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Galicia (Spain)

Autonomous Community of Galicia, Comunidad(e) Autónoma de Galicia

Last modified: 2005-09-10 by santiago dotor
Keywords: spain | galicia | comunidade autónoma de galicia | coat of arms (chalice) | coat of arms (crosses: white) | coat of arms (crosses: 7) | bend | law |
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[Galicia (Spain)] 2:3
by Antonio Gutiérrez, taken with permission from the S.E.V. website

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The blue and white colour scheme is certainly the same as early portuguese flags and coats-of arms, but judging from their respective origins —Portugal and Corunna— that is not more than a fortunate coincidence.

António Martins, 18 June 1997

The historical flag of Galicia was white with the chalice and red crosses. In the 19th century a distinctive flag was asigned to the maritime province of A Coruña (English Corunna) that was a blue saltire on a white field. This flag is very similar to the Russian naval ensign and later [1891] it was changed to only a blue band. When the Galicians went to America and settled Argentina (together with Italians and others) at the end of the 19th century and early 20th century, their boats used the maritime flags of A Coruña. The emigrant people believed that this was the flag of Galicia so it was used during the emigration and adopted later for the people. It was forbidden 1936-1977.

Jaume Ollé, 19 June 1997

In the website of the Xunta de Galicia (autonomous government), there is some interesting information. I'm translating it from the original in Galician:

During the Middle Ages, the Galician soldiers where grouped under "signals", "standards" or "pennons" that did not symbolize the galician kingdom. Even their colours could vary from leader to leader, though a certain persistance of white can be observed.

From the 17th century, the Galician flag begins to appear in the publications, mirroring the arms: white, with a yellow cup at center surrounded by six crosses couped. There is no evidence to support the existence of the current flag before our century. The current white flag with blue stripe descends from the old flag of the Corunna Navy Commandancy. It was first adopted by the emmigrants and later by peninsular Galicia.

The Galician flag is usually 3 modules long and 2 wide. The shade of blue of the stripe is usually an intense sky blue or light cobalt. This would be the national civil flag. The so-called state flag, the one that must be used in official ceremonies, would contain also the coat-of-arms in the centre.

Jorge Candeias, 25 September 1998


These are the exact proportions of the Galician flag, according to Law. Be "a" the width of the flag, "b" the length, "c" the width of the blue stripe, then a=2; b=3, c=b/6 or 0,5. The width [left border of the strip-diagonal line] or [diagonal line-right border of the stripe] is c/2 or 0,25. The shield of the coat of arms is inscribed in an imaginary rectangle, of width (horizontal) "d" and height (vertical) "e": d=b/5 and e=6*d/5. On the shield is the crown (the proportion of the crown / shield is not given but the height of the crown is ca. 10/17 of the height of the shield).

Sources: Ley 29 mayo 1984 (Xunta de Galicia). Galicia. Símbolos.; and Gran Enciclopedia Gallega (Símbolos de Galicia. Origen y evolución de las armas de Galicia), pp.63-65.

Pascal Vagnat, 25 September 1998

Official Flag

[Galicia, official flag (Spain)] 2:3
by Antonio Gutiérrez, taken with permission from the S.E.V. website

This is the "state" flag of Galicia, consisting of the "civil" flag (argent, a bend azure) charged with the regional coat of arms.

António Martins, 26 May 1998

The arms on the animated flag at the top of the Xunta de Galicia website is too large. In that same page, however, there is a photograph of an actual flag where you can see the correct proportions.

Santiago Dotor, 24 September 1998


[Coat-of-Arms (Galicia, Spain)]
by Antonio Gutiérrez, taken with permission from the S.E.V. website

Azure, a chalix bearing the eucharistic bread, between two pales of three crosslets argent each, itself under another crosslet; royal crown, closed with five half-arches and padded red.

António Martins, 26 May 1998

From the Xunta de Galicia Website:

When Heraldry became widespread through Western Europe, the ancient kingdom of Galicia was then already part of the Leonese monarchy, and its kings used to use quite simply the talking lion. That dependence was the reason why Galicia lacked an heraldic symbol from the 12th to the 14th Century the need to use a figure that represented Galicia provoked the use of a eucharistic symbol in the coat of arms by way of a covered goblet during the 15th Century, or a chalice with a host on top in the 16th Century, and by the monstrance starting from the 17th Century. This figure appeared due to an ancient privilege existent in the Cathedral of Lugo be the constant exhibition of the Holy Sacrament to the faithful.

In the Renaissance the goblet lost its expressive character and in order to insist on the message, the eucharistic bread became patented and the chalice replaced the goblet.

The appearance of the crosses in the Galician coat of arms came from years back coming out of the need to fill the empty space. The crosses were chosen fundamentally for religious reasons, the first ones being made up by several smaller crosses. There were six of them throughout the whole of the 17th century but the one which finished off the monstrance ended up becoming independent and the resulting seven crosses were identified by the heads of the old Kingdom of Galicia. Nowadays it is characterised by its simplicity. The background colour of the coat of arms has been blue since the 15th Century and today the crosses are preferably silver. The chalice appears in gold joined to the silver host. Amongst the exterior ornaments, special attention needs to be paid to the crown and to the cross of Santiago. They did not appear until the 17th Century as their use was reserved solely for Knights of the order. Nowadays only the crown remains.

It was in 1972 when the Royal Academy of Galicia in a plenary session adopted the definitive model of this symbol which today is considered official.

Santiago Dotor, 27 November 2002