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Cáceres (Municipality, Extremadura, Spain)

Last modified: 2020-11-06 by ivan sache
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Presentation of Cáceres

The municipality of Cáceres (96,129 inhabitants in 2019, that is, 25% of the population of the province; 175,033 ha, that is, the biggest Spanish municipality by its area) is located 300 km south-west of Madrid and 32O km north-east of Lisbon.

Cáceres was already settled in the Prehistoric times, as evidenced by human remains found in the Santa Ana, El Vonejar and Maltravieso caves.
In the Roman times, Cáceres was the site of two camps. Castra Cacecilia was established in the placed known today as Old Cáceres; the exact location of the other camp, Castra Servilla, is not known yet, although it might me the site of the fortified town. The colony of Norba Caesarina was founded in Cáceres by Caius Norbanus Flaccus in the last third of the 1st century BC, incorporating the two camps; inhabited until the 5th century, Norba Caesarina was one of the five Roman colonies established in Lusitania.

Cáceres was fortified, as Hisn Qasris, by the Almohads, who ruled the town from 1174 to 1229. The citadel was protected by a thick wall defended by towers, of which more than ten have been preserved until now, while other wre rebuilt or are now concealed by other buildings.
Cáceres was seized by Alfonso IX on 23 April 1229 after several years of siege. St. George, celebrated on 23 April, was elevated patron saont of the town; mosques were replaced by churches while Moslim manors were transformed into Christian palaces. The town developed due to the supply of income from America.
The town's elite took the party of Joanna la Beltraneja aginst Isabel the Catholic. As a retaliation, Isabel ordered to "behead" the towers that crowned the town's palaces. The Storks' palace, owned by the loyal Diego de Ovando (1460-1518), was the only one to keep its original tower. Diego de Ovando was representative of the Catholic Monarchs in Extremadura, with authority on the Order of Alcántara. A member of the Royal Council, he took part ot the conquest of Ronda and Álora. His son, Friar Nicolás de Ovando (1460-1518), was Governor of the Indies and Commendador Mayor of the Order of Alcántara. He is considered as the genuine initiator of the Spanish colonization in America.
In the 16th century, the noble and the churchmen lived inside the fortified town, while ordinary peopled lived outside. The congested town did not developed far from the walls, the surpopulation caused several epidemics and a high mortality in the town's outskirts. Charles IV established in 1790 the Real Audencia de Extremadura in Cáceres, which boosted the town's political and social development. This culminated in 1833 when Cáceres was made a provincial capital.
[Cáceres Histórica]

Segismundo Moret y Prendergast (1838–1913) discovered in 1864 phosphate mines in Calerizo; he established in 1876 the Sociedad general de Fosfatos de Cáceres (SgFC) and founded the workers' garden-city Aldea Moret, one of the first examples of urban planning in Spain. He also pushed the establishment of a direct Lisbon-Madrid railway line; the Cáceres station was inaugurated in 1881 by King Alfonso XII.
Cáceres is the birth town of the composer and singer Juan Solana Pedrero (El Maestro Solano, 1922-1992), author of more than 5,000 songs, the famous rumba "El Porompompero" included (public performances by Manuel Escobar aka "Mister Porompompero" and Luís Caeiro).

Ivan Sache, 19 March 2020

Flag of Cáceres

The flag of Cáceres (photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo), which does not appear to have been officially registered, is a banner of the arms of the town, per pale Castile and León (with a red lion).

Ivan Sache, 19 March 2020

Banner of Cáceres


Banner of Cáceres - Image by Ivan Sache, 19 March 2020

Cáceres was reconquered from the Moors on 23 April 1229 by Alfonso IX, King of León, who granted a charter to the town and a banner (pendón) featuring his arms. When King Ferdinand III the Saint united the kingdoms of Castile and León, he allowed the royal towns, Cáceres included, to use the arms either of Castile or León.
Cáceres was subsequently divided into a Castilian and a Leonese parties, which maintained a violent rivalry for the control of the town. Two opposed Councils could exist at the same time, one using the Castilian seal, the othert using the Leonese seal.
Isabel the Catholic solved the issue on 28 May 1477. She wrote the names of 24 representatives of each party on 48 small pieces of paper and drew 12 of them, which formed the first united Municipal Council of the Town. On 9 July 1477, she ordered to merge the symbols of the two parties on a single seal. The tradition reports that she embroidered herself a Castilian lion to the old St. George's banner.
This was the first time that the two symbols were used jointly on the same emblem.
[Fernando García Morales. El escudo de Cáceres. Hoy, 3 June 1983]

The St. George's banner has been used in several official events since then, which caused its deterioration and several restorations. In 1775, the banner was completely revamped with crimson taffeta and granted in custody by Vicente de Ovando, Marquess of Camarena La Real, who kept it in his manor. Another restoration was oredered in 1964 by Mayor Díaz de Bustamante, who transferred it into his room. The banner (photo) was last restored in 2006.
[El Periódico Extremadura, 3 April 2006]

A replica of the historical banner is used during the St. George's Day. At 11:30, the Municipal Council, escorted by mace-bearers and the municipal band, head from the Town Hall to the St. Mary cathedral, where a mass is celebrated to honor the saint, in the presence of the civil and military authorities. Afterwards, they go back to the Town Hall, where the banner is "shaken" from the balcony by the Council's youngest member, while the national anthem is performed (video, 23 April 2019).
[Hoy, 23 April 2014; El Periódico Extremadura>/A>, 24 April 2015; Hoy, 23 April 2016; Hoy, 23 April 2017; Pasión de Cáceres, 24 April 2018]

Ivan Sache, 19 March 2020