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The legend of the bloody flag

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Many legends swirl around the colourful Guifré el Pélos (“Wilfred the Hairy”), who established himself as the first count of Barcelona in the ninth century. One such story is the bloody creation of the Catalan flag. As the legend goes: Guifré el Pélos was mortally wounded in a battle against the Normans (some say the battle was against the Moors). The Frankish king Charles the Bald wanted to pay tribute to the dying Guifré’s bravery by awarding him a coat of arms on the battlefield. The king is said to have dipped Guifré’s hands in his own freshly drawn blood, and then ran his fingers across the golden shield; hence the four bands of red on a yellow background.

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