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Segura de León (Municipality, Extremadura, Spain)

Last modified: 2020-10-26 by ivan sache
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Flag of Segura de León - Image by Ivan Sache, 16 March 2020

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Presentation of Segura de León

The municipality of Segura de León (1,889 inhabitants in 2019; 10,600 ha; municipal website) is located 110 km south-east of Badajoz and 20 km south-east of Fregenal de la Sierra.

Segura de León was chartered in 1274 by Pelay Pérez Correa, Master of the Order of Saint James, separating from Montemolín. The town was the seat of the Greater Commandery of León, which was suppressed in 1833. The order built a castle in the town between the 13th and the 16th centuries.
The Treasure of Sierra de la Martela was discovered in 1984 during the archeological excavation of a Celtic settlement dated to the 2nd Iron Age (4th-2nd centuries BC). The treasure is composed of three sheets of decorated gold and of a acorn-shaped jewel. The pieces were probably designed by local artists, with a strong eastern or Mediterranean influence. Exhibited in the Extremadura pavilion during the Seville Word Fair (1992), the treasure is now kept at the Provincial Archeological Museum.

Ivan Sache, 16 March 2020

Flag of Segura de León

The flag (photo, photo) and new coat of arms of Segura de León were inaugurated on 18 August 2008 in Cinema Victoria. The symbols, designed by Antonio Alfaro de Prado, are described as follows (municipal website, 18 August 2008):

Flag: Rectangular, in proportions 2:3. White with a red orle separated from the flag's borders by a distance equal to its width. Charged in the center with the municipal coat of arms in full colors.
Coat of arms: Per pale, 1. Gules a castle proper, 2. Argent a Cross of the Order of Saint James superimposed [in base] by a lion purpure. Grafted in base, Vert an acorn or. The shield surmounted by a Spanish Royal crown.

From 1951 to 2008, Segura de León used another coat of arms, "Per pale, 1. Gules a tower or, 2. Argent a lion gules. A base or inscribed with "SEG.A" in letters sable. the shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed."
This design resulted from a private initiative of then Mayor, Antonio Casquete Hernando, intended at "rehabilitating" an historical coat of arms, if any. Nothing was found in the municipal archives so that the Mayor concluded that "the present generation not only ignores the municipal arms, but even doubts that they ever existed". He further commissioned an heraldist from Madrid, José MarĂ­a Bremón Sánchez, to do comprehensive research on the coat of arms of the town. Based on the heraldist's memoir, the mayor proposed to adopt the design that would be used until 2008.

In 1878, Nicolás Maya answered, "on behalf of Segura de León's municipal government" to the inquiry made by the Civil Governor of Badajoz to all municipalities of the province about their seals. The document features four drawings, but Maya stated he could not supply "any historical account on any of them". The fourth design was considered by the heraldist as the oldest seal, featuring the genuine historical arms of the town.
Antonio Alfaro de Prado points out that the shape and design of the seal match the simplified coat of arms of Spain used at the end of the 18th century. Compared to the seal, the arms designed in 1958 have the quarters swapped so that the lion looks dexterwise, in compliance with the heraldic norms. The designer further explained that the lion was not connected with the Kingdom of León; the tradition reports that the lion was the emblem of Rodrigo de León y Silva, son of Alfonso IV, alleged lord and namesake of the town.
The seal featuring the "genuine historical" arms of the town was indeed a generic seal featuring the Royal arms of Castile and León, recommended for the towns that had no documented historical arms by Royal Ordinances issued on 16 July 1846 and 30 August 1876. Modern heraldists no longer consider these generic arms as proper municipal arms, as it was once the case in Solana de los Barros, Jarandilla and Talaván.
A new investigation made in 2006 in the National Historical Archives in Madrid and in the archives of the Royal Academy of History did not yield anything significant. Accordingly, the symbols of Segura de León were designed from scratch.

The castle is the town's landmark and the symbol of its historical preeminence; it was designed in a quite realistic manner to differentiate it from the common heraldic castle. The Order of Saint James is represented by its traditional cross-sword. The lion recalls that Segura de León was the seat of the Greater Commandery of León. The lion passant is superimposed to the cross, but a lion rampant placed sinister could also have been used, as featured on the arms of Calera de León.
The golden acorn recalls the treasure of La Martela and represents cattle breeding as the main source of income in the town.
[Municipal website]

Ivan Sache, 16 March 2020