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Region of Murcia (Autonomous Community, Spain)

Región de Murcia

Last modified: 2020-02-05 by ivan sache
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Flag of the Region of Murcia - Image by Antonio Gutiérrez (S.E.V. website), 4 June 1999

See also:

Presentation of the Region of Murcia

The Autonomous Community of the Region of Murcia (1,472,049 inhabitants in 2013; 11,313 sq. km) is located in the south-east of Spain, being bordered by Andalusia (Provinces of Granada and Almería), Castilla-La Mancha (Province of Albacete), the Valencian Community (Province of Alicante) and the Mediterranean Sea. The municipalities of Murcia, Cartagena and Lorca account for more than 50% of the population of the Region.
The Autonomy Statutes of the Region of Murcia were adopted on 9 June 1982.

Ivan Sache, 18 April 2015

Symbols of the Region of Murcia

The flag and arms of the Region of Murcia are prescribed in the Autonomy Statutes of the Region of Murcia, defined by Constitutional Law No. 4, adopted on 9 June 1982 by the Spanish Government and published on 19 June 1982 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 146, pp. 16,756-16,763 (text), as follows:

Article 4.
1. The flag of the Region of Murcia is rectangular, charged in the upper left angle with four castles or placed two and two and in the lower right angle with seven Royal crowns placed on four lines, one, three, two, and one, respectively. The background of the flag is crimson or Cartagena red.
2. The coat of arms shall have the same symbols and the same arrangement as the flag, with a Royal crown.

The use of the regional flag of Murcia is prescribed by Law No. 4, adopted on 4 May 1983 by the Government of the Region of Murcia and published on 6 May 1983 in the official gazette of the Region of Murcia, No. 103, p. 1,311 (text).
The preamble of the Law recalls that the flag was created on 26 March 1979 by the Regional Council.
Article 1 of the Law repeats the description of the flag in Article 4.1 of the Autonomy Statutes.

Article 2.
The flag of the Region shall be hoisted, together with the flag of Spain, outdoors in a distinctive place and indoors, in all public civil buildings located on the territory of the Autonomous Community, as prescribed in Articles 3.1 and 4 of the Law No. 39 of 28 October 1981.

Article 3.
1. When the flag of the Region is jointly used with the flags of Spain of of other municipalities or corporations, the flag of Spain shall be placed in the prominent place, with maximum honour, as prescribed in Article 6 of the Law No. 39 of 28 October 1981.
When the number of displayed flags is uneven, the regional flag shall be placed at the (viewer's) left of the flag of Spain. When the number of displayed flags is even, the regional flag shall be placed at the (viewer's) right of the flag of Spain.
2. The Regional flag cannot be bigger in size than the flag of Spain and cannot be smaller in size than the flags of other entities jointly displayed.

Article 4.
The addition to the Regional flag of any symbol or acronym of political parties, unions, associations and private entities is forbidden.
Ivan Sache, 18 April 2015

Adoption of the symbols of the Region of Murcia

The issue of the flag of the Region of Murcia was raised during the redaction of the draft of the Pre-Autonomy Statutes, which were eventually adopted on 27 March 1978.
The Representatives of the Region, gathered in a Working Commission, decided to drop the flag of the Provincial Council and to design a brand new flag. The PSOE supported a red flag, recalling the flag of the town of Murcia, the banner of Lorca and the cantonal flag of Cartagena. The PCE did not care of the flag. The UCD supported a red flag with a symbolic reference to the old Kingdom of Murcia. Other components of the civil society supported a blue flag, of the colour of the traditional arms of the Kingdom of Murcia and of the flag of the Provincial Council.
In the 1970s, the red and blue colours had a strong political meaning; the Representatives of UCD, especially Antonio Pérez Crespo (1929-2012; 1st President of the Regional Council of Murcia, 1978-1979) prevented a flag war by selecting the "Cartagena red" colour, darker than the red colour associated with the leftist parties. Accordingly, the colour of the flag was selected more for the sake of political compromise than for historical reasons.

