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Heraldica Española - Spanish Civic Heraldry


The Spanish arms are a combination of the arms of the former Kingdoms that were united in their fight against the Moors, who occupied most of the country in the early Middle Ages. The re-conquest was finalized in 1492 when the last Moorish stronghold, Granada, fell to Ferdinand and Isabella of Castille-Leon.

The arms show the castle of Castille, the lion of Leon (both canting), the pillars of Aragon and the chain of Navarra. In the bottom of the shield a small pomegranade for Granada is added. The two pillars are the pillars of Hercules, a badge adapted by Charles I (Charles V of Germany). The pillars symbolised his power on both sides of the pillars of Hercules (Street of Gibraltar). The round escutcheon shows the arms of Bourbon-Anjou, the present Royal family.

During the reign of Franco (1939-1975) the arms were basically the same, with the exception of the Royal escutcheon. The arms were more complicated as Castille-Leon were shown as a quartered field and Aragon-Navarra as a divided field. The eagle is the Imperial eagle and also the symbol of St. John Evangelist. The yoke and arrows are symbols used by Ferdinand and Isabella.

National arms during the Franco Era.

Literature : de Cadenas, A. A. and de Cadenas, V. : Heraldica de las comunidades autonomas y de las capitales de provincia. Hidalguia, Madrid, 1985; Louda, J. : European Civic Heraldry. Hamlyn, London, 1966.

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