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Begíjar (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2019-09-16 by ivan sache
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Flag of Begíjar - Image from the Símbolos de Jaén website, 31 August 2018

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Presentation of Begíjar

The municipality of Begíjar (3,073 inhabitants in 2017, 4,300 ha; municipal website) is located in the center of the Province of Jaén, 10 km south-west of Baeza.

Begíjar, located in the rich plain of Guadalquivir, was already settled in the Prehistoric times, as evidenced by the archeological sites of Las Majadillas (3rd millennium BC, late Neolithic and Age of Bronze) and Terrera del Goterón (Age of Copper).
Remains from an Iberian fortification were found near the railway station, yielding typical pieces of painted pottery. The territory was densely settled during the Roman period, with several villae, such as Piedra Hincada, La Vega del Obispo, Las Delicias and La Casa del Amor Hermoso.

Known during the Islamic period as Buxexal, the village was seized in 1226 by King Ferdinand III the Saint (r. 1217-1252), at the same time as Baeza. It was subsequently fiercely disputed between the Council of Baeza and the Bishop of Jaén, who competed for the income supplied by agriculture. Ferdinand III eventually granted Begíjar to Baeza, as part of the royal domain, soon to transfer the village to the Order of Calatrava; this was confirmed in 1254 by Alfonso X the Wise (r. 1252-1284). Another part of the village was transferred to the Bishop of Toledo. In 1249, the whole village was eventually offered to the Bishop of Jaén.
Once century later, Begíjar was taken over by Alfonso XI (r. 1331-1350) from Enrique Enríquez (d. 1366), Adelante Mayor of the Border, and transferred again to Baeza. In the 15th century, Bishop Rodrigo de Narváez (in office, 1383-1422) incorporated the castle of Begíjar to the Bishopric of Jaén, causing the wrath of the Council of Baeza. Begíjar was soon an outpost held by the Bishop of Jaén and the Council of Baeza against Jaén, which was controlled by Constable Lucas de Iranzo (1453-1473) on behalf of Henry IV (r. 1454-1474). In 1477, the Catholic Monarchs partially confirmed the right of the Bishop of Jaén on the village, which remained a main residence for the bishops until the 19th century. The bishops welcomed here celebrities, such as Philip II (r. 1556-1598) and the writer Miguel de Cervantes y Saavedra (1547-1616).
Begíjar was granted in 1779 the title of villa by Charles III (r. 1759-1788), definitively separating from Baeza.

Begíjar is the birth place of the writer Patrocinio de Biedma y la Moneda (1848-1927). After the death of her first husband, she moved in 1877 to Cádiz with Princess Ratazzi, where she founded the review Cádiz. Artes, Letras y Ciencias. She re-married in 1881 with José Rodríguez y Rodríguez, Chief Archivist at the Cádiz Provincial Government and director of Crónica Gadetana, who would die in 1914.
Organizer in 1888 of the Congress for Childhood Protection in Cádiz, she was appointed in 1898 Vice President of the Spanish section of Ligue des femmes pour le désarmement internationl (Women's League for International Disarmament).
Patrocinio de Biedma y la Moneda published her poems and novels in Jaén, Barcelona, Valencia, and Madrid, and, mostly, in Cádiz (more than 100 works).
[Spanish National Library]

Ivan Sache, 31 August 2018

Symbols of Begíjar

The flag of Begíjar, adopted on 13 July 2018 by the Municipal Council, is prescribed by a Resolution adopted on 24 July 2018 by the Directorate General of the Local Administration and published on 30 July 2018 in the Andalusian official gazette, No. 146, pp. 80-81 (text).
The flag is described as follows.

Flag: Rectangular, in proportions 2:3, width to length. Crimson red panel's background.
In the center of the flag is featured the gate of the Town Hall. The gate is composed of a semi-circular arch surrounded by two fluted columns over a pedestal and surmounted by a rectangular frieze. At the bottom of the gate are two parallel lines representing two furrows in plowed land. In the center of the upper furrow is placed a small inverted pyramid, a symbol of fertility and an allusion to the original location of the Iberian-Roman settlement in Piedra Hincá (lit. Planted Stone). The gate, the furrows and the pyramid constitute the flag's main charge, in pomegranate color, forming a whole whose proportions are 4/10 of the flag's width in width and 3/10 of the flag's width in length.
In the four cardinal points of an imaginary circle whose center matches the flag's center and whose radius is 3/10 of the flag's width, are placed four white stars in vertical position, symbolizing knowledge. Each star is inscribed in an imaginary circle in radius 0.4/10 of the flag's width.
In the center of the flag's upper part is a five-pointed star, in the center of the flag's fly is a four-pointed star, and in the center of the flag's lower part is an eight-pointed star, and in the hoist's center is a six-pointed star.

The gate of the Town Hall of Begíjar is the only original part of the monument, which was built in 1560-1576 by Ginés Martínez de Aranda. The columns are decorated with Corinthian capitals. The upper frieze is inscribed with the names of the Council members who ordered the erection of the building (Juan Rascón, Francisco Cerón, Bartolomé García, Alonso Linares and Juan Ortiz) and year "1561". The capital on the right side is inscribed "1808", most probably the year of reconstruction of the Town Hall.
[Francisco Miguel Merino Laguna]

The flag was hoisted for the first time on 22 September 2018 on Plaza del Ayuntamiento; the town's main square. The flag was designed by Pedro Molina Martínez, an art historian. The adoption of a flag was part of the election program of Mayor Damián Martínez Resola.
According to the designer, the flag was created as "a symbol of concord and union among the town, as well as a symbol of universality and greatness".
The crimson color of the panel is the same as on Felipe VI's royal standard, recalling that the flag of Begíjar was adopted under his reign. The main element of the flag represents the gate of the Town Hall, which served as the building of the old council and as a grain barn. "The gate represents the house of all the inhabitants of Begíjar, whatever their race and faith. This is the gate most representative of living together in peace, respect and liberty in a state of rights like Spain."
In the north, the five-pointed star represents the Pole Star, which is also featured on the flag of the European Union. In the east, the four-pointed star represents the Star of Bethlehem. In the south, the eight-pointed star represents the eight centuries of Muslim presence. In the west, the Star of David represents the Sephardi star.
[Diario Jaén, 21 September 2018; Diario Jaén, 23 September 2018]

Ivan Sache, 6 October 2018