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Santander Department (Colombia)

Departamento de Santander

Last modified: 2020-06-03 by rob raeside
Keywords: santander | colombia |
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image by Jose Antonio Jimenez Ruiz, 31 May 2020



See also:

Department Development Nuclei (Previously - Provinces):

Municipalities:


Overview

The official flag according to the official website of the Government of the Department of Santander contains eight white stars, in representation of the Núcleos de Desarrollo Departamental (Department Development Nuclei) formerly known as Provinces. Metropolitano, Carare-Opón, Comunero, García Rovira, Guanentá, Mares, Soto Norte and Vélez.
There is also a mistake regarding the Department flag and the Coat of Arms, which are shown on the website: according to legislation (Decree No. 579 of 1972 by which the Governor or the Department of Santander creates and adopts the the Department's Coat of Arms and Decree No. 254 of 2006, by which the Governor of Santander modifies Article 2 of the Decree No. 579 of 1972), the flag and the Coat of Arms should have eight stars.
The Coat of Arms is explained in deep at the department site.
The wrong depiction of emblems can be seen at a photo here. In this photo the current Governor, Colonel (R) Hugo Heliodor Aguilar Naranjo (actually the man who killed drug lord Pablo Escobar Gaviria), appears wearing the governor sash with the color of the flag, charged with the Coat of Arms. Notice that both, the sash and the Coat of Arms, have only six white stars. This is due to the fact that the legislative reform to the Coat of Arms and the flag was carried out in 2006, and the Governor took oath back in 2004, when the Flag and the Coat of Arms had six white stars.
E.R., 6 May 2007

On February 27, 2019 the Departmental Assembly of Santander approved with Ordinance Number 09 of 2019, "Por medio de la cual se crean las provincias administrativas y de planificación de Santander -PAP- de conformidad con la Ley 1454 de 2011 y se dictan otras disposiciones" ("Through which the administrative and planning provinces of Santander -PAP- are created in accordance with Law 1454 of 2011 and other provisions.").
(https://www.asambleadesantander.gov.co/portal/component/jdownloads/send/30-ordenanzas-2019/1976-ordenanza-no-09-de-2019-pap-planeacion-pdf.html)

According to this ordinance, the number of provinces is increased to seven (Soto Norte, Vélez, García Rovira, Guanentá, Comunera, Yariguíes and Metropolitana). For this reason, the flag (adopted by Decree No. 579 of 1972) and the coat of arms (officially adopted on August 31, 2004) of the department were also modified.

On Sunday May 5, 2019 the presentation of the new flag appears on the official website of the Santander department: "Santander ahora tiene 7 provincias y 7 estrellas en su bandera" ("Santander now has 7 provinces and 7 stars on its flag"). A description of the symbols is given and various photos are provided. Among them you can see a version of the departmental flag with the department's coat of arms in the center.

"La actual bandera consta de cinco franjas horizontales de colores verde, amarillo y negro; una franja vertical en color rojo, y siete estrellas blancas, que simbolizan cada una de las provincias que constituyen el territorio santandereano.

El color verde representa la lealtad, la constancia y la esperanza de los pobladores que labrando la tierra representan; el rojo, simboliza la nobleza y el heroísmo de los santandereanos, y las franjas doradas y negras resaltan las riquezas naturales del suelo, como los yacimientos del petróleo.

Además, el escudo del Departamento está dividido en tres cuarteles, dos ubicados en la parte superior y uno que ocupa toda la parte inferior. El primer cuartel se observa el perfil de José Antonio Galán en sable y plata, el segundo se percibe una torre petrolera en sable, y el tercero, el Cañón del Chicamocha en colores naturales. Estos tres cuarteles están rodeados por un aro dorado con un manojo de hojas de tabaco, y los siguientes textos: ‘Departamento de Santander’ y ‘Siempre Adelante’.

