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Standard of the Head of State 1940-1975 (Spain)

Estandarte de S.E. el Jefe del Estado y Generalísimo de los Ejércitos

Last modified: 2015-07-28 by ivan sache
Keywords: spain | head of state | franco (general francisco) | columns: 2 | swallowtailed |
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Estandarte Guión
[Head of State 1940-1975 (Spain)] 1:1     
image by José Carlos Alegría
[Head of State 1940-1975 (Spain), guidon variant] 65cm × 65cm
image by Santiago Dotor
Flag adopted 1940, confirmed 1945, no longer used after 20th November 1975, abolished 21st January 1977

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The flag that Generalissimo Franco used as Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces was "purpure a bend engouled of dragon-wolves (dragantes lobos), all or, between the Pillars of Hercules proper, crowned with an open royal crown that in sinister chief and imperially crowned that in dexter base".

Juan Morales, 10 Apr 1999

Smith 1975 says that Franco used "an old cavalry guidon" as his personal flag. This is wrong. The flag was old indeed, being the Banda Real de Castilla (Royal Bend of Castile), that is, the personal flag of the kings of Castile (also used later on by the Spanish Hapsburg kings). Its primitive origin dates back to the times when Castile was only an Earldom, and the Count of Castile used "Gules a bend Or" as his coat-of-arms, before the canting arms of "Gules a castle triple-towered Or masoned Sable windows and gate Azure" were adopted. Smith's reference to "cavalry" probably derives from the fact that Franco's positional flag was termed in Spanish guión which nowadays indicates a personal flag of a chief-of-state.

Santiago Dotor, 21 Oct 1999

There were two versions of this standard, as happens nowadays with the king's and the heir prince's standards:

  • One was the estandarte (standard) which was square and was used (in several sizes and qualities) as a flag on vessels, vehicles, buildings, etc. This is the one shown in José Carlos Alegría's GIF.
  • The other one was the guión (guidon) which had three tails, in the shape of a medieval standard of the king of Castile – which it closely resembled in design (the Gules a bend Or banner). There was a single sample of the latter flag, which was carried by a standard-bearing officer of the Generalissimo's guard (until 1956 the colourful Moorish Guard). This guión was 65 cm square (not considering the tails), and was accompanied by two streamers, corresponding to General Franco's decorations: the Order of Military Merit (partly shown in the GIF) and the Laureate Cross of St Ferdinand.
Please note that the colour shown in Calvo and Grávalos 1983 for the standard is red (gules), rather than purpure (whatever interpretation one may give to the latter). I ignore whether the official description of the standard mentioned it being purpure. Smith 1975 also shows a more or less purpure shade as in José Carlos Alegría's GIF, but still I am not sure whatsoever about the correct shade.

The standard was adopted in 1940, confirmed in 1945 by the Decree on flags, no longer used after 20th November 1975 and abolished by the flags Decree of 1977. I ignore however which of both models (maybe both) did the 1940 Order approve.

Santiago Dotor, 26 Mar 2001

The source for my GIF was Pedersen 1971b. I used FOTW dark red for the flag, which I believe fits perfectly.

José Carlos Alegría, 31 Mar 2001