and 3. Green. Charged in the center with the local coat of arms.
Coat of arms: Per pale, 1a. Gules a castle or masoned sable port and windows azure, 1b. Argent a lion rampant purpure crowned or langued and armed gules, 2. Vert a tree or on waves argent and azure. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed.

The symbols were proposed on 19 October 1994 by Juan José Antequera.
The municipality started in 1893 to stamp official documents with a circular ink seal featuring a tree surrounded dexter by a tower with three crenels (probably aimed at representing a castle) and sinister by a lion rampant chained to the trunk of the tree, the whole standing on waves. Colour reproductions show a shield in French shape, without crown, with the field azure, the tree vert, the tower and the lion proper, and the base vert charged with waves sable. The name of the town is inscribed above the tree. These arms are similar to those designed at the same period by the heraldist Manuel S. Lao for several municipalities that formerly belonged to the Council of Seville. The castle and the lion must recall Royal privileges granted to the town.

The proposed coat of arms was rejected on 30 June 1995 by the Royal Academy of History. The Academy found the tinctures "arbitrary and inadequate" and questioned the adaptation of the old seal, deemed not compliant with the rules of heraldry. The inclusion of the arms of Castile and León is not really relevant, since those charges are a modern, "whimsical" addition. However, would the municipality maintain them on the arms, they have to be arranged in a bordure compony, in a partition of the chief, or as a mantel, but there is no reason to place them directly in the field. There is no reason, either, to use odd tinctures when representing the tree, or on vert; the usual representation is vert on argent.
Accordingly, the Academy proposed to amend the arms to "Argent a tree vert on waves a bordure compony Castile and León. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed."
The Academy validated the proposed flag, provided the coat of arms is amended as suggested.

The designer sent a rebuttal on 21 September 1995, arguing, among other, that the Academy had already validated proposals of arms featuring the emblems of Castile and León in the field and that the charges placed in the bordure would be too small to be easily identified. Moreover, the use of the bordure compony Castile and León should be reserved to old Councils, such as Murcia, Córdoba, Granada, and Jaén. The use of the bordure by noble lineages, such as the Dukes of Medina Sidonia and Frías, the Counts of Benavente, and the Marquis of Astorga and Villanueva del Fresno, and by corporations, is abusive; Menéndez Pidal (Heráldica medieval española, 1982) reports that the Catholic Monarchs prohibited in 1480 the use of the Royal arms "as an orle", "orle" being in medieval heraldry a synonym of "bordure". As for the "odd" tinctures used, the designer pointed out, once again, the inconsistent assessments of the Academy, who validated the proposed arms of Almadén de la Plata, which features a poplar argent on a field vert. A tree argent on a field vert is used in the registered arms of two municipalities in the Province of Huelva, seven in the Province of Seville, three in the Province of Cádiz, and four in the Province of Córdoba.

The rejection of the proposed arms was confirmed on 1 March 1996 by the Royal Academy of Córdoba. The Academy pointed out that the Royal Decree on the local symbols, adopted on 31 January 1995, prohibits the use of more than two quarters in municipal arms, and reiterated the points put forward by the Royal Academy of History.
The designer of the proposal submitted a new rebuttal, pointing out that the proposal had been submitted before the adoption of the Royal Decree prohibiting the use of more than two quarters.
[Juan José Antequera. Principios de transmisibilidad en las heráldicas officiales de Sevilla, Córdoba y Huelva]

Ivan Sache, 6 September 2016