(http://www.santander.gov.co/index.php/actualidad/item/3837-santander-ahora-tiene-7-provincias-y-7-estrellas-en-su-bandera)

On May 6, 2019, the presentation ceremony was collected in the newspaper "El Espectador"

(https://www.elespectador.com/noticias/nacional/santander/santander-tiene-nueva-bandera-articulo-854069)

Regards, Jose Antonio Jimenez Ruiz


Previous Flags

Flag with 5 stars

image by Carlos Thompson, 8 May 2003

The stars represent the five historical provinces of the department: García Rovira, San Gil, Socorro, Soto and Vélez, they no longer exist as political entities, but for reference.
Carlos A. Leiva, 12 August 2000

Flag with 6 stars

image by Carlos Thompson, 8 May 2003

Flag description and symbolics at comunidades.calle22.com. It says in Spanish:"Está conformada por una barra vertical de color rojo, sobre la cual se sitúan 5 estrellas blancas, dos bandas verdes en los extremos, con las que limitan respectivamente otras dos bandas amarillas separadas por otra banda negra.
La banda roja simboliza la nobleza y el heroísmo de la raza santandereana. Las 5 estrellas representan las cinco provincias del departamento. El color verde simboliza la lealtad, la firmeza y la esperanza, mientras que el amarillo y el negro hacen referencia a las riquezas auríferas y petroleras del departamento"
The stars are "upside-down"..
J.J. Andersson, 29 March 2002

The new flag of Santander has 6 stars. The flag was adopted at the end of 2001. Six stars represent new six provinces of Santander: Comunea, Garcia Rovira, Guanetá, Mares, Soto and Vélez.
The five stars of the Previous Flag symbolized five historic provinces of Santander: Garcia Rovira, San Gil, El Socorro, Soto and Vélez.
Jens Pattke, 9 May 2003

The site www.gobernaciondesantander.gov.co, from the Governorship of the Department, agrees with the six stars for six provinces.
Carlos Thompson, 9 May 2003

Flag with 8 stars

image by Fibonacci Prower, 27 February 2007

There is a new decree which modifies the flag. The decree, which can be found at the Governorship website, states in its first article:
"Modificar el artículo segundo del decreto 579 de 1972, en lo pertinente a las estrellas, el cual quedará así: LAS ESTRELLAS de plata son representación de los ocho (8) Núcleos de Desarrollo Provincial del Departamento de Santander." [Modify the second article of the decree 579 of 1972, regarding the stars, which will state so: THE STARS Argent represent the eight (8) Cores of Provincial Development of Santander."]
Fibonacci Prower, 27 February 2007


Coat of Arms

image from www.gobernaciondesantander.gov.co

image located by Jose Antonio Jimenez Ruiz, 31 May 2020

The flag is also seen at times bearing the coat of arms.
Jose Antonio Jimenez Ruiz, 31 May 2020

Previously Reported Old Coats of Arms

image by Felipe Carrillo, 7 July 2002

The reported coat of arms of Santander, Colombia is just the arms used by the State of Santander in the United States of Colombia (1863-1886), which basically are the coat of arms of Colombia with the name of the state in the border. I have no clue if this coat of arms has been used in Santander (for representing the department in the Republic of Colombia (1886-present)), however I found the following articles in the website of Santander governorship: www.gobernaciondesantander.gov.co/article&sid=422 (from 27 August 2004) (title translation: Santander will now have a coat of arms) and www.gobernaciondesantander.gov.co/sid=425 (from 31 August 2004) (title translation: today is issued the coar of arms of Santander)   regarding a contest for choosing a coat of arms for the department.  The articles do not show the new coat of arms, neither is there a description (blazon or not).  
Carlos Thompson, 1 September 2004

Found: at www.vanguardia.com (Vanguardia Liberal is a newspaper from Bucaramanga, Santander). The author of the coat of arms is Yair Leonardo Pinzón Enciso and the date of adoption is 31 August, 2004.   The motto "siempre adelante" means "always ahead" and is taken from the department anthem.  I suppose the leaves are tobacco leaves, in the chief sinister there is an oil tower, and the six stars and the colors of the shields are taken from the colors (and meanings) of the flag.  I speculate that the river is the Chicamocha river between the Santander mountains.
Carlos Thompson, 3 September 2004


Departments' Subdivisions

About in 2000 a regional reform of the administration was executed. Some departments introduced the second administrative level. These levels are "zone" or "province." A province contains several municipalities.
Jens Pattke, 9 May 2003

