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Mengíbar (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2017-03-11 by ivan sache
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Flag of Mengíbar - Image by Blas Delgado, Eduardo Panizo & Ivan Sache, 23 October 2005

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Presentation of Mengíbar

The municipality of Mengíbar (9,378 inhabitants in 2008; 6,200 ha; municipal website) is located in the fertile Jaén Campiña, watered by river Guadalquivir, 20 km north of Jaén.

The Mengíbar Sword, found on 14 June 1914 in the Guadalquivir, dates back to the 9th century BC and belonged to the Tartesi. In the hamlet of Maquiz, the German Archeological Institute has excavated the remains of a proto-Iberian settlement, dated from the late Copper Age. Remains of an Iberian temple and necropolis were also found in Maquiz, as well as remains from different Roman periods; this body of evidence indicates that Maquiz was once a powerful town, but the historians are not completely sure of its identity. The writing "T. Sempronio Graccho Decuctori Populus Iluturgitanus", engraved on a stone dated form the 1st century BC, seems to demonstrate that the town was Iliturgi, mentioned by Pliny as located near the Guadalquivir in the "Conventus Cordubensis". The town was seized from the Carthaginians by the Romans in 217 BP but in in 211 BP, Iliturgi took the Carthaginian party; Cornelius Scipio is said to have been burned alive in one of the towers of the town, after having refused to surrender. In 206 BP, his son Scipio Africanus took Iliturgi and suppressed the town, which was subsequently refounded by Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus, as the market town of Iliturgi Forum Iulium. Iliturgi was also of strategic significance for communications since it watched a convenient ford on the Guadalquivir.
Iliturgi was destroyed during the Moorish invasion and its inhabitants moved to Mengíbar. In the 11th-13th centuries, the fortress of Mengíbar was part of the defensive network protecting Jaén. In 1225, King Ferdinand III the Saint seized the fortress, which was, together with other ones, very useful in the reconquest of Jaén. The king granted in 1245 the Commandery of Maquiz, including a tower and lands, to the Order of Saint James; it seems, however, that there was no tower at Maquiz at the time. In 1458, King Henry IV fled the black plague that scoured Jaén; he stayed for a few days in Mengíbar, hosted by Constable Lucas de Iranzo. The king must have enjoyed his stay, since he came back in 1464, when a bull corrida was organized for him. On 6 November 1574, King Philip II granted the title of villa to Mengíbar, which separated from Jaén. The king had to cancel the sale of the town to Rodrigo Ponce de León made on 13 June 1573.
The Battle of Mengíbar took place on 16 July 1808. The Third Division of the Napoleonic army was repelled to Bailén by the 1st Division of the Spanish army, commanded by General Reding. Mengíbar claims to be the site of the first defeat of the Napoleonic army, a title usually granted to Bailén; the Battle of Bailén, which took place a few days later, was indeed of much more significance.

Ivan Sache, 9 August 2009

Symbols of Mengíbar

The flag (photo) and arms of Mengíbar, adopted on 19 December 1997 by the Municipal Council and revised on 15 April 1999, as suggested on 4 June 1998 by the Royal Academy of Córdoba, are prescribed by Decree No. 18, adopted on 24 January 2000 by the Government of Andalusia and published on 22 February 2000 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 22 (text). This was confirmed, as requested on 3 August 2004 by the Municipal Council, by a Resolution adopted on 17 September 2004 by the Directorate General of the Local Administration and published on 5 October 2004 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 195, pp. 21,243-21,244 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular flag, of taffeta, with a proportions of three units in length on two in height, the field tierced by three symmetric stripes: blue, white and green, respectively, charged with the local, crowned coat of arms, its geometric axis matching the center of the flag, with a height of 2/3 of the flag's hoist.
Coat of arms: Shield in Spanish shape. Per bend, the upper part argent an olive tree proper made of two trunks surmounted by a five-pointed star gules, the lower part gules dexter a fortress walled crenellated and masoned sable with an access gate at mid point all or inside it a square tower of the same masoned sable, in base a medal made of a cross with four equal arms gules superimposed on four other argent ending in concave curves with a globe argent in the middle an oval escutcheon azure charged with a breast-plate and a helmet crossed at dexter and sinister, respectively, in saltire by a sword and a spear, all argent, in the four quarters formed by the arms of the cross four fleurs-de-lis or touching the curves of the white arms, the small upper globe ensigned with an elliptic laurel wreath. A bordure of fourteen pieces, in turn gules a tower or with three crenels port and windows azure and masoned sable, argent a lion rampant gules crowned armed and langued or. The shield surmounted with a Royal crown closed.

Olive tree is abundant in the area. The star symbolizes liberation from the feudal rule, recalling the cancellation of the purchase of the town by Ponce de León and emancipation from Jaén. The town was once surrounded by fortifications. The medal recalls the contribution of the villagers to the struggle against the French, defeated in the Battle of Mengíbar. The bordure recalls that the town was a Royal domain.
[Símbolos de las Entidades Locales de Andalucía. Jaén (PDF file)]

The Medal of Mengíbar (presentation) was created by Royal Order on 18 April 1816 to reward the winners of the battle.

Ivan Sache, 4 December 2015

Former flag of Mengíbar


Former flag of Mengíbar - Image by Ivan Sache, 4 December 2015

The first flag of Mengíbar, adopted on 29 March 1990 by the Municipal Council and revised on 2 March 1992, as suggested on 22 November 1991 by the Royal Academy of History, was prescribed by Decree No. 64, adopted on 14 April 1992 by the Government of Andalusia and published on 26 May 1992 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 45, pp. 3,013-3,014 (text).
The flag are described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular flag, in proportsion 3:5, horizontally divided in three stripes of equal height, the upper, light blue, the middle, white, and the lower, light green.

The Royal Academy of History rejected the first proposed arms, which were presented as a drawing only, without heraldic description. The design does not minimally comply with the norms of heraldry.
The proposed flag could be accepted, as represented on the drawing, provided the rejected coat of arms is dropped. The flag could be in proportions 3:5, horizontally divided light blue-white-light green.
[Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia, 1992, 189, 1: 161].

The Anthem to the Flag of Mengíbar (Himno a la Bandera de Mengíbar), composed by Diego Galindo Bailón (b. 1931) was sung for the first time on 21 July 1993.

Ivan Sache, 4 December 2015