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City of Reus (Catalonia, Spain)

Tarragona Province

Last modified: 2015-07-29 by ivan sache
Keywords: spain | catalonia | tarragona | reus | rose: heraldic (red) | coat of arms |
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[City of Reus (Catalonia, Spain)] 2:3
image by Jaume Ollé

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Reus is my town. Gaudi, a world famous architect, was born there. The flag has been in use for over 100 years or so (minor changes in the rose several times) but currently it is not official because it doesn't have the aprobation of the Generalitat de Catalunya (autonomous government). The rose is the sign that the Holy Virgin gave to a girl in one apparition in the 17th century. The coat-of-arms of the city includes the rose and on top Saint Peter's keys – the shield was granted by Pope Benedictus XIII, an anti-Pope and a citizen of the Catalan domains, who was recognized by all the Catalan cities. During major holidays (i.e. Saint Peter's day) the coat-of-arms is displayed on the flag (then it is the so called Pomp flag) and is used in vertical.

Several flags exist currently in Reus:

  • Flag of Air Club
  • Flag of the Virgen de la Misericordia (Our Lady of Mercy)
  • Flags of football clubs
  • Flags of sport clubs
  • Flags of commercial societies

Jaume Ollé, 23 Jul 1997

Saint Peter's Day, 29 June, is the main day of my town. Some days before all the streets are decorated with flags, pennants, gonfalons or vertical flags, and a "Catalan" model of flag named "domasso" that is an engraved manufacture. The most frequent flag is, of course, the Catalan one, in vertical and horizontal versions, in the form of a shield and also in triangular form. Next is the flag of Reus, white with a heraldic rose. The rose was the sign that the Virgin gave to the city. It is also shown in vertical and horizontal position, and this year I saw three versions of the rose. In the light of the main square the flag ondulating in form of shield (rectangular but pointed in the fly) with the rose exactly in the center. A variant is the Catalan flag in the same form but with the Reus rose, not in the center of the flag, but in the center of the rectangular part. In the Town Hall is the Ceremonial flag: white vertical flag with Saint Peter's Keys (very similar to the shield of the Vatican) and superimposed the city coat-of-arms (argent with rose).

The next most frequent flags are the ones of the groups that participate in the activities: flag of "Gegants," "Nanos," "Ball de Gitanes" (hoisted by our youngest vexillologist Elisabet Ollé) "Ball de Valencianes," "Ball de Baston" "L'aguila," "El Carrasclet" "Ball de Caballets," "El Drac," and several others that I don't remember now. Also the flags of the Music Bands: the City Music Band and "Pare Manyanet Music Band"; and the flag of the sportive clubs: Reus Sportiu and Ploms. Finally several private companies hoisted flags: Citroen, Ford, etc.

Jaume Ollé, 30 Jun 1998

Reus has near 100,000 citizens and is located about 10 km from Tarragona city and also 10 km from the Mediterranean coast.

Jaume Ollé, 07 May 2001

Erroneous Report

[Erroneously Reported City of Reus (Catalonia, Spain)] 2:3
image from Eduardo Panizo's Vexilla Hispanica, 25 Jul 2003

This flag of Reus if wrong. There is not a wreath (never was) and the heraldic rose is not fully equal as in the old pattern, and different from the current pattern.

Jaume Ollé, 25 Jul 2003

Flag 1774-c. 1943

[Reus 1774-c. 1943 (Catalonia, Spain)]
image by Jaume Ollé

The flag of Reus is white with a heraldic rose in center. Rose was conceded to the city by the lord Pere Roger de Belfort (from the house of Rosiers) in 1349. Pere Roger has personal arms and banner that was white with diagonal blue band (from upper to lower) and six heraldic roses (three in each side). Later the rose was attribued to a virgin miracle with a local sainte named Isabel Besora, but of course was a pietous tradition dont related with the true history.

Pere Roger de Belfort was named Pope in Avinyo (now Avignon) in 1370 under name of Gregori XI and after this the city arms were crowned with the Papal emblem (crossed keys) perhaps in addition that St Peter was the standard of the city.

