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Canary Islands (Autonomous Community, Spain): Subdivisions

Last modified: 2016-04-23 by ivan sache
Keywords: canary islands |
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Legislation on local flags

The procedure of approval of local flags (consolidated text) is prescribed by Decree No. 123, adopted on 29 June 1990 by the Government of the Canary Islands and published on 30 July 1990 in the official gazette of the Canary Islands, No. 95, pp. 2,785-2,788 (text). Minor corrections to the Decree were published on 17 September 1990 in the official gazette of the Canary Islands, No. 117, p. 3,533 (text).

Article 1.
1. The grant of titles, honours and distinctions to the local corporations of the Canary Archipelago, as well as the grant of titles, mottos and distinctions to the islands and municipalities, shall come under the authority of the Government.
2. The approval of coats of arms, shields and flags shall be signed by the Councillor of the Presidency.

Article 2.
The approval referred to in the previous Article, Paragraph 1.2, shall be proceeded as follows:
1. Proceeding by the local entity. The requiring corporation shall start with a file submitted to the Vice-Council of Territorial Administration, including the following documents:
    a. The entreaty signed by the Mayor or the President of the corporation.
    b. A memoir, duly documented, written in technical heraldic language and signed by an expert in that matter, detailing the historical, cultural and social reasons supporting the proposal, from an heraldic point of view.
    c. A certificate, sent by the Secretary of the corporation, stating that the memoir was approved by the Municipal Council by the simple majority of its members.
    d. A graphical drawing of the proposal of coat of arms, shield or flag, compliant with the features listed in Article 3 and with the templates attached as an Appendix to this Decree.
    e. Public exhibition, in order to collect appeals.
    f. A memoir, written in technical heraldic language, detailing the appeals collected during the process of public information.
2. Proceeding by the Vice-Council of Territorial Administration
    a. After having received the complete documentation submitted by the corporation, the Vice-Council of Territorial Administration shall require a recommendation from the Institute of Canarian Studies, which is expected to release a positive recommendation within 45 days.
    b. If the recommendation from the Institute of Canarian Studies does not match the proposal submitted by the local entity, appeal or withdrawal shall occur within 15 days.
3. Resolution
The file shall be approved by a Decree signed by the Councillor of the Presidency and published in the official gazette of the Canary Islands, without prejudice of communication to the requiring corporation.

Article 3.
The design of coats of arms, shields and flags shall comply with the following general criteria:
1. Flags
    a. Proportions: The panel shall have proportions 2:3 (1.5 longer than wide), according to the template attached as Appendix 1 to this Decree.
    b. Coat of arms: If the flag is charged with the arms, the coat of arms shall be placed in the center of the flag's panel.
2. Coats of arms
    a. Element: If the local entity lacks traditional heraldry, the main element of the coat of arms shall be representative of the place or its neighbourhood, by the ways of charges arranged in quarters, in compliance with the rules of heraldry.
    b. Shape: The shape of the coat of arms shall be designed according to the template attached as Appendix II to this Decree, in compliance with the Spanish heraldic tradition.
    c. Crown: The Royal crown closed, of the Spanish Constitutional monarchy, shall be used, except in specific cases based on documented tradition.
    d. Laurel wreath shall be used only if substantially documented.

The Decree was amended by Decree No. 157, adopted on 8 October 1992 by the Government of the Canary Islands and published on 19 October 1992 in the official gazette of the Canary Islands, No. 146, pp. 8,765-8,766 (text). The main changes are the establishment of the Heraldry Commission of the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands and the substitution of the Vice-Council of Territorial Administration by the Directorate General of Territorial Administration.

Article 1.
Article 1bis shall be added to Decree No. 123 of 29 June 1990, as follows:

Article 1bis.
1. The Heraldry Commission of the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands is established, whose task shall be to release a recommendation on files submitted by the Directorate General of Territorial Administration for the approval of coats of arms, shields, flags and banner [pendones], as well as for the grant of titles, honours and distinctions to the local entities of the Canarian Archipelago.
2. The Heraldry Commission shall be presided by the Director General of Territorial Administration. Its members shall be a representative of the Institute of Canarian Studies; an expert in heraldry, of prestigious fame, appointed by the Councillor of the Presidency; the Head of the Local Administration; and the Head of the Section of the Legal Regime of the Local Corporations, who shall also serve as the Secretary of the Commission.
The Director General of the Territorial Administration may want to delegate the presidency of the Commission to the Head of Service of the Local Administration.
3. The Heraldry Commission shall receive the required administrative support from the Office of Local Administration of the Directorate General of Territorial Administration.
4. The regime of operation of the Heraldry Commission shall be as prescribed in Article 9 et passim of the Law of Administrative Procedure.

Article 2.
Article 2.1 of Decree No. 123 of 29 June 1990 shall be completed as follows:
    "d. A graphical design of the proposal of coat of arms, shield or flag, compliant with the features listed in Article 3 and with the templates attached as an Appendix to this Decree. For a coat of arms, the proposal shall include the graphical representation of the used tinctures, according to heraldry."

