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Valdepeñas de Jaén (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2019-09-16 by ivan sache
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Flag of Valdepeñas de Jaén - Image from the Símbolos de Jaén website, 6 December 2015

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Presentation of Valdepeñas de Jaén

The municipality of Valdepeñas de Jaén (4,045 inhabitants in 2013; 18,380 ha; municipal website) is located 30 km south of Jaén.

Valdepeñas was already settled by the Romans; a treasure made of 130 silver coins dating back to Emperor Caracalla was found in the town. The remains of several farmer's huts have been excavated in La Ventilla, Navalengua, El Torcal, La Solana and Pitillos. In the Muslim times, the place was defended by the castle of Susana / Sasaña, mentioned in the chronicles as often seized by the rival parties. Conquered form the Moors by King Ferdinand III the Saint, the castle was transferred to the Order of Calatrava; it was subsequently totally ruined.
Valdepeñas was established in 1508 by Emperor Charles V, and his mother, Joanna. The foundation of the village, part of the re-settlement organized after the conquest of Granada in 1492, was postponed until 1539. The new settlement was established between Susana and Ranera, in Los Osarios; the place was selected according to the availability in freshwater and arable land. A village was designed, expected to attract 100 households, on the model of the Roman camps. This urbanistic model was applied to all new settlements established in the Sierra de Jaén in the 16th century, and, with some modifications, to the Spanish colonization of South America.

Valdepeñas was granted on 19 April 1558 the status of villa by Philip II; the 170 households paid 1,370,000 maravedies to obtain separation from Jaén. In 1624, Philip IV sold the domain to the Marquis of Los Trujillos, against the wish of the Council. The Marquis abandoned the domain in 1643, which was transfered the next year to the County of Santa Coloma until 1650.
The village was a stronghold of the guerilla during the War of Independence, probably under the influence of Diego Melo de Portugal (1734-1816), Bishop of Jaén (1795-1816), who lived in the manor erected in 1640 in the town as the summer residence of the bishops. Antonio María de Lomas, corregidor of Jaén, was murdered near Valdepeñas.
Valdepeñas was awarded the title of ciudad in 1917.

Valdepeñas de Jaén recently entered the legend of the cyclist race Vuelta a España. The town was the arrival of a stage in 2010, 2011 and 2013, with a harsh last kilometer climbing sometimes at more than 20%. As expected, the three winners of the stage were experimented climbers, respectively Igor Antón, Joaquim Rodríguez and Dani Moreno.

Ivan Sache, 6 December 2015

Symbols of Valdepeñas de Jaén

The flag and arms of Valdepeñas de Jaén, adopted on 28 January 1999 by the Municipal Council, are prescribed by Decree No. 11, 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 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: In proportions three units in length on two units in width, made of two horizontal, parallel stripes of the same width and symmetrical, the upper stripe, purple and the lower stripe, olive green. Charged with the crowned coat of arms, whose geometrical axis fits the center of the flag, in height 2/3 of the flag's hoist.
Coat of arms: Or a Cross of St. James gules surrounded dexter and sinister by two crescents reversed of the same. A bordure compony of 14 pieces in turn argent a lion rampant gules and gules a tower or port and windows azure masoned sable. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed.

The memoir supporting the proposed symbols was redacted by Juan Infante Martínez, Official Chronicler of the town, and Serafin Parra Delgado, Municipal Archivist (Memoria de escudo, banderas y sellos municipales de Valdepeñas de Jaén, undated).
The flag of Valdepeñas was designed from scratch. (Penitent) purple is the colour of the banner of Jaén, from which Valdepeñas separated as a proper municipality. Olive green is the colour of the fields and of the olive trees orchards, the main source of income for the town. Green also appears on the flag of Andalusia.
The colour specifications are given as follows (Pantone scale):

(Penitent) purple		2627 U
Olive green			 339 U

The coat of arms of Valdepeñas was first documented in Bernardo Espinalt's Atlante Español (1775), representing Apostle St. James, nimbed, standing on a base and holding a big staff in the left hand. No other representation of the arms was found either in the local archives or other publications related to the town. Madoz' dictionary (1845-1850) does not mention any coat of arms. An official document dated 1925 is the oldest record of the arms that were commonly used until their "rehabilitation" and official registration. The painting designed in 1941 by Juan de Díos López Jiménez for the Provincial Council of Jaén shows slightly different arms, which were also used, but to a lesser extent. In subsequent variations of the arms, the shield is surmounted by an Infante's coronet.

Apostle St. James is represented on the arms as the patron saint of Spain and Valdepeñas, submitting Islam, represented by the reversed crescents. The whole recalls the reconquest of the area from the Moors by Ferdinand III the Saint. The colours are those used in the former versions of the arms. Or symbolizes the nobleness, generosity and constancy of the people from Valdepeñas.
The bordure is taken from the coat of arms of Jaén, recalling that Valdepeñas depended on the Council of Jaén for centuries.

Ivan Sache, 6 December 2015