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Iberian Federalism

Last modified: 2015-07-28 by ivan sache
Keywords: iberia | portugal | spain | iberian federalism | federalism | politics |
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[Iberian Federalist Flag]
image by António Martins

See also:


The history of the Iberian peninsula is one of successive reunification and fragmentation, thoughout the last 2000 years: Romans, Barbarians (Sweves, Wandals and Wisigoths), Arabs and the contemporary peoples went back and forth in this routine countless times. The most recent of these union times was in 1580-1640, under the three Felipes (II, III and IV in Spain; I, II, and III in Portugal). In fact, the re-independence of Portugal was an historical oddball, because it didn't follow the breakup of Spain. However, after 1640, and until the beginning of our century, the possibility of a re-merging was always considered as a serious alternative to Portuguese problems, in a recurrent movement called Iberism. The earlier form of this, in the 17th century, was named "Iberian Iberism" (!) and favoured the reunion of the two kingdoms, with the (Spanish) king moving to Lisbon, capital of the putative new realm.

Yet another form of this movement, quite popular around the 1820 crisis in Portugal, was the "Republican Iberism," proposing the reoganization of the [Iberian] peninsula as a Federation of seven republics – Portugal being divided into Lusitânia Ulterior and Lusitânia Citerior, this with capital in Santarém, away from the sea to avoid attacks from the English (!).

Recently (maybe up to the beginning of the 20th century), this movement used a flag quartered with the colours of Portugal and Spain: clockwise from top hoist, white, red, yellow and blue. (It's easy to be sure that this design could have not been possible before these had become the national colors in both countries...) This very pattern, repeated in stripe fashion, was used as bunting and cockardes by men, while adherent ladies are said to have used ribbons with YBWR horizontal stripes or WBYR diagonal stripes...

Source: Grande Enciclopédia Luso-Brasileira, entry on Iberismo.

António Martins, 26 May 1999

The Iberian flag was created by the Catalan writer Sinibald Mas i Sans in 1854. It is quartered with the colours of the monarchist Portuguese (white and blue) and Spanish flags (red and yellow), dating from 1830 and 1785 respectively.

According to the Iberists, the Federation or Confederation should be formed by the peninsular parts of Portugal and Spain (whithout the Aran Valley, which should belong to Gascony), the Balearic Islands, Gibraltar, Andorra, and the Basque and Catalan regions of France. Four languages should be official: Spanish, Galician-Portuguese, Catalan and Basque.

According to Mas the federal or confederal capital city was to be established at Santarem, Ribatejo, Portugal, but the capital city of the Diocesis Hispaniarum, created by the Roman Emperor Diocletianus in 287 C.E. was Emerita Augusta, Merida, Spanish Extremadura.

Source: Wikipedia: Iberian Federalism

It is furthermore not a coincidence that the Iberian flag has the same colours (in a different order) as the flag of the Maritime Province of Barcelona, as it was the birth-place of Sinibald Mas i Sans, the author of the Iberian flag.

Name withheld by request, 19 and 23 Oct 2007

Interestingly the P&O houseflag, which is also designed based on those two flags, seems to pre-date this by just a handful of years. Could it have been an influence?

James Dignan, 19 Oct 2007

For those unaware of the geopolitical situation in this part of Europe, please note that:

  1. Hispania does not exist as a political entity. The name comes from the Roman period, but even then it was not a political entity; the Roman provinces were: Tarraconensis, Lusitania and Baetica.
  2. During the period 1580-1640, when Portugal was under the three Spanish Felipe kings (II, III and IV), the Iberian kingdoms never united under the name Hispania.
  3. The geographical region is correctly (and usually) called Iberian Peninsula. It is sometimes called Iberia, but again as a geographical entity, not a political one.
  4. The geographical Iberian Peninsula includes nowadays: an independent Republic (Portugal), an independent Kingdom (Spain), an independent Principality (Andorra), and a dependent territory (Gibraltar, UK). The closest relation between them is in the European Union framework; that is, the same as between, say, between Finland and Greece. Even the official languages of the Iberian entities are all different: Portuguese, Castilian, Catalonian and English.
  5. Hispania, or similar words like Hizpania in Polish, is the name for the Kingdom of Spain in some languages. So the title "Symbols for Hispania" is misleading also in this way.

Francisco Santos, 06 Jun 2003

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