Part of this information (also referred before) contains rectifications to the wrong information published in a anticatalan panphlet edited by the newspaper LAS PROVINCIAS, (5, 6, 7 and 8 October 1998)
Valencia: the crowned senyera
The anticatalan militants affirm that Peter III of Catalonia, IV of Aragon and II of Valencia granted a crowned in gold on blue background, in the year 1377. The mention in the Handbook of Councils of Valencia (years 1375-1383, n. 17, sig. A) is so uncertain that it can be asserted that it has no relation with senyera and certainly it does not mention the blue. The supposed grant is justified with the courage shown by the Valencians when fought beside the Catalans in defense of the Kingdom against the assault of Peter the Cruel of Castille. It seems probable that it is the grant of a seal with crown (this last later transferred to the royal senyera but the lozenge with the crown would not to correspond to the body of the shield (since there is other shield well documented for Valencia) and ther efore it could be that it shared field with the existing shield as happens in the case of the cities of Castelló and Alacant. The use of the Catalan royal crown in the Catalan royal flag, all this turned into the symbol of Valencia, proves how far the royal dominions of Catalonia and Valencia, still having their own regional institutions, were united.
The form of lozenge in the shield is considered a feminine symbol, since Valencia was considered of this gender. Nevertheless, around the end of 14 century the lozenge-shaped shield tended to be generalized.
In 1401 king Martin granted the Ragpickers union of Valencia the use of the Royal Flag with the symbol of the Union on it. This said grant remains depicted in a contemporary water-color, taken from record 2282 of the Royal Archive of the Crown of Aragon (in Barcelona). The Royal Flag keeps the round-ended shape similar to the "Peno de la Conquesta". There is a mention to the use of the Royal Flag in Valencia: the "Reial Privilegi de Salvaguarda" (Royal Privilege of Safeguard) granted by king Martin in Benassal and other towns of the region of the Maeztrazgo on 15 April 1404. In this it is ordered that "Penones regios apponant seu affigant aut apponi faciant vel afigi", that is, "put or fix Royal Flags, or make them be put or fixed". On 17 May of the same year arrived to Benassal the royal delegate, Jaume Sala, that it proceed to put four royal flags: in the Porch d'en Salla (where there is a commemorative mural), in the Town Court or Hall, in the Tower of the Abbey and in the Tower of Sant Agustí de la Mola; and ordered that if by any cause such Royal Standards... were destroyed, fell or were spoiled, he gave them license or faculty so that they could repair, mend, change them and increase or reduce their size.
In 1406 king Martin made mention of ancient flags: "I want to tell you a very courageous act that the king our great-grandfather made when he sent the king, our grandfather, his son, to the conquest of Sardinia, when holding in his hands our royal fl ag said these words: Son, I give you our ancient flag of the Principality of Catalonia, the one which has a singular privilege that it is necessary to preserve well; this said privilege is not forged not made-up, but is pure and clean and stainless, and c onfirmed by Golden Bulla; and is that never, in any battlefield where our royal flag has been, it has never been defeated nor destroyed; and this is by singular grace of God our Lord and by the great loyalty and nature of our citizens".
A shield with crown appears in a manuscript of the National Library of Paris (Sig. Beast.Ge. B. 8268) dated in 1410, and is said that it is the coat-of-arms of the City and Kingdom of Valencia. The modern mentions to the blue color are wrong, as when Vicenç Vives says that "the blue color of which the ancient kings of Aragon our illustrious predecessors, used to bear in their flags" not having any other evidence than his word on the use of blue in flags of the King of Aragon either before his incorporation to the Catalan crow n nor later. To save this problem it has been ytied to derive it from the supposed blue arms of Pamplona, other Pyrenaic chiefdom self-proclaimed kingdom, later temporary united to the chiefdom of Aragon. Naturally the arms of Pamplona Kingdom, whose existence is prior to the heraldic era, is a subsequent creation (relatively recent) and it can not be alleged as the origin of the blue of the current Valencian senyera.
In 1419 king Alfons the Magnanimous created the Generalitat (Governement) of Valencia. The Palace of the Generalitat was built in the 16th century and was decorated with several mural paintings, between them those of the Hall of the Courts, dated approximately on 1590. The said paintings reflect the use of the colors gold and red for the decoration (curtains) . The royal symbol is repeated three times in the form of three custodial angels that carry the swallowtailed royal flag and the shield of the Kingdom. Also the custodial angel of the kingdom, in the Chapel's altar, carries the same flag. No mention of the blue can be found in any document.
"Las Provincias" says that "the cause of the fact that our forebears chose the blue was, perhaps, by its harmony with the gold of the crown. In the Valencian pottery of the 15th century this combination was usual. In France they also used it as the heraldic background of the fleur-de-lys". If the blue band existed, all these reasons would be most acceptable than linking such color with Sobrarbe. Other possible reason is that Valencia's traditional arms, that would date from 27 may 1312, where appeared the city with a background of blue sky and water at the bottom (that is, blue), kept its background after being modified. There are few data to allow us to think about the use of the blue since 1377. Not even in the only exist ing certain element, the original of the crowned senyera, made the past century, the color of the fabric is blue but bluish gray, though it could be due to a decoloración by the time. The first written mention of the blue is only from 1876 and though the senyera contains more ancient elements, the set would be a reconstruction from mid-19th century. The previous senyera's, with crown, would have been round-ended.