I wonder if the Santander provinces have flags.  I doubt Cundinamarca's have, for instance, as it seems that nobody yet agree with the Cundinamarca provinces yet, but Santander seem to have more institutionalized provinces.
Anyhow, last time I was in Bucaramanga (Santander Capital) I remember I usually saw two flags flying together.  One was Santander and the other was Bucaramanga.  I do not remember how this later flag was, but I do not recognize the flag in Bucaramanga page as well in www.bucaramanga.com.
Well, you never know, there is a Municipality of Bucaramanga (municipio) and a Metropolitan Area of Bucaramanga (área metropolitana).  Or that second flag might have been the province of Soto (where Bucaramanga is).
Tthe provinces are:
- Provincia Comunera (fromerly Socorro) - municipalities: Socorro*, Simacota, Chima, Contratación, Guacamayo, Palmas del Socorro, Confines, Oiba, Guadalupe, Santa Helena, Gámbita, Suaita, Hato, Palmar, Galán, and Guapotá.
- Provincia de García Rovira - municipalities: Málaga*, San Andrés, Guaca, Molagavita, San José de Miranda, Enciso, Carcasí, Capitanejo, Macaravita, San Miguel, Concepción, and Cerrito.
- Provincia de Guanentá (formerly San Gil) - municipalities: San Gil*, Aratoca, Barichara, Valle de San José, Encino, Coromoro, Cabrera, Páramo, Villanueva, Jordán, Pinchote, Curití, Charalá, Mogotes, San Joaquín, Onzaga, Ocamonte, and Cepitá.
- Provincia de Mares (formerly part of Soto) - municipalities: Barrancabermeja*, San Vicente, El Carmen, Zapatoca, Betulia, Puerto Wilches, and Sabana de Torres.
- Provincia de Soto - municipalities: Bucaramanga*, Floridablanca, Girón, Piedecuesta, Lebrija, Rionegro, el Playón, Matanza, Suratá, California, Vetas, Tona, Los Santos, Charta, and Santa Bárbara.
- Provincia de Vélez - municipalities: Vélez*, Aguada, Albania, Barbosa, La Belleza, Florián, Puerto Parra, Bolívar, El Peñón, Sucre, La Paz, Puente Nacional, San Benito, Güepsa, Jesús María, Chipatá, Guavatá, Cimitarra, and Landázuri.
(*: provincial capital).
Carlos Thompson, 9 May 2003

There is a new political division in Santander, Colombia.  The new division adds two new provinces, Metropolitana and Carare - Opón, and moves any municipalities to other provinces.
- Vélez - Before, 20 municipalities, now 16; Cimitarra, Landázuri, Santa Helena del Opón and Puerto Parra moved to the new province of Carare - Opón.
It now consist of: Aguada, Albania, Barbosa, Bolívar, Chipatá,. El Peñón, Florián, Guavatá, Güepsa, Jesús María, La Belleza, La Paz, Puente Nacional, San Benito, Sucre, Vélez (Capital)
- Metropolitana  - The municipalities of this province make part from old province of Soto.  The lower lands of Rionegro were added to Mares Province.
It now consist of: Bucaramanga (Capital), Floridablanca, Girón, Lebrija, Los Santos, Piedecuesta, Rionegro, Santa Bárbara.
- Mares - No modifications.
- García Rovira - No modifications.
- Guanentá - No modifications.
- Comunera - no modifications, except the addition of the lower lands of Simacota to the Mares Province.
- Carare - Opón - This New Province took part of Vélez Province and consists of: Cimitarra (Capital), Landázuri, Puerto Parra, Santa Helena del Opón.
- Soto Norte - Same as Soto Province, but with nine municipalities moved to the Metropolitana Province. It now consist of California, Charta, El Playón, Matanza (Capital), Suratá, Tona, Vetas.
Jairo Alonso Méndez Méndez, 8 December 2005

The provinces were renamed Núcleos de Desarrollo Departamental (Department Development Nuclei) Decree No. 0304 of December 6, 2005, at www.gobernaciondesantander.gov.co.
E.R., 6 may 2007