Article 3.
Article 2.2 of Decree No. 123 of 29 June 1990 shall be rephrazed as follows:
    "2. Proceeding by the Directorate General of Territorial Administration After having received the complete documentation submitted by the corporation, the Director General of Territorial Administration shall convey the Heraldry Commission, which will release a motivated recommendation on the submitted proposal. If the recommendation does not match the proposal submitted by the local entity, appeal should be made at this audience within 15 days. If the recommendation is positive, the Commission shall propose to the Councillor of the Presidency to solve the issue by proposing a Decree."

The Decree was further amended by Decree No. 331, adopted on 22 December 2011 by the Government of the Canary Islands and published on 27 December 2011 in the official gazette of the Canary Islands, No. 252, pp. 30,112-30,150 (text). The new Decree is indeed the Constitution of the Council of Presidency, Justice and Equality.

Article 1 of the Decree states that Article 1bis of the Decree No. 123 of 29 June 1990 shall be rephrazed as follows:

    1. The Heraldry Commission of the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands shall be the consultative body in the matter of local heraldry and vexillology and grant of titles, honours and distinctions to the Canarian local entities.
    2. The composition of the Heraldry Commission of the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands shall be established by the Constitution of the Council competent in the matter of Local Administration.

Appendix to Decree No. 331 gives the Constitution of the Council of Presidency, Justice and Equality.
Article 18 of the Constitution lists the competencies of the Councillors, including:
m) The approval of coats of arms, shield and flags of the local entities of the Canary islands.
Section 8 of the Constitution is dedicated to the Heraldry Commission of the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands.

Article 86.
Characteristics, composition and function
1. The Heraldry Commission of the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands shall be the consultative body in the matter of local heraldry and vexillology and grant of titles, honours and distinctions to the Canarian local entities.
2. The composition of the Commission shall be the following:
    a) Presidency: the entitled member of the Vice-Council with competencies in the matter of Local Administration.
    b) Members
- The entitled member of the Directorate General with competencies in the matter of institutional relations.
- A representative of the Institute of Canarian Studies;
- An expert in heraldry appointed by the Presidency of the Commission;
- Two civil servants from the Council of Presidency, Justice and Equality with competencies in the matter of Local Administration, one of them serving as Secretary of the Commission.
    c) Specialists in specific matters may participate, when invited by the Presidency of the Commission, without the right of vote.
3. The Commission shall exert the functions prescribed by Decree No. 123 of 29 June 1990, which prescribed the procedure of approval by the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands of coats of arms, shields and flags of the islands and municipalities of the archipelago.

Ivan Sache, 19 April 2015


Municipalities

Use of municipal flags

There was probably a time when municipalities used a plain white flag with a coat of arms in its centre. The Military Museum in Santa Cruz de Tenerife keeps such flags of Adeje, Arafo, Arico, Arona, Candelaria, El Sauzal, El Tanque, Fasnia, Garachico, Guía de Isora, Güímar, Icod de los Vinos, La Orotava, Puerto de la Cruz, San Miguel de Abona, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Santiago del Teide, and Tacoronte.
A few municipalities still fly such a flag, either unofficially (Candelaria and Puerto de la Cruz) or officially (La Orotava and Santa Cruz de Tenerife).

The book Heráldica institucional de Canarias by Pedro Lasso (Tenerife, 2003) shows images of coloured flags without the coat of arms. The flag in actual use are often charged with the coat of arms; in most cases, the official text prescribing the symbols allows the use of the two types of flags.
Detailed information on the flags can be found in the book Banderas y escudos de Canarias, published in 2007 by José Manuel Erbez, and in the companion website Símbolos de Canarias for subsequent updates.

José Manuel Erbez, Klaus-Michael Schneider & Ivan Sache, 21 March 2008


Municipality index

| Adeje | Agaete | Agüimes | Agulo | Alajeró | La Aldea de San Nicolás | Antigua | Arafo | Arico | Arona | Arrecife | Artenara | Arucas |
| Barlovento | Betancuria | Breña Alta | Breña Baja | Buenavista del Norte |
| Candelaria |
| Fasnia | Firgas | La Frontera | Fuencaliente |
| Gáldar | Garachico | Garafía | Granadilla de Abona | La Guancha | Guía de Isora | Güímar |
| Haría | Hermigua |
| Icod de los Vinos | Ingenio |
| Los Llanos de Aridane |
| La Matanza de Acentejo | Mazo | Mogán | Moya |
| La Oliva | La Orotava |
| Pájara | Las Palmas de Gran Canaria | El Paso | El Pinar de El Hierro | Puerto de la Cruz | Puerto del Rosario | Puntagorda | Puntallana |
| Los Realejos | El Rosario |
| San Andrés y Sauces | San Bartolomé | San Bartolomé de Tirajana | San Cristóbal de La Laguna | San Juan de la Rambla | San Miguel de Abona | San Sebastián de la Gomera | Santa Brígida | Santa Cruz de la Palma | Santa Cruz de Tenerife | Santa Lucía de Tirajana | Santa María de Guía de Gran Canaria | Santa Úrsula | Santiago del Teide | El Sauzal | Los Silos |
| Tacoronte | El Tanque | Tazacorte | Teguise | Tejeda | Telde | Teror | Tías | Tegueste | Tijarafe | Tinajo | Tuineje |
| Vallehermoso | Valle Gran Rey | Valleseco | Valsequillo de Gran Canaria | Valverde | Vega de San Mateo | La Victoria de Acentejo | Vilaflor |
| Yaiza |


 
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