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Cañete de las Torres (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2019-09-16 by ivan sache
Keywords: cañete de las torres |
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Flag of Cañete de las Torres - Image from the Símbolos de Córdoba website, 16 September 2015

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Presentation of Cañete de las Torres

The municipality of Cañete de las Torres (3,087 inhabitants in 2013; 10,352 ha; municipal website) is located 50 km south-west of Córdoba.

Cañete was named Qannit under the Muslim rule. It is believed that the village was reconquerred form the Moors short after the seizure of Córdoba (1236); on 8 July 1237, King Ferdinand III the Saint granted Cañete to the Córdoba Council, together with the castles of Cuzna, Niculao, Espiel, Dar al Bacar and Alcolea. The town was ruled by the Order of Calatrava until 31 December 1245, when Ferdinand III swapped with Grand Master Ordoño Priego for Monfrag, Belmez, Cuzna, Vada and Cañete.

In 1293, Sancho IV ordered the Córdoba Council to transfer Cañete to Alfonso I Fernández de Córdoba, the first feudal lord of the town. However, the Council kept some privileges and still exerted justice in Cañete, until July 1306, when this last privilege was suppressed by Ferdinand IV. Henry II eventually transferred in July 1370 all the feudal powers on Cañete to Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba. Cañete was incorporated to the domain of Aguilar. Once an estate protected by a tower, Cañete was transformed by the Fernández de Córdoba in a small town; agriculture and trade boosted the economical development of Cañete.
Pedro Fernández de Córdoba II was made Marquis of Priego on 9 December 1501 by the Catholic Monarchs. Lorenzo Suárez de Córdoba y Figueroa, 2nd Marquis of Priego, issued in 1520 the Cañete Ordinances, which included several norms regulating cattle-breeding and agriculture (for instance, a register of the iron brands of all the breeders of the town, quarantine measures in case of animal epidemics, prohibition of cattle entering arable crops...).

Ivan Sache, 16 September 2015

Symbols of Cañete de las Torres

The flag and arms of Cañete de las Torres, adopted on 26 May 1998 by the Municipal council and validated on 29 October 1998 by the Royal Academy of Córdoba, are prescribed by Decree no. 265, adopted on 15 December 1998 by the Government of Andalusia and published on 12 January 1999 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 5, pp. 428-429 (text). This was confirmed by a Resolution 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 symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular, one and a half time longer (from hoist to fly) than wide, divided into two equal stripes parallel to the hoist. The first stripe, reseda yellow with a black eagle with white beak and claws surmounted by a Royal crown closed sable. The second stripe, flag green with a reseda yellow tower port and windows flag red and masoned in black, surrounded by two similar, smaller towers.
Coat of arms: Per fess, 1. Or an eagle sable beaked and armed argent surmounted by a Royal crown sable, 2. Vert a tower or port and windows gules masoned sable surrounded by two dimitiated towers of the same. The shield surmounted by a Royal Spanish crown closed.

José Antonio Moreno López (b. 1962), archeologist and official chronicler of Cañete de las Torres, was commissioned by the Municipal Council to check whether the coat of arms in traditional use was compliant with the historical traditions and the legal prescriptions, and to elaborate a proposal of municipal flag.
A search in the Municipal Archives revealed that there is no reference to proper municipal arms in Cañete before 1852. There is little more to find in external sources. At the end of the 18th century, the geographer Tomás López wrote that "arms with an eagle charged on the breast with a golden three-towered castle" were granted by the Dukes of Aguilar, together with other privileges. Madoz' dictionary (1816) simply says that "the coat of arms of the town shows a crowned eagle". While these two sources only provide a written description of the arms, Espinalt (Atlante Español, 1778-1795), Piferrer (Nobiliaro de las Reinos y Señoríos de España, 1860), and Enciclopedia universal Ilustrada Espasa Calpe show a drawing of the arms.

The oldest seal used by the municipal administration is dated 1852; the seal shows three stylized towers, the central broader and higher, standing in fess on a base and surmounted by pointed roofs. The Sigillography section of the National Archives contains a "copy of the seal used from immemorial times by the Municipality of Cañete de las Torres", dated 1876. A companion document, signed on 20 October 1876 by Simón Moyano, Mayor of the town, says that "no other seal than the current one was ever used in the municipality; its origin is related to the name of the village, referring to the towers that surrounded the manor of the Duke of Medinaceli". Those two documents are stamped with a seal featuring three towers. According to Ramírez de Arellano, the fortress originally included eight towers. Tomás López recorded only five towers. Only the donjon tower has been preserved until now, surrounded by the remains of two smaller towers, one of them being totally ruined.
The seal used in 1916 showed the towers with a clear representation of ports and windows. From 1921 onwards, the seals featured towers less stylized and with a less pointed roof than earlier. Ten years later, a new seal was designed, which would be used until the end of the Civil War, in a broader, oval shape.

The seal with towers was dropped from use in 1938, being replaced by a seal charged with the national arms. A document dated 1939 shows for the first time a seal with a crowned eagle, subsequently used as the arms of the municipality. The Special Municipal Regulation of Honours and Distinctions, drafted on 12 May 1957, prescribed the creation of a town's medal of honour, whose reverse would be charged with the municipal coat of arms. The Regulation was approved on 11 February 1959 by the Spanish Government, after validation by the Royal Academy of History. The Academy states that the design used on the medal, made of an eagle with spread wings surmounted by a Royal crown, could be used as the municipal coat of arms, providing tinctures are assigned in compliance with the rules of heraldry. The eagle must have been derived from the arms of the lords of Aguilar, which featured the eagle with hanging wings and an escutcheon or charged with three fesses gules (Fernández de Córdoba).

In order to match the two heraldic traditions recorded in the town, the official coat of arms of Cañete de las Torres should include both the feudal, canting arms and the arms previously used by the Municipal Council on its seals.
[José Antonio Moreno López. 2001. El escudo heráldico y la bandera municipal de Cañete de las Torres: antecedentes y nueva propuesta, Crónica de Córdoba y sus pueblos, 6, 397-408.]

Ivan Sache, 16 September 2015

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