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Do you know the history of the asturian flag? Did you know that the flag of Asturias could have been red and yellow?

The truth is that the history of the flag of Asturias is interesting.  And not only because of the flag itself, but also because it serves to explain a subject that interests us a lot.

Yes, sometimes historical symbols are symbols, but only symbols.  Any resemblance with historical reality is pure coincidence.


When and how did the flag of Asturias come about?

The truth is that it is difficult to date precisely when the Asturian flag was created, although the first time it was used is dated. 

The first flag that is identified with the one we know today was at the end of the 18th century- beginning of the 19th century.  Previously there was some banner, but it must be taken into account that the previous flags did not identify territories, but rather kings or feudal lords.

Thus, it is said that at the end of the 18th century Jovellanos (a Gijón-born illustrious man who became Minister of Grace and Justice, perhaps one of the most advanced characters for his time) proposed a flag with the so-called “Cruz de la Victoria” in yellow on a red or blue background.


What is the meaning of the “Cruz de la Victoria”? 

The “Cruz de la Victoria” is a goldsmith’s work from the year 908, in the middle of the Asturian monarchy.  It was a time when Asturias was perhaps the most powerful Christian kingdom in the fight against the Muslims on the peninsula.  And at that time, when religion and politics were so intertwined, a symbol of struggle and identity against the Muslims was needed.  Thus, it was said that the Victoria Cross was the Cross with which Pelayo had expelled the Muslims at the Battle of Covadonga, thus initiating the Reconquest.

Of course, the Battle of Covadonga took place sometime between 718 and 722, and the Victoria Cross dates from 908.

I don’t know how long your furniture lasts at home.  But 200 years, with several wars, changes of kings, internal and external conflicts and so on, is still a long time for a cross used in a battle two centuries earlier to suddenly appear.  In addition, a Carbon 14 test was carried out at the time on the wooden cross, and it was shown that the oak from which it was made dates from the 10th century.  Does this historical manipulation ring a bell…?


Is the Victoria Cross a historical symbol of the Asturian monarchy?

Well, yes and no. Let me explain.  It is true that the Victoria Cross is a work of the Asturian monarchy, but it is not true that it is a historical witness of the battle of Covadonga.  In other words, it is a work that was used in the 10th century to create a symbol of identity.  But often identity symbols do not correspond to history.  In fact, over time, they change their meaning.

Bear in mind that in the 10th century the Victoria Cross was a symbol of the Asturian Christian monarchy against the Muslim enemy.   Nowadays you will understand that it does not have that meaning, far from it.

So, you see, it is difficult to take symbols literally.  They are just that, symbols, which sometimes have or do not have importance depending on their context, and which can even change their meaning over time.


But let’s return to the flag.

Well, that’s just it.  In 1808, on 25 May, in the midst of the French invasion, the General Assembly of Asturias proclaimed itself sovereign, mounted an army in alliance with the English and adopted the flag with the Victoria Cross on a blue background.  And it is accompanied by the phrase “Asturias nunca vencida” (Asturias never defeated).  Don’t ask me for a historical analysis of that phrase, please…

You see, once again a symbol against the foreigner, against the other.  This time it was the turn of the French, hey.


And today?

With the arrival of democracy, the Asturian flag was recovered in 1977, although it was not until 1990 when its shape, colours and other characteristics were made official by law.

As a curiosity, you may see the Asturian flag with a red star on one side at a demonstration or concert.  This is the symbol that is often added to official flags in order to defend the independence or nationalism of the area.

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