Last modified: 2010-03-20 by eugene ipavec
Keywords: isla cristina | crown: royal (closed) | stripes: 7 (red-white) | sailboats: 2 | tree (green) | well (blue) |
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image by Wikipedia Users:Apj and MiguelAngel fotografo, 26 Jul 2009
The municipality of Isla Cristina (20,982 inhabitants in 2008; 4,936 ha) is located on the Gulf of Cádiz, 45 km west of Huelva and 10 km from the border with Portugal. The fishing port of Isla Cristina, the second biggest Spanish sardine port after Vigo, and the first in Spain for the sales of fresh fish, perpetuates an industry initiated by Catalans in the 18th century. Tourism, favoured by 10 km of sandy beaches, is the other main source of income in Isla Cristina.
Established in 1715 near the mouth of river Guadiana, Catalan merchants were granted in 1724 by King Philip V the concession of an island ("isla") where to produce salt fish and to trade it to Catalonia. Each spring, they came back to Andalusia, purchased fish from fishers of Portugal and Andalusia, and salted it; the last shipping of salt fish to Catalonia was scheduled to Novmeber. Every year, the merchants settled the areas of Montegordo (Portugal) and La Tuta and La Mojarra, today in the middle of the Isla Cristina salt marshes ("marismas"). On 1 November 1755, the tidal wave caused by the Lisbon earthquake destroyed the merchants' headquarters; the next season, the merchants built the first permanent settlement on the island, an enclave watched by José Faneca and his family. Faneca built a well near a fig-tree ("higuera"), which gave its name to the place, La Figuereta / La Higuerita / La Figarilla.
The enclave was progressively settled by Catalans, Andalusians, Valencians and Portuguese. In 1774-1776, the Marquis of Pombal founded the Royal Town of San Antonio as the Portuguese capital of salt fish. To force the fishers of Montegordo to move to the new town, the Marquis ordered to burn down their homes, which indeed caused them to settle to La Higuerita. The increase in population and wealth of the island triggerred the interest of the lord of Ayamonte and the town of La Redondela, both claiming jurisdiction (and tax collection) over La Higuerita. Upon the fishers' request, the island was declared property of the Navy by Charles III in April 1788. In 1802, the islanders were granted administrative independence as Real Isla de la Higuerita. Made an ordinary municipality in 1833, the island was renamed Isla Cristina the next year, as a tribute to Regent Queen Maria Cristina.
In the late 19th century, the number of traditional fisheries ("almadrabas") dramatically increased on the island. In 1888, the islander Juan Martín Cabet imported modern fishing pots from the USA, while the first sardine canning factory was built in 1892. This started the "Age of Blue Gold," named for the blue fishes (tuna and sardine). On 12 December 1877, the fading village of La Redondela, with less than 500 inhabitants, was incorporated to Isla Cristina (5,000 inhabitants). Isla Cristina was then ruled by a wealthy oligarchy, who imported several novelties from Catalonia, such as lawn tennis; they also funded the set up of theaters, a cinema (1907) and a newspaper (1910). In 1926, the writer and politician Blas Infante Pérez de Vargas (1885-1936), officially considered as the "Father of the Andalusian Nation," who was then a notary in the town, supported the creation of the "Ateneo de Isla Cristina," a cultural association modelled on the famous "Ateneo de Sevilla." Exporting salt fish to Spain, Italy, Norway, Sweden and France, the islanders modernized their fleet, with sail boats and steamers coexisting for a few decades. On 29 October 1924, King Alfonso XIII granted Isla Cristina with the title of "ciudad," a title that required a population of more than 10,000 inhabitants.
Source: Wikipedia (well-designed page with explicit quotes of the references)
Ivan Sache, 26 Jul 2009
The flag of Isla Cristina was approved by the Municipal Council and submitted on 12 November 2004 to the General Directorate of Local Administration, which confirmed it by Decree on 21 December 2004, published in the Andalusian official gazette (Boletín Oficial de la Junta de Andalucía, BOJA) No. 6 on 11 January 2005.
The relevant parts of the Decree are the following:
Flag: Rectangular panel in proportions 11 x 18, divided in three equal horizontal, parallel stripes perpendicular to the hoist. The first and the third yellow, the second, central, white with three blue fesses of equal proportions in height and length. Centered and all over, the municipal coat of arms.
The symbols should be registered on the Andalusian Register of Local Entities, with their official written description and graphics (as originally submitted, but unfortunately not appended to the Decree).
Source: BOJA No. 6, p. 38, 11 Jan 2005
According to Wikipedia, yellow represents the sun, white the air and blue the sea. The coat of arms is: "Per fess. 1. Argent a tree vert flanked in dexter by a well azure; 2. Argent three fesses wavy azure two sailboats of the first. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed." The upper part represents the well and the fig tree at the origin of the village, while the lower part highlights fishing as the main source of income. Until c. 1999, the shield was surmounted by a Duke's coronet. The flag was originally adopted by the Municipal Council on 31 May 1969 (and, most probably, reapproved as reported above to fit the Andalusian law on local symbols).
The flag can be seen hoisted over the Carnaval Museum and in the port: photo credited to "Fanattiq," Mar 2008; photo credited to "Fanattiq," Jul 2007.
Ivan Sache, 26 Jul 2009