- Issue date: 12/06/2012
- Printing Process: Huecograbado
- Paper: Estucado, engomado, fosforescente
- Size of stamp: 57,6 x 40,9 mm (horizontal)
- Sheet effects: 25
- Postal value of the stamps: 0,85 €
- Print run: 300.000
- Dented: 13 ¼ (horizontal) y 13 ¾ (vertical)
A stamp is issued commemorating the flags of the ancient kingdom of Leon depicting four banners flapping in the wind and hoisted on long poles.
The origin of banners is linked to medieval times where they consisted of a flag or military insignia used by the feudal lords and their militias. In medieval warfare there were no organized armies and kings and nobles would identify their retinues, armed men at their service, by flags and heraldic colours. Banners were made of wool or silk in different sizes and had one or several points or tails, the lower end being shorter than the top so as not to drag the flag on the ground. Banners were attached to a long pole or mast which could be up to 13 meters high and make the weight of the whole ensemble as heavy as 35 kg. Among the different types of banners were the Banner caballeril, used by Lords with 10 to 50 knights, the Purple Banner or banner of Castile which identified kings and the Posadero Banner which was stuck on the ground to designate where the militia was to camp and indicated that the Lord commanded a group of 50 to 100 knights.
With time banners came to be used by civil society and the church and born by religious fraternities to lead processions and Christian celebrations. A cross was incorporated on top of the rod.
The colourful banners are a trademark of León. Crimson is identified with the Kingdom of León and appears on its coat of arms and in the royal banner, green is the colour of Islam and is related to the Reconquest, purple is associated with the War of the Communities and Easter worship services and blue is related to the Virgin Mary. It is said that in 1596 the flag of the garrison of León was blue, red and white. White, yellow and cream were often used as peace signals during war and in the worship of the Sacrament.
In recent years there have been organizations dedicated to the study, restoration, preservation and diffusion of historical banners as part of the cultural heritage of the ancient kingdom of León.