The "Quatres Barres" (Four Stripes) or Barres Catalanes (Catalan stripes) are known as the heraldic sign that makes up the Catalan emblem, at the root of one of the oldest flags in Europe.

A legend says that the Frank emperor Louis the Pious drew on the golden escutcheon of the Count of Barcelona, the four red stripes with four fingers dunked in count’s blood, hurt during a battle against the Normans whereas he was victoriously defending the frank emperor.

The first testimony of the existence of the Catalan symbol is a seal of the count Ramon Berenguer IV of Barcelona, on a Provencal document dating from 1150. The count’s personal arms have become Catalan dynasty’s ones, and then the Catalan flag. The Mancomunitat of Catalonia (Union of Catalan people) made the Four stripes its official emblem.

During General Primo de Rivera's dictatorship (1923-1930), the Catalan flag was forbidden and the Generalitat of Catalonia made it official during the republican period. During Franco’s period (1939-1975), it was forbidden once again but its underground use never disappeared.

Updated : Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - 16:27