Where does the Andalusian flag come from?
Published on: 13-03-2018

As many who live here know, Spain is a country with a federal system of government where regions with a strong sense of identity enjoy a high degree of self-government. The 17 autonomous regions of Spain, as they are officially called, each have their own parliaments and executive governments with highly devolved powers, and in many cases they represent parts of the country with a very distinct culture, language and way of doing things – from the very Celtic surroundings of Galicia and the unique language and culture of the Basque region to Catalonia and Castile. The differences are well-represented but also combine to form Spain.

As Spain’s largest and southernmost region, Andalucía is a fine example of this – very Spanish yet also endowed with a culture and tradition of its own. Though it doesn’t have a language of its own and ‘Castillano’ Spanish is the vernacular here, the Andalusian dialect is very distinct and instantly recognisable anywhere in Spain. Traditionally, it is the part of the country with the strongest Moorish roots, as seen in the architecture, cuisine and many of the local customs. With an area and population almost as big as that of neighbouring Portugal, so a region as large and distinct as this naturally must have its own flag.

La Bandera Andaluza

The Andalusian flag, which is technically described as a ‘horizontal tricolor’ of three bands in green, white and green, was first introduced in 1918. As far back as that, the region already felt the desire to be an ‘autonomous republic’ within a federal Spain, so while this part of the country has never had a secessionist tendency it does feel a strong sense of identity and wants to govern its own affairs within the Kingdom of Spain. The flag is the embodiment of this sentiment among the Andalusian people.

The coat of arms shows the figure of the mythical Greek hero Hercules, son of Zeus and the mortal Alcmena, appears between the columns. He is seen seizing and taming two lions, each representing the power of animal instinct, above the legend: “Andalucía por sí, para España y la humanidad”. An arc joins the two columns with the Latin inscription: “Dominator Hercules Fundator”.

While some say the green is a reference to the region’s Muslim past, in reality it represents the verdant landscape [Andalucía is the greenest part of Spain south of the northern Atlantic provinces], while the white represents peace and hope. To quote the local anthem: “The white and green flag has returned after centuries of war to sow peace and hope beneath the sun of our land.”