The Working Commission adopted on 11 February 1978 the first four Articles of the Pre-Autonomy Statutes. The flag was prescribed in Article 4: "The flag of the Region of Murcia is crimson red and shall be charged with an emblem with symbolic reference to the old Kingdom of Murcia".
Senators Ricardo de la Cierva y Hoces (b. 1924; UCD) and Antonio López Pina (b. 1937, PSOE) commissioned two historians, Juan Torres Fontes (1919-2013; Professor at the University of Murcia and Municipal Archivist of Murcia) and José María Jover Zamora (1920-2004; Professor at the Universities of Valencia and Madrid, awarded the National Prize of the History of Spain in 1981 and the Menéndez Pelayo International Prize in 2000), to propose an heraldic emblem with symbolic reference.
The report of the historians, presented on 18 March 1978 to the Working Commission, stated:

There is quite an heraldic confusion, connected to the confuse toponymy of the "Town and Kingdom of Murcia". The historical sources do not clearly establish the existence of a regional coat of arms distinct from the town's coat of arms. The same confusion explains that a group of crowns - today, seven - has been for long considered as the heraldic symbol of the Kingdom.
The heart featured on the coat of arms of the town shall not be used on the coat of arms of the Region, since it was specifically granted to the town. The suppression of the heart allows to change the arrangement of the crowns, which had no regional significance during the Austrian rule.
We suggest to use as many crowns as there are districts (comarcas) in the Region [such districts, prescribed in Article 2 of the Autonomy Statutes, were, however, never officially established].
The use of four castles is justified by the use of such a charge on the coat of arms of Cartagena, Lorca, Yecla, and Murcia. The castles also represent the historical status of the region, on the border between Castile and the Mediterranean area, between the Christian kingdoms and Al-Andalus, and between Castile and Aragón. Accordingly, the four castles will be a tribute to the four cultural horizons that surrounds the Region: Castilian, Mediterranean, Levantine [the Spanish Levante is an ill-defined region matching more or less the eastern, coastal parts of Iberia], and Andalusian.

First flag proposal for the Region of Murcia - Image by Ivan Sache, 18 April 2015

The proposed design was crimson red, charged in the middle with seven yellow crowns arranged in four lines of one, three, two and one, and cantonned with four yellow castles.

After the adoption of the Pre-Autonomy Statutes and the establishment of the Regional Council, the Commission "for the regional coat of arms and flag", established on 20 November 1978 and composed of the four aforementioned senators and historians, validated the memoir presented in March. The Regional Council discussed the proposed symbols on 29 January and 5 February 1979, eventually adopting them on 26 March 1979. Four drafts were designed by the Lorca-based painter Francisco "Paco" Salinas Correas, commissioned by the Representatives José López Fuentes (PSOE; Mayor of Lorca, 1979-1983) and Luis Alberola Foulquié.
The flag eventually adopted was "Cartagena red" with the crowns and castles displayed in the upper left and lower right corner, respectively. "Cartagena red" was "defined" after a piece of fabric raised by Juan Carlos Navarro Valls (UCD) during the meeting of the Council.
Engracia Segado, a tailor of Lorca who owned a piece of "Cartagena red" fabric, was hired by the Council to produce the first copies of the flag. The flag was first hoisted on 5 May 1979 on a balcony of the building of the Regional Council of Murcia.
[Jarique cultural association website]

Ivan Sache, 18 April 2015

Unofficial proposals of symbols for the Region of Murcia

Unofficial proposals were aired while the official process of adoption was in progress.
The newspaper Línea proposed in 1978 a red flag charged with a blue diagonal stripe running from the left to the right. The proposal combines the traditional colour of the Region and the colour of the Provincial Council. The blue stripe represents river Segura, crossing the claimed Regional territory, spreading from Pontones (Province of Jaén, Andalusia; source of the river) to Guardamar del Segura (Province of Alicante, Valencian Community, mouth of the river).


Joaquín Cayuelas Martínez' flag proposal - Image by Ivan Sache, 18 April 2015

On 28 January 1978, Joaquín Cayuelas Martínez described in Línea three proposals, each of them connected with a specific Regional territory:
- if the Region matches the historical Kingdom of Murcia, the flag should be quartered embattled red (the colour or Murcia) and white (the colour of Albacete);
- if the Region is restricted to the valley of river Segura, the flag should be horizontally divided blue-yellow-green with a vertical red stripe of 1/3 the flag's length placed along the hoist. The red stripe is the historical part of the flag, while the three horizontal stripes represent the coast, the dry areas and the irrigated areas, respectively;
- if the Region matches the former Province of Murcia, the flag of the Provincial Council shall be kept in use.

