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Municipality of Salamanca (Salamanca Province, Castile and Leon, Spain)

Last modified: 2005-02-12 by santiago dotor
Keywords: salamanca | crown: royal (open) | coat of arms: tierced per pall reversed (bull: black) | coat of arms: tierced per pall reversed (bridge: proper) | coat of arms: tierced per pall reversed (pallets: red) |
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[Municipality of Salamanca (Salamanca Province, Castile and Leon, Spain)] 2:3
by Santiago Dotor

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There are five flags hoisted at the Salamanca city hall, from left to right: Salamanca province, Castile and Leon, Spain, Salamanca city and European Union. The Salamanca city flag consists of the municipal coat-of-arms on a [red] field. (...) The city flag had a 2:3 ratio and its coat-of-arms was half the hoist high and centred.

Santiago Dotor, 17 November 1999

Spanish vexillologist Antonio Gutiérrez reported several interesting links in the Salamanca municipal website. This webpage shows the city mayor with the Castilian-Leonese, Spanish, Salamanca municipal and European flags; the city flag shows a very similar shade of red to that in the Spanish flag.

According to the Reglamento Orgánico y de Funcionamiento del Excelentísimo Ayuntamiento de Salamanca (Organic By-Law on the Operations of the Most Excellent City Council of Salamanca) of 29 July 2004, available at the municipal website:

Artículo 5º. (...)
3. La bandera de la ciudad de Salamanca es de color rojo carmesí sobre la que se reproduce el escudo del Municipio.
My translation
Article 5. (...)
3. The flag of Salamanca city is crimson red with the municipal arms on it.
This webpage includes a list of coats-of-arms and other graphic files, including a pendón or (hanging) banner, whose meaning and usage I do not know, but at least gives a precise idea of the shade of red used on the flag, the nearest browser-safe shade being RGB 204-0-0.

Santiago Dotor, 21 March 2002


[Coat-of-Arms (Municipality of Salamanca, Salamanca Province, Castile and Leon, Spain)]
by Santiago Dotor

One funny thing about the Salamanca arms is that they have changed at some point recently. Up to now they had the "Or, four pallets Gules, on a bordure Azure crosslets potent Argent" (ie. red and yellow bars with a blue border with white crosses) on the dexter (ie. left) side of the arms. They appear thus on the Diccionario Enciclopédico Espasa Calpe, Madrid 1978, and on the Enciclopedia Larousse, Madrid 1981, as well as on the city's old street name plaques and on stamps like the one used as a basis for the third image in Ralf Hartemink's International Civic Arms website.

However, both on recent documents published by the City Council and on the flag, that part of the arms appears on the sinister (ie. right) side. This does not appear to be a mistake, and I saw these new arms elsewhere. Actually, I did not make a note of that, but I seem to recall that (at least on the current arms) there are not four but only three pallets Gules — thus differencing these arms from the Catalan ones. However I am not 100% sure of this.

Santiago Dotor, 17 November 1999

Antonio Gutiérrez sent me the text of the 1996 Order by which the change in the arms (swapping of the two side quarters) took place. I am copying and translating it:

Boletín Oficial de Castilla y León nº 118, de 20 de junio de 1996. Orden de 11 de junio de 1996, de la Consejería de Presidencia y Administración Territorial, por la que se aprueba el escudo heráldico de Salamanca.

Escudo partido. Primero, de plata con un puente de piedra, mazonado de sable, sobre el que está pasante un toro arrestado de sable, y tras él una higuera de sinople, arrancada. Segundo, de oro con cuatro palos de gules; bordura de azur con ocho cruces paté de plata. Mantelado en jefe de plata, con dos leones mornados, al natural, salientes de los flancos y afrontados. Al timbre, la Corona Real Española, abierta y sin diademas.

My translation:
Official Bulletin of Castile and Leon, no. 118, June 20th 1996. Order of June 11th 1996, of the Presidency and Territorial Administration Department, to approve the coat-of-arms of Salamanca.

Per pale: 1. dexter Argent a stone bridge [proper] masoned Sable on which dexter a bull passant statant [sic!] Sable and sinister an erradicated fig tree Vert; 2. sinister Or four pallets Gules on a bordure Azure eight crosslets potent Argent; on a chief mantled Argent two demi-lions mornés [ie. without tongue or claws] respectant issuant from the flanks proper. Crest: an open Spanish royal crown with no arches [sic].

The text is the same as that of the Reglamento Orgánico y de Funcionamiento del Excelentísimo Ayuntamiento de Salamanca (Organic By-Law on the Operations of the Most Excellent City Council of Salamanca) of 29 July 2004, Article 5. paragraph 2., available at the municipal website.

Antonio Gutiérrez points out that the blazon has several mistakes and makes a very specific reference to how can a bull be passant and statant at the same time. My personal opinion is that whoever wrote the description used statant as a (correct) adjective for the bull's stance and passant as a previous, incorrect adverb for the bull's position (as opposed —wrongly— to affronty). The blazon also states an open crown with no arches when all open crowns are archless. Antonio Gutiérrez also says that he ignores the reason why the dexter and sinister halves were swapped, and that he lacks a copy of the Order's introductory heraldic report which might explain that particular point. He also points out that the pallets are certainly four (and not three as I had erroneously recalled). Finally, he says that even if the Order's title says approval actually it is a re-grant of already existing arms, as another part of the said Order mentions.

Santiago Dotor, 17 November 1999 and 21 March 2002

Michael Simakov wrote, "«...on a chief mantled Argent two demi-lions mornes» — this is another big change in the coat-of-arms. Until that it was «mastiff's heads (with tongues Gules)». So, we can't say that it is a re-grant of already existing Arms. This is absolutely new one". Not at all. Re-granting arms (at least in Spain) means an officialization of arms previously used (for a long period of time, usually more than 100 years) without any legislation involved. This implies a very wide collection of drawings of the same coat-of-arms was used through the years, with minor differences. I've seen this coat-of-arms with dog's, mastiff's (a dog itself, by the way), snakes' or lion's heads. The granting or re-granting of the arms fixes it definitively.

Antonio Gutiérrez, 25 November 1999

In the right of the coat[-of-arms], there appear the four symbols of the city: the Tormes river, the Roman bridge, a bull (representing the celtiberian pre-roman verraco which is still nowadays placed on the bridge) and an evergreen oak, very common in this land. In the left there is the coat[-of-arms] of Aragon-Catalonia surrounded by a bordure of azur with crosslets potent argent. The reference for Aragon-Catalonia is because in the Middle Ages Salamanca was a part of the kingdom of Leon, and many times, when Leon was at war with Castille, the Aragonese helped the Leonese. And the azur bordure is a reference to Asturias, the homeland of the kingdom of Leon.

Mikel Heavy, 11 June 2000

With due respect, I find this symbolism somewhat concocted. Castile and Leon became a united kingdom in 1230. And the cross of Asturias has always been the "cross of Victory", quite different from the crosslets potent in the Salamanca coat-of-arms. And these are white (Argent) not yellow (Or) as the Asturias one.

Santiago Dotor, 29 November 2000