The original crowned flag (known as Royal Senyera) is preserved in a showcase of the Municipal Archive and appears photographed in the European American Encyclopedia (Volume 66, pag 641). The flag is of relatively modern confection (probably from mid-19th century as have been said), and substituted other previous worn out exemplar,. Its relation to the flag of 1377 is at least doubtful.
The flag with crown had to be made for the first time after 31 may 1449 when the previous senyera (the Penó' de la Conquesta ) was substituted "by a new senyera similar but crowned ..." (Manual de Consells , Municipal Historical Archive of Valencia, A-34, fol DC, years 1447-50) but subsequent documents do not mention the crown.
In 1459 still suffered a new reform but it is not known if was already carrying the crown. The original flag was given in custody to the Monastery of Sant Vicenç de la Roqueta (until 1838) and the new senyera with crown seems to be the one used since then.
In 1481 the shaft (a long and golden spear) is mentioned but not the crown. In 1503 a new flag was made, but there is still doubts of the fact that it had the crown, and certainly it is very little probable that it had it on blue (in 1503 is mentioned specifically the purchase of " blue silk for the confection of a royal flag" but as we will see this fabric had other use) and in 1545 was added on top of the shaft the bat made by the silversmith Joan Ferrís and again is mentioned the purchase of blue fabric: some 20 cm , that do not correspond to the neasurements of the current flag and furthermore it is indicated that the fabric's aim is to put a mantling under the helmet that ends the shaft of the flag, what would demonstrate that in this said year the senyera had not yet the blue band. With or without an embroidered crown (and the most probable is that the senyera's later than 1449 had the embroidered crown) it is not proved that it was on a blue band (in fact practically it is sure than the blue band was added much later). The embroidery of the crown was an anomaly that remained without sanction due to the disappearance of the Catalan dynasty and the assumption of the Castilian symbols by the successive kings.
Reconstruction of the crowned senyera (c. 1449 - c.1850)
This senyera was restored several times. The embroidery of the crown is not documented.
Thesenyera was destroyed by fire in 1586 and was reconstructed, and the silversmith Joan Calderón made a new bat on helmet as finial. The bat on helmet was restored in 1596 by the silversmith Eloy Camañes, making it smaller in order that the senyera would be not so heavy. Finally the bat on helmet was changed in 1638, substituted by the one made by the goldsmith Simón deToledo, and that yet subsists.
The fact of including the crown would mean that its use was preferably vertical. In the following reconstructions appears the flag as could have been between 1449 and c. 1850, supposing a round-ended flag with yellow, red and blue band
Supposed swallowtailed, same colors
Why was blue added? It is impossible to say with certainty. It could be simply that it is a color very suitable to contain a crown embroidered in gold.
Other theory says that in a reform of mid-19th century it was decided the change from the round-ended shape (unusual in flags) to the swallowtailed shape shown in the paintings of the Palace of the Generalitat. Once the arrangements were made the flag was found short. But this theory requires that the crown did not exist yet in mid-19th century. To compensate the shortness of the flag and continuing a neoghotic usage then prevailing, the flag was united to the hoist through a bluish-gray piece of fabric, covering the junction with a red band (and on the bluish-gray band was put the leaves of the crown and on the red the circlet's ornaments). The royal senyera remained the same, though swallowtailed instead of round-ended, a more recognizable design; the addition was thus intended to hang the flag (and to complete it) and not as part of it. The weaknees of this theory is the great probability that the crown already existed. If the flag resulted short, the embroidered crown should not have remained in the bluish addition, but in the part of the bars; if a totally new flag had been created, the addition would have been then unnecessary.
Reconstructions according to the two main theories.
The crown is hardly recognizable without the aid of texts, because of its successive stylizations.
Final reconstruction (as it is preserved)
Guillem Renat (Josep Giner) said in 1933 about the blue: "It has been preserved the 19th century usage of joining the flag to the hoist through a piece of fabric, generally bluish. In Valencia the provincial valencianists believe that the band serves to differentiate the flag from the Catalan one. The poor guys do not even know how was the medieval Valencian flag like. Hundred of times has been written that the Valencian flag is the four bars on golden field. There is no allussion at all to any other color. It is necessary to use the Valencian flag without drawings nor ornament s, nor powder nor any other addition more or less bluish".
The ceremonial for the flag was created presumably by king Peter III of Catalonia and establishes that the flag should not be bowed before anybody; that should not to leave through the door but be d escended vertically from the Balcony of the Council (the equivalent to the Council was the Consell de la Ciutat; and that its custody is charged to the Maestre Racional who will deliver it to the Justicia de lo Criminal (Criminal Attorney) for the civic commemorations and to the Chief of the Centenar de la Ploma (local militia) for the actions in defense of the Kingdom. Curiously the guard of the crowned senyera is created on 23 July 1376. On the other hand in 1369 is mentioned the right to coining gold florines (the common currency of the kingdoms) in Valencia with the royal crown in its reverse and the right to write "Valencia" with the letter "L" crowned. About 1377 is mentioned a royal privilege for a lozenge-shaped shield with four red and five golden bars, corresponding to the king' s seal.
The militia of the Centenar de la Ploma, who was assigned the custody of the Royal Senyera , were distinguished by a pen in their helmets. Their banner was white with the red Saint George's Cross
The royal senyera granted was swalowtailed with two bars.