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Yaiza (Municipality, Canary Islands, Spain)

Last modified: 2021-05-16 by ivan sache
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Flag of Yaiza - Image by Ivan Sache, 5 March 2018

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Presentation of Yaiza

The municipality of Yaiza (15,944 inhabitants in 2016; 21,184 ha; municipal website) forms the south-western part of the island of Lanzarote. The municipality is made of the sea resort of Playa Blanca (12,398 inh.) and of the villages of Las Breñas (370 inh.), Femés (195 inh.), El Golfo (195 inh.), Uga (1,034 inh.), Yaiza (888 inh.), Las Casitas (51 inh.), La Hoya (47 inh.), Playa Quemada (93 inh.), Cortijo Viejo (119 inh.), La Degollada (43 inh.), and La Geria (27 inh.).

Yaiza was first spotted by medieval adventurers in search of slaves, Tyrian purple, imaginary riches and lost paradises (the garden of the Hesperides). The Genoese sailor Lanceolotto Malocellus recognized the coast in 1391. The expedition led by the French lords Jean de Béthancourt (1362-1425) and Gadifer de la Salle (1340-1415) landed on 7 July 1402 on the Papagayo beach. A Bull signed in 1404 by Pope Benedict XIII (1394-1423) established the town of San Marcial de Rubicón and a cathedral, the see of the first diocese in the Canary Islands (Obispado rubicense), which was transferred in 1485, following the conquest of Gran Canaria, to the Royal town of Las Palmas.
The domain was transferred in 1420 to the Las Casas, a family from Seville of French origin, and, in 1430, to the Herrera. The Portuguese threatened Yaiza until the Treaties of Alcáço;ovas (1479) and Tordesillas (1499), which eventually allocated the Canary Islands to Spain.

Pirate raids ruined San Marcial de Rubicón; after the destruction of the church in 1593 by English corsairs, the colony was relocated further from the coast, with the establishment of the villages of Fémes, Yaiza and Uga. The violent eruption of volcano Timanfaya (1730-1735) suppressed most of the villages and forced their inhabitants to emigrate. A last eruption occurred in 1824.
The Timanfaya National Park (5,107 ha), located on the municipal territories of Yaiza and Tinajo, was established by Decree No. 2,615, adopted on 9 August 1974 by the Spanish Government and published on 17 September 1974 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 223, p. 19,134 (text), corrected on 1 October 1974 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 235, p. 20,010 (text).

The port of Playa Blanca was established in the 1970s as a fishing port. The development of tourism - the municipality counts 24 beaches - and the need of a scheduled ferry line connecting Lanzarote to Fuerteventura resulted in the building of a new port in 1981, as well as two marinas dedicated to yachting.

Ivan Sache, 5 March 2018

Symbols of Yaiza

The flag of Yaiza (photo, photo, photo, photo), approved on 3 February 2017 by the Municipal Council and validated on 21 July 2017 by the Heraldry Commission of the Community of the Canary Islands, is prescribed by an Order adopted on 7 August 2017 by the Government of the Canary Islands and published on 17 August 2017 in the official gazette of the Canary Islands, No. 158, pp. 24,695-24,697 (text).
The flag, which was already used unofficially for a long time, is described as follows.

Flag: White with three vertical stripes of equal length along the hoist, covering together 1/3 of the flag's panel; from left to right, yellow, blue and red.
The proportions shall be 2:3 (one and a half longer than wide). When the flag is charged with the coat of arms, the coat of arms shall be placed in its center.

Rationale: White, for the nobleness of the inhabitants, the purity of the environment and light; yellow for the Papagayo beaches, first place of settlement of Rubicón; red, for the volcano's fire; and blue, for the sea bathing the municipality and the island.

The coat of arms of Yaiza, approved on 3 February 2017 by the Municipal Council and validated on 21 July 2017 by the Heraldry Commission of the Community of the Canary Islands, is prescribed by an Order adopted on 7 August 2017 by the Government of the Canary Islands and published on 17 August 2017 in the official gazette of the Canary Islands, No. 158, pp. 24,698-24,701 (text).
The coat of arms is described as follows.

Coat of arms: Per fess, 1a. Gules a stone tower masoned and port and windows sable charged with a ladder of the same and surmounted by a sword argent with a Latin cross, 2. Azure a key and a crozier or in saltire, 2. Vert a volcano proper surmounted by flames or and gules. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed.

1st quarter: Gules (red), a mandatory reference to the lineage of the Marquis of Lanzarote and the burning soil of the volcanic landscape, and to fire. Among its heraldic characteristics are strength, valor, honor, audacity and triumph...
It features the castle of Los Coloradas, aka the Eagle's Tower, a fortification that formed, together with San Gabriel castle in Arrecife in Lanzarote and the Santa Bárbara / Guanapay castle in Teguise, the basis of the defensive system of the island. This is a beautiful fortification, of critical interest for the study of the military architecture in the Archipelago in a past period, of which only few remains are found in the Canary Islands because of the delay in the access of the islands to the European civilization and to history. It was erected in 1741 to protect the area from the attacks of corsairs who raided the southern coast. The fortress was rebuilt and increased in 1769 after having been burned down by Algerian troops.
Located on Eagle's Point, the fortress is of circular shape, with access provided by a drawbridge. It was built with stones, lime and Canary Islands pine wood. The dependencies consisted in a dormitory for the soldiers, three barracks, a storage for powder and two cisterns. This quarter evokes the landing of Jean de Béthencourt on the Papagayo beach in 1402, which he named Rubicón and where he built a fortress, the first European settlement in the Canary islands.
2nd quarter: Azure, the color representing the sea bathing the municipality and, in heraldry, a symbol of air, obedience, loyalty, piety and prudence...
This quarter features a crozier, recalling the place as the religious See of the Canary Islands. While in religious heraldry a bishop is represented only by a miter, here a pastoral crozier is featured: a staff curved in the upper part used by the bishops during the consecration events.
The key or, dexter, recalls the place as the first European town in the Canary Islands. Or is a symbol of splendor, prosperity, constancy, wealth, power and light.
This recalls that in 1404, Pope Clement VII [indeed, Benedict XIII, who succeeded Clement VII in 1394] granted the title of ciudad to the new settlement and established the first diocese in the Canary Islands, San Marcial de Rubicón, appointing Friar Alonso de Sanlúcar de Barrameda as the first bishop.
3rd quarter: Vert, a symbol of hope, service, greatness, also used as a reference to the profusion of palm trees. Charged with a volcano proper with flames or and gules, recalling the 1730 and 1736 eruptions, the features of the landscape and the Timanfaya National Park.

Ivan Sache, 5 March 2018

Flag of Yaiza Police


Flag of Yaiza Police - Image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 27 February 2011

The flag hoisted over the Yaiza police station is similar to the municipal flag. Here the coat of arms is surrounded by a grey 16-pointed star. There are only 14 points visible, the other are hidden by the crown at the top. The points are formed by three parallelograms each, each parallelogram is subdivided by 10 stripes. Between the star and the coat of arms is a grey inscription "POLICIA LOCAL" interrupted by an ornament consisting of two half moons and two circles.

Klaus-Michael Schneider, 22 February 2011