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Military Flags 1701-1843 (Spain)

Last modified: 2015-07-29 by ivan sache
Keywords: military |
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The overwhelming majority of Spanish 18th and early 19th century military flags, followed this pattern: a Burgundy Cross – usually but not always on a white field – and a coat-of-arms upon the end of every branch of the cross. These arms would identify the particular unit; Irish units, for example, would bear coats-of-arms with the Celtic harp.

Juan Morales, 23 Jan 1999

The Regimental flags (...) were to made out of taffeta, and with the main colours used by the respective province's Arms or of the City where the regiment was quartered. Following the precepts of the House of Bourbon, by an official notice of 1734, it was ordered that every regiment had three flags, all on white taffeta: the Coronela [Editor's note: Colonel's Colour, equivalent to King's Colour], with the Royal Coat of Arms centered on it, and the other two [Capitanas or Captain's Colours, equivalent to Regimental Colours] with the Burgundy Cross; on their four corners, the Coat of Arms of the Province and the Crown, and on the two top quarters the name of the regiment itself. Source: Vargas 1981, pp. 28-29.

Guillermo T. Aveledo, 16 Jan 2000

The regulations for Line Infantry established that sencilla flags (Regimental Colours) would not bear the royal arms (cf. the Louisiana Infantry 1779-1781 colour). Source: Manzano 1997 [mzn97].

Sergio Camero, 15 Sep 2001

Volunteers' Battalion of Numancia, 1808

Batallón de Voluntarios Numancia

Here is a link with two images (b/w) of the flag of the Batallón de Voluntarios "Numancia" (1808). I'd like to know if someboy knows about this batalion taking part in military actions overseas or only domestically.

Esteban Rivera, 11 Dec 2005

I can only find a Voluntarios Numantinos. Not quite the same name, I admit. It is mentioned in volume 4 of Heraldica e Historiales del Ejercito (Madrid, Servicio Historico Militar, 1979). But if I read the Spanish correctly, this regiment was raised in 1810 in the mountains of Soria, and was absorbed by the Cazadores de Barbastro No.9 in September 1815. Barbastro was serving in Caracas (modern Venezuela) at the time.

Ian Sumner, 12 Dec 2005

Volunteers' Battalion of Segorbe, 1809

According to Rafael Martin, El Periodico Mediterraneo, 15 July 2006, the municipal administration of Segorbe (Valencia) has sent a letter to President of the Republic Jacques Chirac. They require the return of the banner of the Volunteers' Battalio of Segorbe, which was taken during the siege of Zaragoza by the Napoleonic army in 1809 and exposed as a war trophy in the Museum of the Invalides in Paris. They propose to replace the flag in Paris with a replicate and to show the original in the Municipal Museum of Segorbe.

Source: Rafael Martin, El Periodico Mediterráneo, 15 Jul 2006

Ivan Sache, 20 Jul 2006

Reading of several cases of similar rerquests being asked before in other countries, it seems to me that the chance to get the flag back is quite close to zero. It seems that, in general, the flags taken as booty by victoring armies are considered legally obtained. It seems that taking a flag in a battle (no matter what we think of the rightfullnes of the past war today) is considered the right of the victor and that returno fo such goods is not practiced.

I seems to remember (but I write from memory) requests for flags being returned from Moscow, Belgrade, Stockholm etc. and none have been returned, the current owners always claiming that they obtained them legally and with dyre price in blood.

Željko Heimer, 20 Jul 2006

I have found more information on the battalion in "Levante." The banner is the unique remain of the Segorbe Batallion, also known as Volunteers' Regiment, Segorbe Chasseur Regiment, Segorbe Infantry Regiment and Light Infantry Batallion of Segorbe Camp. The batallion included more than 500 soldiers, who almost all died in the fighting. For the 200th anniversary of the siege of Zaragoza, which started in 15 June 1808, the municipality of Segorbe plans to erect a monolith on a square of the city on which the names of the batallion's soldiers will be written.

Source: Levante, 15 Jul 2006

Personally, I would encourage the return of the banner provided it will be kept in good conditions and available to all, which seems to be the case. I don't seen any reason, especially educative, to maintain the tradition of "war trophy" when the French army acted as an invader. Let us keep the banner, but let us answer to a serious and official query. I have not seen anything related to this query in the French media.

Ivan Sache, 21 Jul 2006

The municipality of Segorbe (Spain) had recently requested French President Jacques Chirac the return of a flag captured by the French troops during the Napoleonic wars. Jacques Chirac has accepted the request and the flag shall be soon retroceded to Segorbe and replaced in the Army Museum by a replica.

Source: Rafael Martin, El Periodico Mediterráneo, 22 September 2006

Ivan Sache, 29 Sep 2006

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