A San Diego councilor wants to remove references to Spain from the city’s coat of arms | Culture


Coat of arms and flag of San Diego (United States).
Coat of arms and flag of San Diego (United States).

Carlos III feared that Russia would invade what is now the western United States and Mexico. So he sent a military and evangelizing mission to prevent it, made up exclusively of Catalan soldiers and a Majorcan friar, Fray Junípero Serra. They ended up arriving in Alaska, which they took on behalf of the king. But before reaching the northernmost North American state, Serra founded in his march the mission of San Diego, the germ of what is today this city of Alta California on the border with Mexico. Now, the councilman-president of District 1 of the American city, Joe LaCava, has presented a motion to eliminate from the shield of the city any reference to Spain because “it glorifies those who stole.”

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The Hispanic Council, An entity that promotes cultural relations between Spain and the United States, denounces that it is “a new attack against the Hispanic legacy” in the middle of a campaign of “extortion and manipulation”. The current municipal coat of arms of San Diego was approved by the corporation in 1914. It reads the motto “Semper vigilans” (always vigilant) and you can see, among others, three characteristic Spanish elements: a caravel, which appeals to the arrival of the first European ship to the bay in 1542; the bell, in reference to the mission founded by Serra and the columns of Hercules, which recall the old territorial jurisdiction of Spain.

The first to arrive on the shores of California was the explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo in the mid-sixteenth century, that is why the state flag “includes the colors red and yellow in reference to Spain and the date of 1542,” they explain from The Hispanic Council . However, LaCava believes that “the current shield erases the history of the indigenous peoples who occupied this land long before us and glorifies those who stole from them.”

LaCava has declared to the newspaper Times of San Diego that the city “should be an example”, and has criticized that the shield includes representations “manufacturing and agriculture [un árbol y unas ruedas de carro], industries of our past, instead of looking forward, to our diversity, as well as to our unique connection with the border ”. San Diego stands a few kilometers from Mexico’s Tijuana, in Baja California. But the councilor has not taken into account that, instead, the shield of the Mexican state neighbor includes the figure of “a missionary of the first who conquered the region with open arms, symbolizing the past, love for the earth and humanity”, as can be read in the mexican newspaper Millennium.


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