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El Campillo (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-12-20 by ivan sache
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Flag of El Campillo - Image from the Símbolos de Huelva website, 19 August 2016

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Presentation of El Campillo

The municipality of El Campillo (2,122 inhabitants in 2015; 9,072 ha; municipal website) is located 70 km north-east of Huelva. The municipality is made of the town of El Campillo and of the village of Traslasierra.

El Campillo and Traslasierra remained dependent of Zalamea la Real from the reconquest by Ferdinand III the Saint (1231) to the municipal emancipation of El Campillo (1931). El Campillo was first documented, as Monte del Campillo, in Municipal Ordinances of Zalamea la Real released in 1534.
El Campillo remained an isolated rural hamlet until the reactivation of the old Ríotinto pyrites mines by an English company at the end of the 19th century. The company built, adjacent to the old hamlet, a modern village with rectilinear streets. On 15 April 1925, the Municipal Council of Zalamea rejected the call for separation tabled by the inhabitants of El Campillo, arguing that El Campillo lacked proper source of income and that the applicants were not native to El Campillo.
El Campillo was established as a municipality on 22 August 1931; its first Mayor was Virgilio Pernil Macías, who had been living in the village since 1920 and had been sacked by the mining company because of his permanent social demands. The new municipality was named Salvochea, as a tribute for the anarchist Fermín Salvochea (1842-1907; Mayor of Cádiz in 1873, during the 1st Republic). In August 1936, the nationalists murdered the mayor and renamed the municipality El Campillo.

Mining ended in the region in 1987, causing a deep economical crisis. The Fénix project aimed at establishing 3,000 ha of citrus groves around El Campillo - the biggest in Europe - was inaugurated in 1988 with the foundation of Río Tinto Fruit S. A. (website). The trees are grown according to the principles of integrated production, and, on an area of 300 ha, according to the principles of agroecological production.

Ivan Sache, 19 August 2016

Symbols of El Campillo

The flag and arms of El Campillo, adopted on 2 December 1998 by the Municipal Council and, again, on 7 April 1999 after rejection on 4 March 1999 by the Royal Academy of Córdoba, are prescribed by Decree No. 215, adopted on 19 October 1999 by the Government of Andalusia and published on 4 November 1999 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 128 (text). This was confirmed 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).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular, in proportions 11 x 18, made of three horizontal stripes, of equal dimension, white, blue and white with a red horizontal, centered thin stripe. Charged in the center with the local coat of arms.
Coat of arms: Azure a rising sun or on a base vert surmounted dexter by a wheat spike or in pale flanked by two rockrose flowers argent and sinister by a Roman oil lamp argent lit gules. A bordure gules inscribed at the top "Unidos Laboramos" [We Work Together] in letters or. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed.

The symbols were proposed by Juan José Antequera.
The coat of arms of El Campillo was originally designed on 28 June 1958 by Jiménez de Gregorio and Vega Alonso. Juan José Antequera submitted on 12 August 1998 a "rehabilitation" of these arms, correcting the picturesque representation of the base of the shield, substituting a Royal crown closed to the Royal crown open, and moving the motto into the bordure.
The Royal Academy of Córdoba rejected the proposed arms on 4 March 1999, arguing that the supporting memoir was limited to a reorganization, in a more heraldic manner, of the design used since 1958. This design, used on official papers, was, moreover, not used as a seal, the municipality using an ink seal featuring the national arms. The elements composing the arms are very common. There is no evidence of exceptional circumstances justifying their co-occurrence; accordingly, they lack the originality required by the norm. These arms cannot be considered more representative of El Campillo than of any other Andalusian municipality. The memoir lacks detail on the investigations performed by the author in documentation older than 1958. The Academy postponed the examination of the proposed flag.

Juan JoséAntequera submitted his rebuttal on 5 April 1999. He first recalled that the very same Academy had previosly validated several proposals of municipal arms featuring arbitrary charges. In some cases, the Academy rejected arms without particular reason and imposed its own taste, as in the present case. The designer asked the Academy if a similar coat of arms exists in Andalusia and if four decades was not enough to consider the design as traditional. Antequera finds absurd that the rockrose, the oil lamp, the sun, the base and the motto, organized in compliance with the norms of heraldry, cannot be used to distinguish El Campillo. As far as the lack of details is concerned, the author of the memoir replied that the Academy had not read it, either in full or partially. His memoir includes indeed the memoir submitted by the original designers of the arms, which contains all required information.
The municipal Council re-adopted on 17 April 1999 the design rejected by the Academy, which did not release its report in due time (two months following submission) and therefore validated the proposed design.
[Juan José Antequera. Principios de transmisibilidad en las heráldicas officiales de Sevilla, Córdoba y Huelva]

Ivan Sache, 19 August 2016