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Andújar (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-07-02 by ivan sache
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Flag of Andújar - Image from the Símbolos de Jaén website, 30 November 2015

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Presentation of Andújar

The municipality of Andújar (38,549 inhabitants in 2014, therefore the 3rd most populated municipality in the Province; 96,490 ha, therefore the biggest municipality in the province by its area; municipal website) is located in the north-west of the Province of Jaén, 40 km north-west of Jaén and 80 km of Córdoba.

Andújar, already settled by the Oretani, was incorporated by the Romans into Hispania Ulterior, and, subsequently, into Conventus Cordobensis, an administrative division of Hispania Baetica. Although considerably modified in later times, the old bridge of Andújar is undoubtedly of Roman origin.
Andújar was mentioned for the first time by Ibn Idari, who reported a battle fought in Anduyar in 853. The town was first fortified in 888 by Abd Allah, the fortifications being increased in the middle of the 12th century by the Almohads. The town was reconquered without fighting in 1225 by King Ferdinand III the Saint, who transformed the Muslim town into a Christian one. Andújar and the neighbouring area was proclaimed a Royal domain, ruled according to the Cuenca Charter. In 1368, Alcalde Juan González repelled a Nasrid assault against the town. Andújar was granted in 1446 the title of ciudad by King John II, as a reward for its loyalty to the crown; the title was augmented to "Muy Noble y Leal" (Very Noble and Loyal) in 1466 by Henry IV. The town militia contributed in 1478 to the seizure of Málaga.
Andújar remained once again loyal to the crown during the War of the Comuneros (1520), being rewarded with the incorporation of the hamlets of San Vicente, San Julián and Villalva. The town counted 13,000 inhabitants in 1591. During the colonization of the Sierra Morena ordered by Charles III in 1767, Andújar lost part of its municipal territory, assigned in 1771 to the newly established hamlet of El Rumblar. In the 18th century, the population of the town increased from 6,500 to 9,000 inhabitants.

During the War of Independence, Andújar was from 2 June to 18 July 1808 the headquarters of the French army, commanded by General Pierre Dupont de l'Étang. Following the disaster of Bailén, the act of capitulation was signed on 22 July 1808 in the palace of the Counts of Gracia Real. The town was occupied against by the French on 20 January 1810, until ousted on 8 September 1812 by the troops commanded by Carlos Porta.
The Supreme Government of Andújar, an Andalusian revolutionary movement, existed from 2 September to 18 October 1835. On 20 July 1873, Antonio de las Casas Genestroni, Representative of the town at the Cortes, proclaimed the Canton of Jaén, which was suppressed a few days later by the governmental troops commanded by Brigadier Peco.

The inhabitants of Andújar are called Iliturgitanos/as, based on a traditional, erroneous location of the old Iberian town of Iliturgi, romanized as Colonia Forum Iulium Iliturgi. Excavations performed in the 1980s by Oswaldo Artega and Michael Blech have shown that Iliturgi was indeed located in the municipality of Mengíbar, 30 km of Andújar.

Andújar is the birth town of the conquistador Julián de Valenzuela (1526-1578), who conquered Chile, together with Pedro de Valdivia (1497-1553) and his brother Francisco Pérez de Valenzuela (1528-1599, also born in Andújar). Julián de Valenzuela is portrayed in canto XIX of the epic poem La Araucana, written by Alonso de Ercilla y Zúñiga (1533-1594); its heroic behaviour during the battle of Andalién (22 February 1550) is highlighted. Another conquistador born in Andújar, Manuel de Castro del Castillo y Padilla (b. 1573) founded on 1 November 1606 the town of Oruro (Bolivia) under the name of Villa de San Felipe de Austria.

Ivan Sache, 30 November 2015

Symbols of Andújar

The flag of Andújar (photo, photo, photo), adopted on 28 May 1992 by the Municipal Council and approved on 12 November 1993 by the Royal Academy of History, is prescribed by Decree No. 27, adopted on 8 February 1994 by the Government of Andalusia and published on 18 March 1994 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 34, p. 2,100 (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 flag is described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular panel, in proportions 2/3, horizontally divided into three stripes of equal width, the central, crimson red, and the two other, white. In the center a white sturgeon superimposed to two yellow keys crossed per saltire.

The coat of arms of Andújar is "Per fess, 1a. Gules a castle or masoned sable port and windows azure, 1b. Argent an eagle vert, 2. Azure a three-arched bridge argent over waves azure and argent charged with a fish argent and two keys or in saltire. A bordure argent charged with three lions rampant gules crowned or. The shield orled by an oval bordure and surmounted by a Royal crown."
The lower quarter represents the arms granted by Ferdinand III the Saint, emphasising the significance of the bridge and of the town for the Christian reconquest of the region. The waves and the fish symbolize river Guadalquivir while the keys guard the border. The upper quarters were granted by Henry IV, who subsequently added the bordure charged with the Royal arms of León and the title of "Muy Nombre y Muy Leal". The castle represents the Kingdom of Castile, while the eagle represents the generosity of Andújar.
The arms are in unofficial use, since they were never officially approved or "rehabilitated".
Municipal website]

The Royal Academy of History accepted the proposed flag, not without reluctance. The flag features two elements from the historical arms of the town, a fish and two keys. The selection of these two elements is very disputable, since they are neither the oldest nor the most characteristic charges of the arms. The fish, also presented as a sturgeon, is a mere mundane detail added in the past to the water represented under the bridge. In contrast, the eagle could be used as a characteristic emblem of the town; the eagle is not "a clear reference to the Imperial expansion" as erroneously claimed in the supporting memoir. It is indeed a very old charge featured on the seals of the Council of Andújar, shown, together with the two keys, on the oldest known seal of the town, dated 1282.
[Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia, 1994, 191:1, 164]

Ivan Sache, 30 November 2015