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Antequera (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2017-01-05 by ivan sache
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Presentation of Antequera

The municipality of Antequera (41,141 inhabitants in 2015, 81,039 ha, therefore the biggest municipality in the province by its area and the 11th in Spain; municipal website) is located 80 km north of Málaga. The municipality is made of the town of Antequera (c. 30,000 inh.), of the submunicipal entity of Bobadilla Estación (1,200 inh.), and of the villages of Bobadilla Pueblo (300 inh.), Cartaojal (1,000 inh.), Los Llanos de Antequera (200 inh.), Cañadas de Pareja (150 inh.), Colonia Santa Ana (120 inh.), La Higuera (500 inh.), La Joya (430 inh.), Las Lagunillas (170 inh.), Los Nogales (135 inh.), and Puerto del Barco (135 inh.).
Antequera is self-styled "the center of Andalusia"; erected in 2013, a post emphasizes this geographical honour, which is, of course, disputed by several other places. The National Center of Geographical Information stated in an official report that the genuine geographical center of Andalusia is located on the municipal territory of Monturque (Province of Córdoba).
[Diario El Sur, 18 January 2016]

Antequera was already settled in the Age of Bronze, as evidenced by the funerary complex (dolmens) of Menga, Viera and El Romeral (2500-2000 BC). The hill topped today with the Arab castle was already fortified by the Iberians; the fort was revamped by the Romans, who established the town of Anticaria. Remains of the town have been recently localized under the St Mary collegiate church.
There is no documentation on Antequera from the 4th to the 15th century. Renamed Medina Anteqira, the town was most probably involved in the conflicts that followed the fall of the Caliphate of Córdoba. After the Christian reconquest of Seville and Jaén in the middle of the 13th century, Antequera became a strategic border town.
Considered as the key to the Kingdom of Granada, Antequera was targeted by the Christian armies. Infante Ferdinand (1380-1416; King of Aragón, 1412-1416) led the successful assault of the fortress on 16 September 1410, being rewarded with the nickname of Ferdinand de Antequera.

After Seville and Granada had been definitively incorporated to the Crown of Castile, Antequera lost its military significance, which allowed the demographic and urbanistic expansion of the town. In the beginning of the 16th century, the population increased within 20 years from 2,000 to 15,000 inhabitants. This boom was caused by the fertility of the Antequera plain, which could be grown since the threat of Moorish raids was over, and the emergence of trade and handcraft in the town. Antequera was soon one of the most important place of trade in Andalusia, located at the crossing of the Seville-Granada and Málaga-Córdoba roads.
The Catholic Monarchs established the St. Mary collegiate church, initiating the cultural development of Antequera. The Chair of Grammar and Latin Studies taught several scholars, such as Juan de Vilches. At the same time, several religious orders settled in the town, which was embellished with religious (churches and convents) and civil buildings (Town Hall, Giant's Arch). Urbanization was completed in the 17th-18th centuries with another series of building erecrted in baroque, mannerist style; the most emblematic building of this period is the tower of the St. Sebastian collegiate church. The 18th century was the Gilded Age of Antequera; the local demand in religious artworks resulted in the emergence of a noted artist's school, whose works were highly prized in the Provinces of Córdoba, Seville and Málaga. The silversmiths, organized as the St. Eligius Guild, were of particular fame. Nobles, such as the Marquis of Villadarias, the Count of Pinofiel, the Count of Colchado, the Count of Valdellano and the Baron of Sabasona, erected wealthy palaces in the town.
The yellow fever epidemic of 1804 stopped the demographic boom of Antequera. Economic activity did not resume until 1830. The rural landlords were replaced by an agrarian bourgeoisie, which shared the power with the nobility and developed industry. In the middle of the 19th century, the production of wool cloth, sold all over Spain, was the main source of income for 25% of the inhabitants of the town.

Antequera was the cradle of Andalusian nationalism. The Andalusian branch of the Partido Demócrata Republicano Federal, led by Pi y Margall, met in Antequera from 27 to 29 October 1883. They approved the Proposal of Constitution or Federal Pact for the Andalusian Cantons (text), redacted by Carlos Saomil, which is considered as the basis of political andalusism. The Constitution addressed three levels of organization, municipal, cantonal and regional. aiming at establishing an Andalusian Federation / State of Andalusia. Main emphasis was put on the "Andalusian people", which should have its "nation". Article 1 prescribes Andalusia as "sovereign and autonomous", organized as "a Republican, representative democracy". The Antequera Constitution was never passed, but it remained a reference for the subsequent Andalusian aspirations to autonomy; its influence is acknowledged in the Preamble of the Statutes of the Autonomous Community of Andalusia, reformed by Constitutional Law No. 2, adopted on 19 March 2007 by the Spanish Parliament and published on 20 March 2007 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 68 (text), as: "The first text expressing the political willingness to constitute Andalusia as a political entity with self-government capacity is the Andalusian Federal Constitution, redacted in 1883 in Antequera."
Proposals for an Andalusian flag were also unveiled during the Antequera Congress.
[Rubén Pérez Trujillano. Diario Público, 20 February 2014]

