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The Symbols

Coat of arms, flag and anthem

Escudo de Navarra

The coat of arms of Navarre on the flag.

The coat of arms, flag and the anthem of Navarre make up the official symbols of the Comunidad Foral. The first two are defined in the LORAFNA. Foral Law 24/2003 of 4 May, passed by the Parliament of Navarre, establishes the official anthem and regulates the use of all the symbols of Navarre.

Coat of arms

Article 7.1 of the Ley Orgánica de Reintegración y Amejoramiento del Régimen Foral de Navarra (LORAFNA), of 10 August 1982, lays down that:

“The coat of arms of Navarre consists of gold chains on a red background, with an emerald in the centre of the nexus between its eight arms of links and, above them, the Royal Crown, the symbol of the Ancient Kingdom of Navarre”.

This description applies to the historical coat of arms of Navarre – a gold chain on a red background – which has its origin in the coat of arms that the Navarrese King Sancho VII the Strong made his own in 1212, following the victory of the Christian monarchs of Navarre, Castile and Aragon against the Moorish forces, which took place in Navas de Tolosa (in today’s province of Jaen), during the re-conquest of the Iberian Peninsula. The chains are representative of those that surrounded the tent of the Moorish King Miramamolin the Green and which Sancho the Strong rent asunder with his own sword. The emerald in the centre represents the one the defeated Moorish king wore on his turban.

This personal heraldic symbol belonging to Sancho the Strong replaced the one the same king had been using up until that time, namely a black eagle – arrano beltza in Basque. The King’s coat of arms later became seen as the coat of arms of the whole kingdom and over thecenturies it is depicted in a variety of ways – chains, bars, little circles. In 1910, the Diputación Foral approved the official design of the coat of arms.

In 1931, with the advent of Spain’s Second Republic, the royal crown on the coat of arms was replaced by a walled crown, somewhat akin to a castle or stronghold. The royal crown was restored in 1937. In that same year, the official coat of arms was added to with the inclusion in the background of the Cruz Laureado de San Fernando, a military decoration awarded to Navarre by General Franco in recognition of its involvement in the 1936 uprising. In 1981, by means of a ruling of the Parliament of Navarre, the coat of arms returned to its traditional format, which months later would be defined by the highest legal authority of the LORAFNA.


Article 7.2. of the LORAFNA stipulates: “The flag of Navarre is red, with the coat of arms in the centre.”

The flag of Navarre has been used as a symbol of the Comunidad Foral since 1910. In that year, the Diputación Foral decided upon its characteristics, adopting the colour red as this was the same as the background on the official coat of arms, agreeing to raise it on the balcony of the Palacio de Navarra on religious holidays (San Fermín, San Francisco Javier, San Miguel and the Inmaculada Concepción, as well as on the 16th July, the anniversary of the battle of Navas de Tolosa, and on other significant dates).

La bandera de Navarra

The flag of Navarre on the façade of the Diputación.

Since the LORAFNA was passed in 1982, the official flags are permanently hoisted on the facades of the Palacio de Navarre, as well as on other official buildings.

The Ley Foral de Simbolos de Navarre (Law governing the Symbols of Navarre) specifies that the flag is to be raised on the outside, and to take pride of place inside, all civil public buildings within the sphere of the Comunidad Foral, without prejudice to the pre-eminence of the Spanish flag.


The Ley Foral de Simbolos de Navarre also specifies that the Anthem of Navarre is the “Himno de las Cortes”, which owes its origin to the “Marcha para la entrada del Reino” (March for entering the Realm), a Baroque pasaclaustro that was played in the cloisters of Pamplona Cathedral when the members of the Cortes of Navarre passed by as they made their way into their sessions.

From the 19th century onwards, this march was played at major official ceremonies and was considered the de facto anthem of Navarre, although it was not specifically granted such status until 1985, when this Foral Law was passed.

Partitura del Himno de Navarra

Score of the Anthem of Navarre

In 1993, when the Government of Navarre lent its approval to the official harmonisation of the anthem, it also approved the words, based on those composed in 1971 by Manuel Iribarren, translated into Basque by Jose Mª Azpiroz, and which are follows:


For Navarre, / brave and noble land, / forever loyal, / whose standard is / the ancient traditional law / For Navarre, / people of unfettered soul / let us proclaim in unison / our universal longing / in heartfelt union / with loyal determination / let us strive and as one / we shall all attain / honur, love and peace.

Por Navarra / tierra brava y noble, / siempre fiel, / que tiene por blasón / la vieja ley tradicional / Por Navarra / pueblo de alma libre / proclamemos juntos / nuestro afán universal / En cordial unión, / con leal tesón, / trabajemos y hermanados / todos lograremos / honra, amor y paz.

Government of Navarre

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