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Villanueva de la Reina (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-07-02 by ivan sache
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Flag of Villanueva de la Reina - Image from the Símbolos de Jaén website, 8 December 2015

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Presentation of Villanueva de la Reina

The municipality of Villanueva de la Reina (3,301 inhabitants; 20,712 ha; municipal website) is located 45 km north-west of Jaén.
The municipality is made of the town of Vilanueva de la Reina and of the villages of La Condesa. La Crujía. La Quintería, and Rincón de San Ildefonso.

Villanueva de la Reina has been identified to Ipra, a significant Roman town located on the road connecting Castulo and Iliturgi. Several villae have been excavated on the municipal territory, the most important of them being the Santa Potenciana villa, erected on a terrace dominating river Guadalquivir. During the Muslim period, the area was settled as a small alquería; after the Christian reconquest, King Alfonso X transfered it to the town of Andújar.
In the 15th century, Villanueva was the stronghold of the Palomino de Andújar family, the main opponents to Pedro de Escavias, Alcalde of Andújar. Villanueva de Andújar was granted the status of villa on 14 November 1790, separating from Andújar and being renamed Villanueva del Rió. The territorial limits of the new municipality were established on 14 February 1791. The municipality was renamed Villanueva de la Reina on 31 October 1791, probably to honour Queen (Reina) Maria-Louisa of Parma, Charles IV's wife.
After the battle of Bailén, the French capitulation was signed on 22 July 1808 in the post inn of Villanueva.

The patron saint of Villanueva de la Reina is St. Potenciana, whose cult spread in the 17th century. The local tradition says that the tomb of Potenciana was kept in the Saint's church, once located on the right bank of the Guadalquivir, upstream of Villanueva. A poor weaver, Potenciana lived in saintliness in a small room appended to the church. The soil around her tomb was soon used as a miraculous protection against malaria, then endemic in the area. Juan Acuña del Adarve, Prior of Villanueva, initiated the official cult of the saint. The tomb was opened in 1628 and the relics of the saint were shared among Villanueva, Andújar and Jaén. The cult was officially recognized in 1636 by Bishop Moscoso de Sandoval. The relics kept in Villanueva were transfered on 15 April 1640 to the chapel erected on the site of the former church, but soon repatriated to Villanueva because of the floods of the Guadalquivir. The urn keeping the relics was thrown down into the river in 1936, following the sack of the church.
[Tus Preguntas sobre los Santos, 27 August 2009]

Ivan Sache, 8 December 2015

Symbols of Villanueva de la Reina

The flag and arms of Villanueva de la Reina, adopted on 25 March 1999 by the Municipal Council, are prescribed by Decree No. 349, adopted on 4 July 2000 by the Government of Andalusia and published on 26 August 2000 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 98, pp. 13,621-13,634 (text). This was confirmed by a Resolution adopted on 30 November 2004 by the Government of Andalusia and published on 20 December 2004 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 246, pp. 28,986-29,002 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular, one and a half longer than wide, horizontally divided into two equal parts, the upper part, sapphire blue, and the lower part, reseda yellow. Charged with the coat of arms of Villanueva de la Reina whose geometrical axis fits the center of the flag, in height 2/3 of the flag's hoist.
Coat of arms: Quarterly, 1. and 4. Gules, 2. and 3. Argent, grafted in base argent. Inescutcheon oval of double heraldic proportion, Gules a castle or port and windows azure masoned sable.. The shield surmounted by a Royal Spanish crown closed.

The memoir supporting the proposed symbols was redacted by Andrés Nicás Moreno (Memoria del escudo y bandera de Villanueva de la Reina (Jaén). Boletín del Instituto de Estudios Giennenses, 2002, 181, 229-256). The graphical design of the symbols is credited to Ricardo Ruiz Nicás.
The flag was designed from scratch. The colours recall the arms of the Bourbon kings (Azure three fleurs-de-lis or), who granted the status of villa to the town.
The colour specifications art given as follows (Pantone scale):

Sapphire blue	B++		3025 C
Reseda yellow	Au+		 117 C

The coat of arms of Villanueva de la Reina is not mentioned in the privilege that granted the status of villa to the town in 1790. The first documented arms are shown on seals described by the Mayor on 26 January 1877. The first model shows the simplified arms of Spain, quarterly Castile and León, grafted in base Granada, inescutcheon Anjou, placed on a Spanish shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed. The second model is an oval seal featuring a shield in "Polish" shape, quarterly and grafted in base charged with a pomegranate, a big inescutcheon charged with a castle. A third, subsequent model, dated 1912, was used until 13 May 1932, the Royal crown being suppressed on 20 May 1932. On 13 February 1935, a new model was inaugurated, surmounted by the mural crown of the Second Republic, quarterly Castile, León, Aragón and Navarre, grafted in base Granada and the Pillars of Hercules. On 18 November 1945, the mural crown was substituted for a coronet, St John's eagle, and the yoke and arrows borrowed form the arms of the Catholic Monarchs. Formally adopted on 2 February 1953 by the municipality, this model was kept in use until 29 July 1983, when the arms designed in 1941 by Juan de Díos López Jiménez for the Provincial Council of Jaén were adopted. The shield is of Spanish-French shape, surmounted by an Infante's coronet. The arms are indeed a free interpretation of the Imperial arms of Spain from the 1581-1700 period, which has nothing to do with the arms actually used in Villanueva since the late 19th century.

Accordingly, the proposed arms are a "rehabilitation" of those latter arms. The shield is modelled on the escutcheon of the greater arms of Charles IV, that is, on the simplified arms of Spain during the Bourbon monarchy, which granted the status of villa to the town. The arrangement of the quarters is unequivocal, all the charges being dropped. The Bourbon inescutcheon was substituted by a design proper to Villanueva, recalling the arms of Castile and the first quarter of the arms of Andújar, granted to the town by Henry IV.
The colour specifications are given as follows:

Argent		 414 C
Gules		 192 C
Or		 117 C
Azure		3005 C
Sable		 Black

Ivan Sache, 8 December 2015