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Algodonales (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2020-04-25 by ivan sache
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Flag of Algodonales - Image by Ivan Sache, 29 March 2014, coat of arms from the Símbolos de Cadíz website

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Presentation of Algodonales

The municipality of Algodonales (5,719 inhabitants in 2013; 13,416 ha) is located in the Sierra de Líjar, 120 km north-east of Cádiz.

Algodonales was granted municipal emancipation from Zahara de la Sierra on 18 November 1816, together with the title of "Village among the Most Deserving in Spain", as a reward for the heroic behaviour of the villagers during the War of independence.
On 22 April 1810, at 10 AM, a rider entered Algodonales, announcing that the village of Montellano had been invaded and burned down by the French troops. After a meeting on the village square, a column made of 13 riders, commanded by Gaspar Tardío, and 60 soldiers, commanded by Francisco Salcedo, was formed. Together with the column from Puerto Serrano, the volunteers of Algodonales entered Montellano. They convinced the last defender of the town, Mayor José Romero, to withdraw with his family to Algoodnales, where he was received as a hero.
On 1 May, a French division, commanded by General of Brigade Jean-Pierre Maransin (1770-1828), attacked Algodonales; the division was composed of 6,000-10,000 men. Led by Mayor Juan Ximenez de la Barrerra, the villagers fiercely resisted the assault, causing severe loss to the French troops. After the villagers had refused to surrender, Maransin ordered on 2 May the artillery to destroy Algodonales. The blaze suppressed 73 houses and claimed 237 lives. A chronicle of 1870 states: "The houses were burnt and the village left was just a heap of ruins. 239 people were slaughtered, men, women and children. The remaining inhabitants were left in greatest misery, being plundered, with their belongings robbed, their fields devastated and forced to pay 200,000 reals in order to release captured people from French prisons".
The event has been popularized by the "2nd of May Ode", published in 1866 by the poet Bernardo López (1838-1870), subsequently nicknamed "The Poet of the 2nd May".
The name of the municipality is derived from the Arab word al qutun, "cotton plants". According to Igartaburu, the cotton fields had already been replaced in 1847 by allotment gardens growing vegetables.
[Dos de Mayo website]

Ivan Sache & Klaus-Michael Schneider, 6 May 2014

Symbols of Algodonales

The flag of Algodonales, adopted on 24 January 1996 by the Municipal Council and validated on 16 May 1996 by the Royal Academy of Córdoba, is prescribed by Decree No. 351, adopted on 16 July 1996 by the Government of Andalusia and published on 17 August 1996 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 94, pp. 10,073-10,074 (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 flag is described as follows:

Flag: One and a half longer than wide, divided into three parallel stripes parallel to the hoist, the first red, of 1/4 in length, the second white, of 2/4 in length, and the third green, on 1/4 in length. On the geometrical axis of the central stripe, the traditional coat of arms of Algodonales approved by Ferdinand VII, surmounted by a Royal crown closed.

The flag (photo) was inaugurated on 2 May 1997, in the presence of the President of the Provincial Council of Cádiz. During the celebration, 65 flags and more than 2,000 flaglets were shared among the population.
The red stripe is the symbol of the blood shed during the defense of the village. It is also the colour of the Ponce de León lineage, Marquis of Zahara and once lords of Algodonales. White and green are the colours of the Andalusian flag; the colours also symbolize the Arab origin of the village.
[Símbolos de Cadíz website]

The coat of arms of Algodonales is prescribed by Decree No. 2,728, adopted on 27 July 1964 by the Spanish Government and published on 10 September 1964 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 218, p. 11,910 (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 coat of arms, "of immemorial use" and validated by the Royal Academy of History, is described as follows:

Coat of arms: Oval in shape. Argent, a burning house proper, in chief the letters "P L I N", "Por la independencia nacional".

The burning house and the motto are a direct reference to the 2 May 1810 episode. The coat of arms in current use, including on the arms, is slightly different, being of Spanish shape, with a bordure gules, inscribed "POR LA INDEPENDENCIA NACIONAL" in letters sable, and surmounted by a Royal crown closed.
According to Igartaburu (1847) and Poley y Poley (1901), Algodonales once used the same coat of arms as Zahara de le Sierra. The Governor of Province of Cádiz proposed arms displaying a burning house on a dark base. Above the house was the inscription "P.L.I.N.", which was granted to the municipality in 1876. Fixed in 1964, the arms were modified by a referendum to the design in today's use.
[José Antonio Delgado y Orellana. Heráldica Municipal de la Provincia de Cádiz]

Klaus-Michael Schneider & Ivan Sache, 6 May 2014