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Beas de Segura (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-06-02 by ivan sache
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Flag of Beas de Segura - Image by Ivan Sache, 1 December 2015

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Presentation of Beas de Segura

The municipality of Beas de Segura (5,542 inhabitants in 2014; 16,030 ha; municipal website) is located 125 km north-east of Jaén. The municipality is made of the town of Beas and of the villages of Cañada Catena (164 inh.), Cuevas de Ambrosio (126 inh.) and Prados de Armijo (84 inh.).

Beas de Segura is of unknown etymology. The name of the town might have been derived from the old Castilian word vega, "a fertile plain", itself derived from Iberian vaika. Beas was already settled in the prehistoric times, as evidenced by artefacts found near the Roman bridge, one of the oldest archeological sites in the Province, kept in the Provincial Museum in Jaén. The Roman bridge over river Guadalimar is of genuine Roman origin (2nd-3rd century); it might have been located on the bifurcation of the Via Augusta mentioned by Strabo as Saltus Castulonenis. Such a strategic location is compatible with the big size of the bridge.

In the Middle Ages, Beas was watched by a fortress of possible Muslim origin. Totally disappeared, the fortress is described in the Relaciones published in 1468 by Francisco de León, Commander of the Order of St. James. The fortress was indeed a small citadel equipped with a well and protected by four towers and two gates. Its main goal was to provide shelter to the population in case of Muslim raid. Conquered in 1235 by King Ferdinand III the Saint, Beas was transferred in 1239 to the Order of St. James.

In 1575, St. Teresa of Jesus (1515-1582) travelled from Salamanca to Beas de Segura, where she established on 25 February the Discalced Carmelites convent of San José del Salvador; the convent was funded by two local noble dames, Catalina Godinez and Maria de Sandoval, who took the coat. St. John of the Cross (1542-1592), released in August 1577 from the jail of Toledo, was appointed Prior of the Calvary convent, located a few leagues from Beas. He often visited the nuns of Beas and redacted Las Caudelas for their use.
The writer Francisco de Quevedo (1580-1645) often stayed in Beas, in Sancho de Sandoval's house, maintaining a long correspondence (1635-1645) with his host.

Ivan Sache, 1 December 2015

Symbols of Beas de Segura

The flag (photo, photo) and arms of Beas de Segura, adopted on 28 July 2009 by the Municipal Council and submitted on 31 July 2009 to the Directorate General of the Local Administration, is prescribed by a Resolution adopted on 2 September 2009 by the Directorate General of the Local Administration and published on 21 September 2009 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 185, p. 41 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular flag, with proportions of 2 to 3 between the width and the length, Vertically divided 1:5, the stripe at hoist checky of three orders argent (white) and vert (green). The remaining part of the field or panel is horizontally divided until the fly in two equal stripes, the first, or upper, gules (red), the second, or lower, itself divided in six stripes in turn argent and azure (blue). The staff shall be a cordon vertically divided or (yellow), gules (red) and argent (white).
Coat of arms: Vert a two-arched Roman bridge argent masoned sable over a river wavy of four argent and azure charged with a trout proper. On the bridge a castle argent masoned sable. The castle and the bridge charged with a Cross of St. James gules. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown open. A cartouche inscribed with the motto "MUY NOBLE E MUY LEAL VILLA DE VEAS".

The historical coat of arms of the town is described in Philip II's Relaciones topográficas as follows: "A tower on a bridge over a river, a trout in the river ... these arms mean that the town can not be entered by any Royal road if not crossing the river and the bridge".
[Municipal website]

The symbols, designed by Antonio Yuste, the Official Chronicler of the town, were presented on 12 December 2009.
[Cosas de Beas, 9 December 2009]

Ivan Sache, 1 December 2015