Last modified: 2006-01-14 by santiago dotor
Keywords: biscay | vizcaya | bizkaia | basque country | coat of arms (tree: green) | coat of arms (tree: green) | coat of arms: bordure (yellow) | coat of arms: bordure (saltires: red) | wreath: laurel (green) |
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by António Martins
The flag of Biscay (Vizcaya/Bizkaia) province has the coat of arms, charged with the Gernika oak on a base proper covering a silver cross, on a silver field, with a border of gold bearing eight red saltires, uncrowned, all on a dark red background. This gif was based on images at the Biscay Provincial Council Official Website.
António Martins, 21 October 1998
Source: Manual del Estado Español (Handbook of the Spanish State, Spanish text only) by Editorial Lama: both flag and coat of arms adopted by the Norma Foral 12/1986 of 15th December 1986 (B.O.S.V. of 27th December 1986), article 1: "Color carmesí, figurando en el centro de la misma el escudo del Territorio Histórico de Bizcaia", i.e. carmine red with the coat-of-arms of the Historical Territory in the center.
Pascal Vagnat, 16 July 1999
Biscay was an earldom of the de Haro family, whose ancestor don Lope de Haro's first name, means lobo, wolf, and thus two wolves were depicted on the coat of arms of the ancient Counts of Biscay. Later on, around the 16th century, when the Kings of Castile and Leon succeeded that nobility, an oak tree of Guernica was adopted, with the figure of a Latin cross over it. Guernica was the capital of the province, and the oak symbolises the traditional freedoms of the Basque people, since laws and local prerogatives were sworn in front of that oak on occasion of each new king's oath of allegiance, coronation not being a Spanish traditional ceremony. So the Haro dinasty coat of arms retained only the wolves, but the province incorporated the oak tree on top of them.
In 1936, when the Basque Country enjoyed its first period of modern home rule, a wreath of oak leaves appeared decorating the new nationalist escutcheon, adopted once again in 1977.
Ramón Otegui, 5 September 2002
I found an excellent source for town coats-of-arms and flags of Biscay. It is Heraldry of the Town Halls of Bizkaia, a book published by the Diputación Foral de Vizcaya / Bizkaiko Foru Aldundia (Biscay Provincial Council), and it looks like the whole book is available in PDF format. The book has a page for each town, each one has a coat-of-arms and many of them a flag (most are just "crimson field + coat-of-arms" though). As soon as I have some time available, I will try to gif some/all of them. I seem to recall Jaume Ollé included many Basque town flags in one of his Bulletins.
Santiago Dotor, 17 June 1999
Caution, the book is currently updated. Several corrections and additions are made by Juanjo González, the vexillologist advisor. There are few local flags in my pages they are very complicated and take longer to draw. I have many historical flags (and more will follow), which I intend to send to FOTW. A Basque magazine, Deia, is interested in publishing these flags and they do not want general dissemination before they do so.
Jaume Ollé, 25 June 1999