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Santiago do Cacém Municipality (Portugal)

Concelho de Santiago do Cacém, Distrito de Setúbal

Last modified: 2020-04-25 by klaus-michael schneider
Keywords: santiago do cacem | knight | horse | moor(dead) | landscape | cross(santiago) |
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[Santiago do Cacém municipality] 2:3 image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 6 Nov 1998
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About the Flag

It is a fairly typical Portuguese municipal flag, with the coat of arms centred on a field gyronny of 8 of red and blue.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 6 Nov 1998

Coat of arms

The coat of arms shows knight — in an incredible landscape like depiction that I’ll not dare to blazon. This kind of “postcard arms” is not very common in portuguese heraldry, but the even uglier Ovar comes to the mind. Strangely, the coat of arms doesn’t include the sword-cross of the Santiago Order, considering the city's name and the ubiquity of that symbol in municipal heraldry throughout the area conquered and administered by this warrior-monk order. This coat of arms shows a Christian knight mounted on a horse and a dead moor lying before him, all in natural colours — or supposedly in natural colours, since usually only white is used for the figures, against a landscape of blue sky and red ground, complete with a house or town at the horizon and a cloud in the sky. Mural crown with five visible towers city rank and white scroll reading in black capitals "CIDADE DE SANTIAGO DO CACÉM".
António Martins-Tuválkin, 6 Nov 1998

The whole ensemble shows the name giver and patron saint of Santiago do Cacém, St. James the Elder in the pose of his epithet as "Moors' slayer".
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 11 Nov 2015

Former Symbols

[Santiago do Cacém municipality old] 2:3 image by António MartinsTuválkin, 6 Nov 1998

This coat of arms appeared until recently with unusual crown (ducal, with silver stems and alternating red and blue sides!) and shield shape (Samnitic/French). It was one of the few that remained unchanged in the 1935 municipal heraldry reordering, having been “standardized” recently, undoubtlessly, when Santiago do Cacém was upgraded to city rank and minor changes were introduced in the flag. Note the differences: quartered to gyronny and "VILA" to "CIDADE", usual when rank is upgraded, and standardized shield and crown. My source shows no clouds in the previous version, but that’s is probably only a variation. The background colours could have been standardized too — this is becoming quite often recently, as towns became cities and the Heraldry Institute (CHAAP) makes not only the expected changes from 4 to 5 towers and from quarterly to gyronny, but also some “corrections”. But though red and blue are an eye sore against the metal on tincture rule, there is no alternative with such a coat of arms, since monochrome backgrounds are currently being evitated by the CHAAP. I’d like to know why it wasn’t changed for good — other non-orthodox coats of arms (but not this unorthodox!) were changed in similar circumstances…
António MartinsTuválkin, 6 Nov 1998

Version without Coat of Arms

[Santiago do Cacém municipality plain] 2:3 image by António Martins-Tuválkin, Apr 2010

Presentation of Santiago do Cacém

Santiago do Cacém was recently upgraded to city rank and is capital of a municipality with 1059 km2 and 31 460 inhabitants in 10 communes. Currently belongs to the Setúbal district (traditional province: Baixo Alentejo) and will be in the future region Alentejo.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 6 Nov 1998

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