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Calasparra (Municipality, Region of Murcia, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-04-25 by ivan sache
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Flag of Calasparra - Image by Ivan Sache, 2 May 2015

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Presentation of Calasparra

The municipality of Calasparra (1,527 inhabitants in 2014; 18,490 ha; municipal website) is located in the north of the Region of Murcia, 80 km of Murcia.
Calasparra is famous for rice cultivation, initiated in the 18th century and officially recognized on 16 November 1982 by the "Arroz de Calasparra" protected designation (municipalities of Calasparra, Moratalla and Hellín (Province of Albacete, Castilla-La Mancha). The particular race variety, known as bomba rice or Valencian rice, is a main component of paella.

Calasparra was located on the border between the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada and the Kingdom of Castile. On 9 June 1289, King Sancho IV transferred the castle of Calasparra to the Military Order of St. John. The Order re-settled the town with Christian colonists in 1412-1414, establishing a stable social and political organization that would last until the 19th century.

Ivan Sache, 2 May 2015

Symbols of Calasparra

The flag of Calasparra (municipal website) is prescribed by a Decree adopted on 30 April 2009 by the Municipal Council, signed on 4 May 2009 by the Mayor, and published on 23 June 2009 in the official gazette of the Region of Murcia, No. 142, p. 33,570 (text).
The "rehabilitated" flag is not described in the Decree, which does not seem to have been confirmed by the Government of the Region of Murcia.

The coat of arms of Calasparra is prescribed by a Decree adopted on 28 January 2010 by the Municipal Council, signed on 29 January 2010 by the Mayor, and published in 12 February 2010 in the official gazette of the Region of Murcia, No. 35, p. 6,969 (text).
The "rehabilitated" coat of arms is not described in the Decree, which does not seem to have been confirmed by the Government of the Region of Murcia.

Ivan Sache, 2 May 2015

Origin of the symbols of Calasparra

[Flag]         [Flag]

Buendía's proposals - Images by Ivan Sache, 2 May 2015

A reconstruction of the historical banner of Calasparra was proposed by Luis Armando Buendía (Estudio para la bandera de Calasparra, Via Crucis +++, No. 2, September 2008, pp. 8-14 [PDF]).
The author analyzes two historical sources describing the flag of Calasparra. The first source, already reported by Juan Ginés Sánchez Llorente (El Noroeste, No. 49, 17 July 1999), is an official record of the Town Council, dated 18 July 1602; the Council commissioned the Councillor Rodrigo Pérez Mateo to order in Murcia a flag "charged with the Cross of St. John". The second, hitherto unpublished source, gives a more precise description of the flag; in a deed dated 12 September 1638, Juan Díaz describes the flag hoisted by Francisco Mateo Pérez in the name of the king, as "a banner made of four blue, green, tawny and golden yellow pieces of taffeta with a big Cross of St. John applied on the two sides of the flag...".

Based on the two documents, Buendía reconstructed the flag of Calasparra as follows:

- Obverse and reverse.
The flag should have similar obverse and reverse, that is being symmetrical around an axis; Buendía assumes that the original source did not care mentioning the symmetry but would have indicated the differences between the obverse and the reverse, if any.

- Proportions.
Most municipal flags are derived from old militia banners. In most cases, these banners were quadrangular, with proportions 1:1, although some of them were more elongated or even triangular. Buendía adopted the 1:1 proportions as the simplest solution and to clearly distinguish the flag of the council from the black pennant designed in the 1980s for the town festival and once featured on the municipal website.

- Colours.
Blue, green and yellow are common colours, while tawny (Spanish, leonado; French, tenné) is sparsely used in Spanish heraldry to designate a light brown or chestnut brown colour. According to the chromatic system recommended by FOTW, the author selected darker shades to increase contrast, recalling that such differentiation of the shades, allowed by modern technology, would have been totally meaningless under the Ancient Regime.

Colour		  FOTW	      RGB

Blue 		   B++ 	    0-0-153
Green		   V++	    0-102-0
Tawny		    M-	  153-102-0
Golden yellow 	    Y+	  255-204-0

- Division.
Here again, the lack of precision by the source indicates that the division was quite simple. The simplest division in four parts are: quartered by cross, quartered by saltire, horizontally divided, vertically divided. The more complex divisions would result in visual confusion.
Quartering per saltire is dominant in Spanish iconography, because of its formal identity with St. Andrew's Cross. Such a pattern is featured in the flags of Caravaca de la Cruz and Valdemorillo. The horizontal division, also common, as related with the Aragonese flag, would also be a simple solution; Buendía turned it down because of the recent, immoderate use of this pattern by sports clubs.

- Colour distribution.
Buendía assumes that the flag was described in the source according to the rules of blazoning, therefore, 1st quarter, blue, 2nd quarter, green, 3rd quarter, tawny, 4th quarter, golden yellow. Another possibility is that the colour enumeration is based on a mnemonic principle. Distributing the four colours according to the four selected divisions yields 96 variants of the flag. Assuming that blue had to be in the 1st quarter, the number of variants is decreased to 24.

- Charge.
Buendía retained a white Maltese cross, of the simplest design, drawn after an octagon. More stylized versions featured on seals and coat of arms have a lower symbolic value. To represent the cross with the biggest size, it was deemed necessary to place it in the center of the flag. The side of the cross is 2/3 of the flag's side.
At the end of the article, Buendía illustrates two proposals, one with the flag quartered by cross and one with the flag quartered by saltire, stating that the final proposal shall be the flag quartered per saltire.


Uncredited proposal - Images by Ivan Sache, 2 May 2015

Further on in the same issue of Via Crucis +++ (pp. 63-67) appears an anonymous article, Propuesta de bandera de Calasparra. It is recommended to change the proportions from 1:1 to 2:3 and to consider "adaptations" of the design according to the wishes of the municipality - would it accept the proposal.
A possible adaptation is to add the emblem of the town, as represented on the Corredera Fountain (1775). Neither in Spanish shape nor surmounted by any Royal crown, this oval-shaped emblem is not a coat of arms but a religious emblem. Superimposed to the cross, the emblem would make it more connected to Calasparra.

The proposed blazon, for a coat of arms in regular, Spanish shape, is "Argent dexter a tower proper (tenné) masoned and port and windows sable standing on rocks proper (sanguine) sinister a grapevine vert fructed gules the tower ensigned by a pennant sable hoisted sinister. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed. The proper tinctures are kept to match the colours of the proposed flag. The blazon is credited to "L. A. / J. J. M. M. (2008)", that is Luis Armando Buendía / José Juan Moya y Martínez.
The colour specifications are given as follows.

Colour		Pantone

Blue 		2738 CVC
Chestnut 	1245 CVC
Yellow 		123  CVC
Green 		364  CVC

Coat of arms
Red		172  CVC
Dark red	186  CVC
Sanguine 	484  CVC

Luis Armando Buendía and José Juan Moya y Martínez published a version of the aforementioned article, as La bandera de Calasparra; in Banderas [ban], No. 110, March 2009 (indeed, the proceedings of the 23rd National Congress of Vexillology held in Basauri, 8-9 November 2008), pp. 157-183 [PDF]. Dedicated to Francisco Mateo Pérez, the article features a photo of the square version of the flag quartered per saltire.

Ivan Sache, 2 May 2015