Sunday, July 1, 2007

The Flag of the Kingdom of Spain

The flag of the Kingdom of Spain includes the national coat of arms on inside of the yellow band. Each of the four sections on the coat of arms represents one of the four kingdoms that were merged to form Spain at the end of the 15th century: Castile, represented by the castle; León, represented by the lion; Aragon, represented by the vertical red and yellow stripes; and Navarre, represented by the linked chains. Also, Granada is represented by the pomegranate fruit at the bottom of the coat of arms. The fleur-de-lys represents the ruling House of Borbón. The “plus ultra” slogan (meaning “further beyond” in Latin) represents Spanish discovery and colonization of the Americas. The coat of arms also includes the royal seal framed by the Pillars of Hercules, which represent the two promontories (Gibraltar and Ceuta) on either side of the eastern end of the Strait of Gibraltar. Regarding the choice of the colors for the three bands, one popular theory is that it was based on the heraldic design of the Crown of Aragon. Another theory is that they were taken from the colors of the coats of arms of the original Spanish kingdoms.
The flag can be a controversial subject in Spain. When I lived in Madrid, a large flag was flown in Plaza de Colon. It became quite “polemical” - a word my students are fond of using. While certainly many Spaniards respect the flag, others could not care less about it, while still others see it as a symbol of the dominance of the state — some even go so far as to say it is a painful reminder of the time of Franco.
Here in Catalonia, many people people prefer the Catalonian flag. I definitely see more of the Catalonian flag than I do of the national one.
Copied from original posting by Carloz on 16 June, 2007

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