On 11 February 1978, Carlos Valcárcel rejected the proposals made by the Regional Council, deemed non compliant with the norms of heraldry, and warned against improvisation in the design of the symbols. The author quoted Ignacio Vicente Cascante (Heráldica General y Fuentes de las Armas en España), who claimed that all the old kingdoms in Spain derived the colour of their flag from their coat of arms. He eventually recommended to adopt a red (for Castile) and white (for the town of Murcia, whose etymology refers to water, represented in heraldry as argent) flag, in two horizontal or vertical stripes, or in three horizontal stripes, white in the middle.
[Jarique cultural association website]

Ivan Sache, 18 April 2015

Coat of arms of the Region of Murcia


Coat of arms of the Region of Murcia - Image by Antonio Gutiérrez (S.E.V. website), 1 December 2000

The official model of the coat of arms of the Region of Murcia and its use are prescribed by Decree No. 34, adopted on 8 June 1983 by the Government of the Region of Murcia and published on 8 June 1983 in the official gazette of the Region of Murcia, No. 134, pp. 1,955-1,956 (text), as follows:

Article 1.
1. The Region of Murcia has its proper coat of arms, as prescribed in Article 4.2 of the Autonomy Statutes, whose heraldic description is the following:
Plain shield, in Spanish shape.
Field red or gules.
In the chief's dexter canton, four castles or, placed two and two in a square pattern.
In the base's sinister canton, seven crowns or, placed on four horizontal lines, one, three, two and one, respectively.
The shield surmounted by a Royal Crown, since Murcia was once a Kingdom. 2. The official model of the coat of arms is the attached drawing.

Article 2.
The reproduction of the official model by the public bodies and by the citizens shall always match the technical details provided in the Appendix to the present Decree.

Article 3.
The coat of arms of the Region of Murcia shall be used on:
1. The buildings and establishments of the Autonomous Community.
2. All media of official diffusion of the Autonomous Community in which publicly appear the Laws of the Regional Assembly of Murcia.
3. The diplomas and grants of any kind delivered by the Autonomous Community.
4. The printed documents, seals and headed notepaper of official use by the Autonomous Community.
5. The official publications of the Autonomous Community.
6. The distinctive emblems used by the authorities of the Autonomous Community.
7. The objects in official use, on which, because of their significance, shall be featured the emblems of the Region of Murcia.

Technical Appendix

I. Basic elements.
The official model of the coat of arms of the Region of Murcia is composed of two elements, the visual symbol (anagram) and the text or logotype ("Comunidad Autónoma de la Región de Murcia"), whose design, colours and dimensions shall not be modified. The text shall use the Helvetica Medium font and shall never be used without the coat of arms.

II. Proportions.
The proportions expressed in the graphic, thoroughly defined to provide balance to the visual symbol-text pair, shall not be modified.

III. Colours.
The coat of arms shall be reproduced in one of the following versions:
a) Shield in full colours, Cartagena red and or, or golden yellow, the text in black (never in red)
b) Shield plain red, text in black
c) Shield 50% half-toned red, text in black
The colours are referenced as follows in the Pantone system:
Pantone black
Pantone 220 A (Cartagena red)
Pantone 871 (or) or Pantone 109 (golden yellow)
The basic colours for printing can also be used, as follows:
Background of the shield: Yellow 50% Magenta 100% Black 40% Golden yellow: Yellow 100% Magenta 20%

IV. Shield on textile.
When printing the shield on fabric, the proportions given in the graphic shall be kept. The colours shall be the most appropriate for colour printing.

Ivan Sache, 18 April 2015

Former Flag of the Province of Murcia


Flag of the Province of Murcia - Image by Ivan Sache, 18 April 2015

The flag of the former Provincial Council of Murcia was blue with the provincial arms in the center.
The blue colour was adopted by the Provincial Council, in 1927 for the medals and sashes, and on 12 July 1976 for the flag. Blue is the colour of the flag of the Provincial Battalion No. 10 of Murcia that fought during the War of Independence.