The Antequera Pact was signed on 4 December 1978 by most local political parties, with the aim of gaining as much autonomy as possible, as soon as possible. The project was led by Plácido Fernández Viagas, President of the newly established Government of Andalusia. One year later, the break of the initial political consensus prompted the new President of the Government, Rafael Escuredo, to obtain the ratification of the Pact on 21 February 1980, as a support of the referendum for the autonomy, scheduled on 28 February 1980. Among the original signatories of the Pact, Alianza Popular tabled reserves while Unión de Centro Democr‡tico abstained. The referendum was organized in an odd manner, with a short campaign (15 days), the open call by the Spanish government to abstain, an awkward wording (neither "Andalusia" nor "autonomy" appears in the question), and a rule stating that the absolute majority was to be obtained in all of the eight provinces of Andalusia to validate autonomy. This did not prevent a massive participation and the absolute majority for autonomy, except in the Province of Almería. The result prompted the political parties to find out a political and juridical solution able to satisfy the autonomist aspiration.
[Francisco Trujillo Doménech. General Archives of Anfalusia]

Antequera was proposed as the capital of the future autonomous Andalusia. The capital, however, was eventually allocated to Seville.
[El Pais, 3 January 1978]

Ivan Sache, 14 September 2016

Symbols of Antequera

The banner and arms of Antequera, submitted on 14 March 2008 by the Municipal Council to the Directorate General of the Local Administration, are prescribed by a Resolution adopted on 1 April 2008 by the Directorate General of the Local Administration and published on 15 April 2008 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 74, pp. 49-50 (text).
The symbols are dscribed as follows:

Banner: White panel in proportions 3:4. On one side, a three-towered castle or masoned sable port and windows azure a lion rampant gules without crown langued and armed of the same inbetween bordered argent a spheroidal vase, with a large faceted foot, a cylindrical twirled neck, the mouth opening like a chalice, also circular, and two symmetric handles counterplaced [...]. Seven branches of lily, arranged in a pyramid issuing from the vase's mouth, and the writing '"POR SE AMOR" in lowercase German letters fimbriated or on the body of the vase.
Coat of arms: Per pale, 1. Gules a castle or masoned sable port and windows azure, 2. Argent a lion rampant gules langued and armed of the same. All over a a vase of lilies proper the letter "T" sable on its neck in chief letters "A" and "Q" in the cantons dexter and sinister in base letters "P S A" in the cantons dexter, center and sinister all sable The shield surmounted by an Infante's coronet [description skipped].

The official description of the symbols is repeated in the Protocol By-Laws of the municipality (text) (Article 2, coat of arms; Article 3, banner). The rules of use of the banner are prescribed in Article 4, as follows:

1. The banner of the town of Antequera shall be hoisted out of the Town Hall, all the day long, together with the flags of Spain, of the Autonomous Community of Andalusia, of Europe, and, optionally, of the Province, the banner of Antequera being placed at the viewer's right of the national flag, the two in the center.
2. In municipal public ceremonies, the flag of Antequera shall be hoisted in a dedicated place.
3. The Municipal Corporation may attend in a corporative manner to the official processions of the town [list skipped]. The banner of Antequera shall be carried by the youngest member of the corporation attending the procession.

Antequera appears to use a flag similar to the prescribed banner, in usual 2:3 proportions. Three slightly different versions of the flag are shown on photos:

1. On the flag in official use (photo, photo, photo), the castle is represented in white with black lining and ports and windows filled in black.


Flag of Antequera - Image from the Símbolos de Málaga website, 14 September 2016

2. Another version of the flag (photo) shows the charges in a more traditional manner.


Flag of Antequera - Image from the VDK website, 14 September 2016

3. The flag hoisted over the Multipurpose Center of Cartaojal (photo) features a more heraldic, coloured representation of the charges. This particular flag was most probably manufactured by the VDK flagmaker (website).

The description of the coat of arms was adopted on 14 July 1984 by the Municipal Council, achieving the process of "rehabilitation" of the old arms of the town initiated in 1929 by José María Fernández.
The arms of Antequera were originally granted to the town by Infante Ferdinando de Antequera. In a book posthumously published in 1679, Father Francisco de Cabrera, an Augustinian monk, reports that the Infante granted the arms after having reorganized the reconquerred town, and describes them as "A vase of lilies between a castle and a lion with the writing 'POR SU AMOR' and, below, a 'A' and a 'T'."
The elements of the arms are the same as those used by the Infante on his arms as the Duke of Peñafiel, possibly during the siege of Antequera. The castle and the lion are self-explaining, while the vase of lilies represents the chivalric Order of the Terrace, aka Order of the Vase and Order of the Lilies. Established in 1040 by García in the future monastery of Santa María La Real in Nájera, the Order did not survive his founder; Ferdinand de Antequera restored it on 15 August 1403 in Medina del Campo. The letters "A T Q" stands for "Antequera", while the letters "PSA" stand for "POR SU AMOR" [For His Love], the town's motto, also related to the Infante.
[José Escalante Jiménez. Fragmentos para une historia de Antequera. 2009]

With time, the design of the coat of arms was submitted to several variations in the colours, charges, letters... The municipal website provides several illustrations (images), unfortunately without caption. The front page of the town's charter, reprinted in 1600 by Claudio Bolan, features arms matching the description by Father Cabral. The front page of a book of accounts dated 1684 shows another rendition of the arms (images).

Ivan Sache, 14 September 2016