New lord of Reus was Pere de Luna, that in 1389 was named Pope under the name of Benet XIII Firts preserved images of the arms are from 1391. Images with several patterns of rose are preserved in books and monuments, alone a rose or with a two crossed keys. Many details of this representations can be found in the Bulletin of the "Centre de Lectura" (issues 7, 8 and 9). In XVI century the "tiara" (bishop cap) is added to the arms. At end of XVI century of early XVII we can found in coins representations without rose, but only crossed keys, and then is frequently added the "tiara" that already was pictured in previous representations. But soon another coin appear with rose (dated probably 1717). 1704 single rose appear in a stone monument. In 1706 the king, in war against the [French pretender], conceded to Reus the title of "City" (before was a villa) and later, in 1712, in the last times of the [Spanish War of Succession], the title of Imperial City. Then the arms were changed: great arms were two griffon (in title say lions) a gold shield under crown. In shield an eagle (one head) and in the body the rose. Small arms were the eagle with the rose in the body. The eagle was supresed after the defeat of [1714], but eagle was preserved in local folk: an eagle made by the Franciscans of the city, defiled in some local holidays, until that was forbidden (...) (only was restored c. 1992). (...) 1736 we can found the first modern redention of the arms: a shield with a rose (not heraldic) under tiara and, in background of the shield but depasing the borders, the crossed keys. Not heraldic rose follow in the next years in many representations.

1774 was created the first official flag of the city. The flag was carmesi (dark red) fringed gold. and gold embrodoined elaborate arms. This flag was in use until years 1940s, and is now in the local Museum. The arms are pictured or preseved in many documents and show in all in different pattern but preserving the basic design of rose (not heraldic) crossed keys and tiara. In this era Reus was the second city of Catalonia after Barcelona and was a powerful commercial city, and need a port for exporting its porducts. A channel from the coast to Reus (9 kms) was aproved by the (...) government but never constructed. For marking the condition of inner comercial city a castle was added in the arms in late XVIII century: vertical divised in two fields, has in the first one the rose, and in the second the castle (in fact seems a tower but is always named castle). This castle dispear after 1803 but is yet quoted in a poeme in 1806. In some representations of this era the tiara and keys were supresed surely because the laic french influence. (...) In this years a representation show a figure (hercules) instead tower, and rest show only rose. In 1854 we can found other time a vertical divised representation with a book (probably the constitution) instead tower. When general Prim partisans obtain the power in the city Hercules figure was restablished symbolizing the strong of Reus in the fight for freedom (in the sens of liberal constitution). Shield was oval vertical divised, rose in first part and Hercules in second, and a small rounded triangle at bottom with the tiara and crossed keys. Several variants were represented in this years. This shield was added (metallic) in the upper part of the shaft in the city flag and in the bands of the councilman (carmesi with this arms embrodoined in argent). General Prim take the power in Madrid in 1868 and deposed the [Bourbon] dynasty (...) naming Amadeo of Savoy as king, but after he was murdered, republic was proclaimed following a serie of feredarlist revolts that ended in the restabishment of the [Bourbon] dynasty.

In the monument devoted to Prim in Reus (1891) the arms of the city were included containing all the last elements: no heraldic rose, Hercules, tiara and crossed keys (1891-1899 were added a laurel wretahs at sides). In 1899 the tiara and keys were supresed and substitued by a baronial crown completed as mural crow; and also Hercules was suppresed. Rose is now heraldic (laurel wreaths follow).

In 1940 the local government asked to the Museum for the arms and flag. Answer was that the arms were always in white (argent) background, and in a unknow date perhaps c. 1943, flag was changed from dark red to white with heraldic rose. Laurel in arms were suppresed and tiara and keys resatblished. Heraldic rose was the single element of the arms as conceded in 1349. The arms are not according the current law but widely used in official documents and by people (postcards, souvenirs, banners, commercial anounces....). This flag is officially hoisted but dont aproved, but surely, when official adopted, will are changed only slighty in some artistic details.

This flag is in a local Museum but I never see it. If any time I can see it perhaps some detail in the embroidering can be corrected, but arms are exact because they are take from a line drawing made directly from the original by a local artist.

Jaume Ollé, 07 May 2001