The provincial coat of arms features the arms of the nine judicial parties of the Region, arranged according to the alphabetical order:
- 1st row: Caravaca de la Cruz, Cartagena and Cieza;
- 2nd row: Lorca and Mula;
- 3rd row: Totana, La Unión and Yecla;
- center: Murcia.
[Jarique cultural association website]

Valentin Poposki & Ivan Sache, 18 April 2015

Nationalist flags in the Region of Murcia


Nationalist flag, 1970s - Image by Ivan Sache, 18 April 2015

In the 1970s, during the Spanish transition towards democracy, the leftists circles in Murcia used a red flag with seven yellow stars arranged in the lower fly in the same pattern as the crowns on the flag of the Region of Murcia.
The red colour and the stars convey leftist, nationalist and republican feelings.
[Jarique cultural association website]


Nationalist flag, 21st century - Image by Ivan Sache, 18 April 2015

In the first decade of the 21st century, the nationalist collectives in Murcia designed a red flag with a white cross, four yellow castles in the 1st quarter, seven yellow crowns in the 4th quarter, and a blue star in the middle.
The red colour, the castles and the crowns recall the flag of the region of Murcia, while the white cross on red recalls the maritime registration flag of Cartagena, used during the 2nd Republic as a rallying emblem by the supporters of an aborted autonomous region of Murcia. The blue star is a symbol of sovereignty, blue being the colour of the traditional coat of arms of the Kingdom of Murcia. The flag (photo, photo) is actually used in street demonstrations and by football fans.
[Jarique cultural association website]


Flag of Tudmiria - Image by Ivan Sache, 18 April 2015

A similar flag, without castles and crowns, is presented as the flag of the imaginary state of Tudmiria (website), an artistic project led by the movie director Juan Manuel Chumilla Carbajosa (b. 1961 in Cartagena).
Open to other artists, the project is expected to culminate with the shooting of the movie Vete a Murcia y mata el Rey [named for the dictum Mata el Rey y vete a Murcia, once used in Spain to present Murcia as a den of rascals allegedly thriving there with complete impunity]. Here "the author will describe the apocryphal future of a latent nation encompassing the territories of the today's Provinces of Murcia and Alicante, as well as parts of the Provinces of Albacete [Castilla-La Manca], Jaén and Almería [Andalusia], based on a new 'reality' that will substitute to the forgotten historical memory of the Carthaginian Empire (2nd century BC), the Cura of Tudmir (8th century) and the Cantonal Revolution (19th century) to reclaim the geopolitical identity of the south-east of Iberia".
The Tudmiria Manifesto was written in Murcian language, with a Castilian translation, in Ulea in November 2014. by a "group of action" called Cantón Pirulero / MTL (Movimiento Tudmirio de Liberación / Tudmiria Liberation Movement). The group projects "symbolical and satirical attempts" aimed at highlighting the decline of the Spanish political system, controlled by oligarchic, corrupted parties.

The Cura of Tudmir was established by the Treaty of Orihuela, signed in 713, that is two years after the invasion of Spain by the Moors, by ‘Abd al-‘Aziz - the son of Musa ibn Nusair, governor of North Africa, and the Visigoth Count Theodemir (d. 743; in Arab, Tudmir); the treaty, aka Theodemir's Pact, placed the region under Muslim domination but the population was allowed to practice the Christian religion, provided it pays a fee and does not ally with enemies of the new rulers. Accordingly, the Visigothic province of Aurariola (Orihuela) was renamed Cura of Tudmir. Theodemir's Pact lists the towns of Ūriūla (Orihuela), Laqant (Alicante), Lūrqa (Lorca), Mūla (Mula), Bqsra (Begastro, today's Cehegín), Bilāna (Villena), and Oyyoh / Iyyih (Ojós).

The Canton of Cartagena was proclaimed on 12 July 1873, as the revival of the old Kingdom of Murcia. Emancipated from the Spanish Republic, the Cartagena Canton would have been the first step towards a Spanish federal state. Approached by the separatists, the US government declined the offer to establish an "American Gibraltar" in Cartagena. Antonete Gálvez, the charismatic leader of the Cantonalist Revolution, failed to gain the expected support from the population of other big towns. The Canton was suppressed on 13 January 1874 after the violent, victorious assault of Cartagena by the governmental troops.
In spite of its failure, the Cantonalist movement triggered separatist, "Cartagenist" feelings, still vivid in some local circles. A huge "Cartagena no es Murcia" (Cartagena is not Murcia) banderole exhibited in late 2013 in the FC Cartagena football stadium caused some stir, being eventually banned form the stadium by the club's president. The set up of the Province of Cartagena, made of the municipalities of Cartagena, Mazarrón, Fuente Álamo, Torre-Pacheco, La Unión, Los Alcázares, San Javier and San Pedro del Pinatar, is claimed from time to time by local politician (see for instance, El Pais, 21 May 2006).

Ivan Sache, 18 April 2015