10 July 1936: The launch of the Andalusian anthem

An artist with the framed words of the Andalusian anthem.
An artist with the framed words of the Andalusian anthem. / SUR
  • Bandera Blanca y Verde was first performed in Seville just one week before the Civil War broke out

Andalusians, stand up and demand land and freedom for a free Andalucía, Spain and mankind, claims the song Bandera Blanca y Verde. The Green and White Flag, which is the official anthem of Andalucía, was performed for the first time during a concert by the Municipal Band of Seville. The concert took place in the Andalusian capital on 10 July 1936, just one week before the start of the Spanish Civil War (1936-39).

Although the music is believed to have been inspired by a religious canticle sung by Andalusian peasants and farm workers, the melody is attributed to composer José del Castillo Díaz. The lyrics for the anthem were written by Blas Infante, a politician, historian, musicologist and writer who designed the flag from which the anthem takes its name. Infante, who was born in Casares (Malaga) in 1885, discovered the canticle (Santo Dios) while studying in Archidona and he brought it to the attention of Castillo, who adapted and harmonised the melody.

Known as the 'father of Andalusian nationalism', Infante was responsible for initiating the first assembly of Ronda in 1918, which embraced the flag and emblem as national symbols. Following the elections held in February 1936, the Andalusian campaign intensified in favour of the Autonomy Statute, and Infante was proclaimed president of the new Assembly.

As both a regional autonomist and a libertarian socialist, Infante was a target for the Franco regime and he was among numerous political figures executed at the outset of the Civil War.

Castillo, a staunch freemason, shared Infantes' political tendencies. He was dismissed from his position as conductor of the municipal band at the end of the war and later imprisoned in Burgos. He was released in 1942, and lived out his life under the eye of the regime until he died in Seville in 1955.

The original score for the anthem was destroyed during the war and only one manuscript for piano survived, but the song has been adapted by numerous composers and musicians ever since. The song was reconstructed during the democratic transition after the death of General Franco in 1975: in 1977, Andalusian poet and singer Carlos Cano recorded a new version which included the participation of several friends of Infante.

The anthem, flag and shield were officially adopted during the Andalusian Statute of Autonomy in 1981.