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Blanca (Municipality, Region of Murcia, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-05-08 by ivan sache
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Presentation of Blanca

The municipality of Blanca (6,477 inhabitants in 2014; 8,732 ha; municipal website) is located in the north of the Region of Murcia, 40 km of Murcia.

Blanca was established by the Moors, as Negra, in the 12th century. After the Christian reconquest, King Sancho IV granted in 1285 the valley of Ricote and its villages, Blanca included, to the Order of St. James. King James II, after having invaded the Kingdom of Murcia, transferred Negra and its castle to Bernardo de Sarriá; Juan López, commander of the Order for the valley of Ricote, claimed the town, which was eventually granted to Juan Osores on 19 September 1303. The document prescribing the transfer is the last to mention the town under the name of Negra ("Black"), which would be subsequently known as Blanca ("White").
Blanca purchased on 10 August 1591 from Philip II the status of villa, for a cost of 2,400 ducates. In the beginning of the 16th century, the town counted nearly 1,000 inhabitants; the expelling of the Moriscos by Philip II (1613) caused the ruin of agriculture in Blanca. The town counted only 173 households in 1713, but 1,378 inhabitants in 1787 (Floridablanca census).

Ivan Sache, 1 May 2015

Symbols of Blanca

The flag and modified coat of arms of Blanca are prescribed by Decree No. 47, adopted on 7 May 1992 by the Government of the Region of Murcia and published on 16 May 1992 in the official gazette of the Region of Murcia, No. 113, p. 3,338 (text)
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: White panel in proportions 2:3, charged in the middle with a medieval castle proper, with white ports and windows, on a black mount. The port of the castle charged with a (red) Cross of St. James
Coat of arms: Shield in Spanish shape. Argent a medieval castle proper on a mount sable. The gate charged with a Cross of St. James (gules). The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed.

The symbols were designed by Luis Lisón Hernández, who delivered the supporting memoir to the municipality on 21 July 1991.
The author demonstrates that the first coat of arms of Blanca, adopted in 1973, is apocryphal. There are indeed mentions of an historical coat of arms of the town in the archives; however, the arms are not described. It appears that the arms adopted in 1973 were copied from an heraldry book, being indeed the coat of arms of Martín Martínez de Combalde, aka Martín de las Blancas, a Navarrese knight documented in 1390. Accordingly, new arms were designed from scratch, taking into account the history of the town.

White is the colour of the medieval flags of Blanca. The colour specifications are given as follows:

Colour		Pantone

Vert		354
Or		871
Argent		877
Azure		301
Gules		Warm red
Sable		Black on
Maroon		154

The proposal was submitted to the Royal Academy "Alfonso X the Wise" in Murcia, which found flaws to the design. Luis Lisón Hernández replied in a document dated 12 March 1992.
The Academy found the drawing of the castle "of pure fantasy and absolutely inadequate for a medieval castle of Islamic origin. [...] The windows featured in the lower part and in the lateral towers are inadequate, too." The designer replied that his drawing of the castle was compliant with all the norms of heraldry set up in the last national congresses, by the International Institute of Genealogy and Heraldry, by the School of Genealogy, Heraldry and Nobility, and by the 1st Meeting of Experts in Municipal Heraldry in the Autonomous Communities (1991). It also reflects the prescriptions of the best heraldry textbooks, published by Vicente de Cadenas y Vicent (Dean of the Royal chronicler of Arms) [quite ironically, the author of the apocryphal design], Eduardo Pardo de Guevara y Valdés, Armando de Flaviá y Escors, Faustino Menéndez-Pidal de Navascués and Luis F. Messía de la Cerda y Pita, among others. The similarity of the design with those proposed in the Manual de Heráldica Espanola is not a mere coincidence, either.
The Academy recommended to substitute the mount by the charge called by the French heraldists meulons appelés coupeaux. Such a figure will be more understandable to the general public. The author answered he had followed the prescription made by Vicente de Cadenas y Vicent, who represents a mount with one or more triangles. Here the mount, surmounted by a tower or a a castle, is represented as encastilado. The model recommended by the Academy is not a proper Spanish design; it was indeed popularized in Italy, as montes a la italiana. The Catalan heraldry used the ovoid mont de penyes, which does not either match the Spanish monte.
Accordingly, the author recommends to adopt the proposed design and to ignore the recommendations of the Academy.
[G. Westerveld, Historia de Blanca (Valle de Ricote), lugar más islamizado de la región murciana. Años 7111700. Tomo II (1997-2014)]

Ivan Sache, 1 May 2015

Former coat of arms of Blanca

The first coat of arms of Blanca was prescribed by Decree No. 717, adopted on 7 March 1974 by the Spanish Government and published on 19 March 1974 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 67, p. 5,656 (text).
The coat of arms is described as follows:

Coat of arms: Vert a tower or masoned and port and windows sable. A bordure or with the motto "CON ARMAS BLANCAS" in letters sable. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown.

The arms were designed by Vicente de Cadenas y Vicent, Chronicler of Arms of the Kingdom of Spain. The supporting memoir was achieved in Madrid on 21 January 1973 and delivered on 29 January 1973 to the Municipal Council, which approved it on 30 January 1973.
The traditional arms of Blanca appear to have been used continuously since the last quarter of the 19th century. Accordingly, the "rehabilitation" of these arms is the most suitable solution. The design is compliant with the rules of heraldry: the main charge is a castle, featured in several municipal arms, but the bordure with the motto offers differentiation from all other arms.
The Royal Academy of History validated the proposed coat of arms.
[Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia, 1974, 171, 2: 427]

Ivan Sache, 1 May 2015