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Chucena (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-12-20 by ivan sache
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[Flag]

Flag of Chucena - Image from the Símbolos de Huelva website, 23 August 2016


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Presentation of Chucena

The municipality of Chucena (2,057 inhabitants in 2013; 2,600 ha; municipal website) is located 60 km north-east of Huelva.

Chucena was granted to the Council of Seville after the reconquest of the area from the Moors in 1253. The village of Alcalá de la Alameda, located half a kilometer from Chucena and of which nearly nothing has remained, was once the seat of a powerful Marquisate, erected in 1574 by Philip II for Pedro López Pacheco Portocarrero. Ana María Ribera de Portocarrero, daughter and heir of the 2nd Marchioness, Antonia de Portocarrero, married Antonio Luis de la Cerda, Duke of Medinaceli.
Alcalá de la Alameda and Chuchena were ruled by common Ordinances, redacted on 15 October 1568. In the 18th century, Alcalá de la Alameda was scoured by black plague; the village declined and became a dependency of Chucena.

Ivan Sache, 23 August 2016


Symbols of Chucena

The flag of Chucena (photo, photo, photo), adopted on 25 January 1999 by the Municipal Council, is prescribed by Decree No. 14, adopted on 24 January 2000 by the Government of Andalusia and published on 22 February 2000 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 22 (text). This was confirmed by a Resolution adopted on 30 November 2004 by the Government of Andalusia and published on 20 December 2004 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 246, pp. 28,986-29,002 (text).
The flag is described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular flag, in proportions 11:18, made of five parallel stripes perpendicular to the hoist, the first and the fifth, blue in height 1/6 of the flag's hoist, the second and the fourth, yellow in height 1/6 of the flag's hoist, the third, central, blue in height 2/6 of the flag's hoist. Centered overall, the local coat of arms.

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First flag of Chucena, two successive versions - Images by Ivan Sache, 23 August 2016

The first flag of Chucena, presented on 14 August 1973, was horizontally divided blue-yellow-blue (1:2:1); with time, the stripes were made of equal width, therefore similar to the flag of Villarrasa.
Juan José Antequera presented on 26 October 1996 a proposal of "rehabilitated" flag. The local erudite Martín Sánchez Franco privately applied to the Royal Academy of Córdoba, which recommended to keep the original design with the addition of the municipal coat of arms - not officially adopted yet - in the center, for the sake of differentiation from Villarasa. The design proposed by Antequera was selected in a public contest organized on 16 January 1999, which allowed its eventual approval on 25 January 1999 by the Municipal Council.

[Flag]

Flag counter-proposal - Image by Ivan Sache, 23 August 2016

Martín Sánchez Franco presented his counter-proposal on 5 March 1998, as horizontally divided blue-yellow-blue (7:16:7) with a blue eight-pointed star in the center. Yellow represents wheat, white wine and olive oil, the well-known "Mediterranean trilogy"; this quite straightforward symbolic is blurred with a detailed account of the genealogy of Demeter, the goddess of agriculture, a digression on the symbolic significance of sowing and harvest, and, least but not least, spurious numerological considerations. The blue stripes represent the traditional devotion to the Virgin of the Star, Chucena's patron saint, and to the Immaculate Conception, the patron saint of Alcalá de la Alameda since the 15th century. More numerological and anachronistic considerations follow.
Martín Sánchez Franco appealed on 19 March 1999 against the flag adopted by the Municipal Council (document), highlighting four points:
1. The adopted design did not sufficiently considered the meaning of the flag adopted on 14 August 1973. The new flag should have better integrated the first flag for the sake of differentiation from the flags of other municipalities.
2. The proposal of addition of "a blue polygonal area shaped like an eight-pointed star" was not considered, either. The star, as the main element making the municipal arms canting and expressing a local people's devotion, should have received more credit.
3. The public contest was not democratic and was used to unfairly silence the counter-proposed design.
4. The flag should be in proportions 2:3 instead of 11:18.
5. The supporting memoir lacks the citation of Estudio histórico del marquesado de Alcalá de la Alameda [written by Martín Sánchez Franco].
[Juan José Antequera. Principios de transmisibilidad en las heráldicas officiales de Sevilla, Córdoba y Huelva]

The coat of arms of Chuchena, submitted on 7 September 2010 by the Municipal Council to the Directorate General of the Local Administration, is prescribed by a Resolution adopted on 20 September 2010 by the Directorate General of the Local Administration and published on 6 October 2010 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 196, p. 17 (text).
The coat of arms is described as follows:

Coat of arms: Argent a pine proper ensigned by an eight-pointed star azure. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown.

The coat of arms was originally prescribed, with the very same description, by Decree No. 3,199, adopted on 2 November 1972 by the Spanish Government and published on 21 November 1972 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 279, p. 20,755 (text). This should have been confirmed (like the flag) by a Resolution adopted on 30 November 2004 by the Directorate General of the Local Administration and published on 20 December 2004 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 246, pp. 28,986-29,002 (text), but it was not, for whatever reason.

The coat of arms was designed by José Antonio Delgado Orellana (1919-1993), who designed several municipal arms in the Province of Cádiz. The use of a tree ensigned by another charge is common in classical heraldry.
The pine represents Father Jacinto's Pine, a big pine that stood until 1989 in the Council's Pasture. The pine, named for Friar Jacinto de Chucena (1883-1965) was proclaimed a Natural Monument of Local Interest on 24 August 1954 by the Municipal Council.
The star is the attribute of the town's patron saint, the Virgin of the Star. According to a local legend, the Blessed Virgin appeared to a shepherd nimbed with light.

Martín Sánchez Franco and Joaquín González Moreno (1924-2004) submitted a counter-proposal supported by a memoir approved on 3 December 1973 and 30 September 1974 by the Municipal Council. Arguing that the adopted design was not representative of the local history, they proposed a shield surmounted by a Marquis' coronet and divided per pale. The adopted arms were relocated in the second quarter, while the first quarter featured the arms of the Portocarrero lineage, Marquis of Alcalá de la Alameda and lord of Moguer, once lords of Chucena, "Checky or and azure". The change was supported by the charter establishing the domain of Chucena, dated 1514, which states that the domain should use the arms of the Pacheco, from the same family as the Portocarrero.
The Royal Academy of History turned down the proposal on 22 November 1974. The Academy considered that the recently adopted coat of arms of Chucena was simple and distinctive; accordingly, there is no reason to increase the complexity of the design. In the contrary, the addition of the arms of Portecarrero could be a source of mistaking for other municipal arms already using them (for instance, Moguer, in the Province of Huelva; Villanueva del Fresno, Barcarrota, Loóón and La Puebla de la Calzada, in the Province of Badajoz). According to Sánchez Franco, the municipality appealed to the King of Spain on 15 May 1976 in order to obtain approval by the Academy; the appeal was rejected on 2 December 1976 by the Directorate General of Local Administration.
[Juan José Antequera. Principios de transmisibilidad en las heráldicas officiales de Sevilla, Córdoba y Huelva]

Ivan Sache, 23 August 2016