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Minorca (Balearic Islands, Spain)


Last modified: 2018-04-04 by ivan sache
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Flag of Minorca - Image by Jaume Ollé, 13 December 1996

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Flag of Minorca

The flag of Minorca, adopted on 14 November 1983, is the Catalan flag with the coat of arms of the Universitat General, the name of the old and once only local administration of the island, offset to the hoist, going from the middle of the second yellow stripe to the middle of the fourth.

Jaume Ollé & Santiago Dotor, 3 September 1999

The Minorca Island's Council appointed on 8 August 1983 a commission, composed of four graduates in history - Andreu Murillo (1930-2007), Josep Manguán (b. 1952), Florenci Sastre (b. 1959), and Pilar Vinent (b. 1960) -, to redact a report on the symbols of the island and propose a flag of Minorca.
Based on search in the archives of Ciutadella, Maó-Mahón and Alaior, in bibliographical sources, and on the survey of emblems and coats of arms sculpted on different monuments and buildings or kept in the Ciutadella Museum, the commission presented the conclusions of their study to the Council on 15 September 1983, highlighting two main elmements.

1. The Catalan-Aragonese bars
No evidence of any flag proper to Minorca was found; there is, however, significant evidence of the use of the Catalan-Aragonese emblems all along the Christian history of the island.
The four-striped flag was present in 1232, when the Moorish rulers of the island plead allegiance to five Catalan knights. The royal emblems were formally imported to the island by Count of Barcelona Alfonso II the Liberal (1285-1291), who conquered the island from the Muslims in 1287. The four-pallet shield was sculpted on several buildings dated from the 14th to the 18th century: the vault of the Moon's Gate in the cathedral, keystones in the old St. Clare convent, the St. Roch Gate in Maó-Mahón, the gate of the St. Francis church in Ciutadella, the coat of arms of the old Universitat General (see 2., below), the entrance of the Town Hall of Alaior, and a keystone in the Town Hall of Ciutadella. Moreover, the governors of Minorca consistently used a four-pallet seal in the 16th and 17th centuries, and probably before; older seals were lost during the Ottoman raids on Maó-Mahón (1536) and Ciutadella (1558).

2. The coat of arms of the Universitat General
The Universitat General, located in Ciutadella, was the municipal administration of the island; in the 15th century, it was structured into four secondary universitats, located in Ciutadella, Maó-Mahón, Alaior, and Es Mercadal and Castell de Santa Agueda, which remained subordinated to the Universitat General. This municipal system was maintained until the beginning of the 19th century.
The arms of the Universitat General featured a fortified town, represented in three main variants:
- Seals appended to documents dated 1465 and 1556 feature the first version of the arms, matching the design sculpted in the main staircase of the Town Hall of Ciutadella and in the vault of the Moon's Gate of the cathedral. Confirmed in 1300 by James II, this seal was used until 1558, and subsequently used by Ciutadella as its municipal seal until the late 19th century.
- The Universitat General and the Ciutadella Universitat Particular used from the 16th to the 18th century the second variant of the arms. Orled by the inscription "LA UNIVERSITAT DE LA ILLA DE MENORCA", the seal features a tower topped by a staff surmounted by a cross potent and a vane pointing to the right. The tower surmounts a building and is surrounded by a pentagonal wall with a gate in the front and four angle towers leaning towards the central tower. On the left and right are placed to crowned shields of Catalonia-Aragón; the whole design is inscribed in an octagon with curvilinear sides.
- The seal used in the 19th century transports the perspective horizon of the former version; it was also used by the Ciutadella Health Service.

The commission concluded that the emblem used during the resettlement of Minorca in 1287 and since the infeudation of the island (1232) was made of four red stripes on a red field. To highlight the island's idiosyncrasy, the commission recommended to add the emblem of the old Universitat General to the four-striped flag to compose the flag of Minorca. The first version of the arms of the Universitat General should be preferred for the sake of seniority; it is, however, already used by the town of Ciutadella, and should be preferred the second variant, which would be specific to the island.
[La Bandera de l'Illa de Menorca, Minorca Island's Council]

Ivan Sache, 25 February 2018

Erroneous representations of the flag

Flag       Flag       Flag

Erroneous depictions of the flag of Minorca - Images by Santiago Dotor & Jaume Ollé, 3 September 1999

There are many variations and erroneous versions of the flag. The most commonly seen gas a much larger coat of arms, going from the middle of the first red stripe to the middle of the fourth red stripe.
Another common variant features a centered, instead of offset to the hoist, coat of arms.
Yet another variant has the coat of arms with straight instead of engrailed sides, as seen on a leaflet published in 1999 by the island's council (image)

Santiago Dotor, 20 March 2001


Erroneous depiction of the flag of Minorca - Images by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 20 June 2009

The aforementioned pamphlet published by the Island's Council shows the coat of arms correctly displayed but in a celestial blue shade (image).

Klaus-Michael Schneider, 20 June 2009

Former flags of Minorca

Flag       Flag

Former flag of Minorca, left, 1978; right, 1978-1981 - Images by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 20 June 2009

The flag hoisted on 28 July 1978 at Bellver Castle, Palma de Mallorca (photo) had slightly thinner red stripes and a vertical blue stripe at hoist containing a white castle.
On the flag used in 1978-1981, the castle, designed as on the present-day's arms, was rotated 270° clockwise, so that its top points to the hoist.

Klaus-Michael Schneider, 20 June 2009

Brotherhood of Legion Veterans of Minorca


Flag of the brotherhood - Image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 3 November 2017

The Hermandad de Antiguos Caballeros Legionaries de Menorca is the local branch of an umbrella organization established in 1966 under the government of General Francisco Franco y Bahamonde. It was integrated into the Confederación Nacional de Excombatientes (National Confederation of War Veterans), established in 1974.
The organization, based in Alaior, displays a flag of Minorca with centered arms and black inscriptions "HERMANDAD DE ANTIGUOS" (on the first red stripe), "CABALLEROS LEGIONARIOS" (on th fourth red stripe), and "DE MENORCA" (on the lowest yellow stripe).

Klaus-Michael Schneider, 3 November 2017