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El Castillo de las Guardas (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2019-03-23 by ivan sache
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Flag of El Castillo de las Guardas - Image from the Símbolos de Sevilla website, 1 June 2014

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Presentation of El Castillo de las Guardas

The municipality of El Castillo de las Guardas (1,539 inhabitants in 2014; 25,805 ha), is located 30 km north-west of Seville, on the border with the Province of Huelva. The municipality is made of the town of El Castillo de las Guardas and of the villages of La Alcornocosa, Archidona, Arroyo de la Plata, La Aulaga, Las Cañadillas, El Cañuelo, Las Cortecillas, El Peralejo, Peroamigo, and Valdeflores.

Ivan Sache, 1 June 2014

Symbols of El Castillo de las Guardas

The flag (photo) and arms of El Castillo de las Guardas (municipal website), adopted on 25 May 1994 by the Municipal Council and validated by the Royal Academy of Córdoba, are prescribed by Decree No. 254, adopted on 10 October 1995 by the Government of Andalusia and published on 15 December 1995 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 159, p. 11,717 (text). This was confirmed by a Decree 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 symbols are prescribed as follows:

Flag: Rectangular, in proportions 11 x 18. Green panel, in the center the local coat of arms.
Coat of arms: Spanish shield. Vert a castle or masoned sable port and windows gules surrounded by two lions rampant argent ensigned by a scallop of the same. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed.

The symbols were proposed on 20 April 1994 by José Antequera Luengo.
The arms are shown in the Previlegio y armas de la mui noble y leal villa de El Castillo de las Guardas (presentation), granted on 14 December 1674 by Martin Alonso de Burgos y Castilla. Made of 362 parchment sheets, the charter is kept, together with a paper copy made in 1734, in the municipal archives. The two documents feature the arms as "Vert a tower or surrounded by two lions sable affronty". The shield is surmounted by the caption "St. Ivan" and St. John the Baptist kneeling, proper, clad with a red toga, the right hand on the chest and the left hand holding a cross, a lamb at his feet. The saint and the lamb are nimbed. In 1785, the vicar, Francisco Romero, wrote that "the arms shown in the charter of the town are a castle with two mace holders at the gate, surmounted by lord John the Baptist". The original design was used in a few cases only; from 1872 onwards, the mace holders were moved against the tower's wall. The municipality used in 1925 an oval seal showing only the castle, replaced in 1936 by a tower.

The arms are canting: the castle represents the fortress (castillo) watching the neighborhood. Here; las guardas (the guards) should not be understood as soldiers permanently stationed in the fortress but as men stationed in strategic places of the land to protect, mostly commissioned to report unusual troop movements. Guards were part of the general defensive systems, together wit night watch, ambushes and spying operations.
The castle of El Castillo de las Guardas is of clear Christian origin; it was probably erected in the 13th century, upon request of the administration of Seville. There is no hint that it had been predated by a Muslim fortification of any kind. It was completely ruined in the 17th century.
[Juan José Antequera Luengo. Heráldica oficial de la provincia de Sevilla]

Ivan Sache & Klaus-Michael Schneider, 1 June 2014