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Los Palacios y Villafranca (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2020-04-25 by ivan sache
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Flag of Los Palacios y Villafranca - Images by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 27 November 2009

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Presentation of Los Palacios y Villafranca

The municipality of Los Palacios y Villafranca (36,350 inhabitants in 2008; 10,947 ha; municipal website), is located 25 km south of Seville.

The municipality was established in 1836 as the merger of the two villages of Los Palacios and Villafranca de la Marisma.
Los Palacios (The Manors) emerged in the 9th century around the small Moorish fortress of Al-Mudeyne, one of the watch posts built by Abderraman II to secure the roads to the coast of Andalusia. After the reconquest, the place was renamed La Atalayuela (The Watch Post); King Peter I built a manor near the post, the two buildings being known as Los Palacios de la Atalyuela, eventually shortened to Los Palacios.
Villafranca emerged as a small farmers and shepherds' village, known in the Moorish period as Anevel. After the reconquest, the village was renamed Las Chozas (The Huts) , aka La Marisma (The Marsh), and resettled by colonists and discharged soldiers from Castile and León, who lived from agriculture and horse breeding. In 1501, the Town Council of Seville granted privileges to the colonists, founding the new settlement of Villafranca de la Marisma.

Ivan Sache, 4 July 2009

Symbols of Los Palacios y Villafranca

The flag and arms of Los Palacios y Villafranca, submitted on 20 April 2006 by the Municipal Council to the Directorate General of the Local Administration, are prescribed by a Decree adopted on 11 December 2008 by the Directorate General of the Local Administration and published on 29 December 2008 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 257, pp. 48-49 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular, horizontally divided in three equal stripes, red on top, blue in the middle and yellow on bottom with the municipal coat of arms in the center of the flag.
Coat of arms: Tierced per fess fimbriated argent, 1. Gules a horned animal [a bull], 2. Azure the mayors of Villafranca de la Marisma and Los Palacios shaking hands surrounded by an olive tree and a grapevine vert, 3. Or the writing "LA UNIÓN". A bordure argent inscribed with "LOS PALACIOS Y VILLAFRANCA" in letters sable. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown open.

The flag hoisted on the Town Hall (photo) has no coat of arms. The silk flag used indoors bears the coat of arms in its centre.

The coat of arms is not compliant with the heraldic and legal rules: the upper quarters use a colour on a colour, the third quarters features a writing, and the shield is surmounted by a Viscount's coronet.
Juan José Antequera Luengo, upon request of the municipality, proposed in 1988 an improved version of the arms, "Azure two men or clad in the traditional Andalusian farmer's dress holding each other by the hand in base a bull passant argent. A bordure gules with the writing "LA UNIÓN" in letters or in base. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed."
According to Julio Mayo Rodríguez, the coat of arms was designed after the merging of the two villages in 1836. The significance of the event, taking into account the rivalry between the two villages all along their previous history, boosted the two municipalities to elaborate arms highlighting their union. A villager representing each component was displayed on the original arms: the urbanite from Los Palacios wears an elegant morning coat and a top hat, while the villager from Villafranca wears a Spanish jacket and a derby hat. A bull and a wheat plant emphasize the agricultural productivity of the local estates. In front an olive tree and a grapevine represent the most significant crops in the municipality.
The shield is orled by the writing "LA UNIÓN DE LOS PALACIOS Y VILLAFRANCA". The arms were slightly modified in the 1850s: a horse was substituted to the bull while the men were surrounded by two wheat plants. The addition of the horse reflects the increased popularity of the horse farms established by the Murube family in 1843. In his Guide to the Railway Traveller (1864), Eduardo García Antón shows a coat of arms where the men are replaced by a handshake, the horse is flanked by a man clad like a horse-breaker, and the writing is omitted. This design appears to be a free interpretation of the original arms by the author, in an effort of compliance to the norms of heraldry. From 1894 to 1896, the original design - with the bull - was returned in use. Modified again in 1921, the coat of arms was re-designed in 1947 by Murube Sanz, with the aforementioned heraldic errors, to the version still in use today.
[Juan José Antequera Luengo. Heráldica oficial de la provincia de Sevilla]

Ivan Sache & Klaus-Michael Schneider, 7 November 2015