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Istán (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2017-01-07 by ivan sache
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Flag of Istán - Image from the Símbolos de Málaga website, 19 September 2016

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Presentation of Istán

The municipality of Istán (1,388 inhabitants in 2015; 9,933 ha; municipal website) is located 80 km south-west of Málaga. The municipality is made of the village of Istán and of the deserted village of Arboto.

Istán was established as a Moorish fortified estate watching the road connecting Marbella and Ronda. The remains of several fortifications can still be seen on the municipal territory. After the Christian reconquest of Marbella, Istán experienced a demographic boom, due to the immigration of Muslims expelled form Marbella and the coastal villages. In 1500, the Moriscos secretly attempted to come back to Africa; while Arboto was depopulated, the Moriscos from Istán were stopped by the garrison of Marbella at the mouth of river Verde; their lands were confiscated and granted to Francisco de Vargas.

In 1568, Francisco Pacheco Manjuz, a morisco from Istán, went to Granada to obtain the release of his cousin jailed by the Inquisition. Approached by a group of Moriscos preparing the Alpujarra revolt, he was commissioned to spread the revolt in the Diocese of Málaga; the revolt broke out nightly in Istán at the end of the year. Pedro de Escalante, understanding what happened, could warn the garrison of Marbella, while the rebels had entrenched themselves in the castle of Arboto. On 20 September 1570, a troop commanded by the Duke of Arcos on behalf of Philip II seized the fort after a 3-hour siege, finding only elder, women and children. All adult men could have escaped in the neighbouring mountains.
The king exiled the Moriscos to other places of Spain and re-settled the village with colonists from the Kingdom of Granada; the colonists had to stay in the village with their family fir at least 25 years. Among the colonists, a group coming from Murcia brought a linguistic specificity known as panocho; the inhabitants of the village were soon called Panochos, and are still so.

Ivan Sache, 19 September 2016

Symbols of Istán

The flag (photo) and arms of Istán, adopted on 24 January 2002 by the Municipal Council, rejected on 10 April 2003 by the Royal Academy of Córdoba and corrected on 1 August 2003, are prescribed by Decree No. 277, adopted on 30 September 2003 by the Government of Andalusia and published on 20 October 2003 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 201, pp. 21,855-21,856 (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 panel, in proportions 2:3, horizontally divided into three equal parts, the upper, green, the lower, red, and the central, white outlined in blue. Charged in the center with the municipal coat of arms.
Coat of arms: Per fess, 1. Azure two mounts argent on waves argent and azure in chief a crescent argent, 2a. Gules a ruined tower argent, 2b. Argent a chestnut tree vert. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed.

The Preamble of the Decree states that the symbols were designed from scratch. The flag uses the colours of the coat of arms, in a composition whose chromatic contrast reflects the aesthetic value.
The arms reflect the etymology of the place's name, meaning in Arab "between two mountains" or "the highest". The village is indeed located in the valley of river Verde, between the Peñón Grande and the Peña del Gallego. The crescent recalls the Muslim rule. The ruined tower recalls the fortification where Juana de Escalante hid during the assault of the village by the Moriscos. The tree represents the Holy Chestnut (photos), more than 800 years old and of 14 m in perimeter. It was named for a mass allegedly celebrated by Ferdinand the Catholic in 1501.

Ivan Sache, 19 September 2016