Spanish flag 1492: Christopher Columbus’ Flags, 1492 (Spain)

Christopher Columbus’ Flags, 1492 (Spain)

Christopher Columbus’ Flags, 1492 (Spain)

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Last modified: 2015-07-28 by ivan sache


Keywords: coat of arms: quartered (counterquartered) | columbus (christopher) | cross: formy (green) | letters: 2 (green) | fy | crowns: 2 (yellow) | conquistador |

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  • Columbus’ Fleet Ensign
  • Erroneous Depictions of Columbus’ Flag


See also:

  • 15th Century Flags
  • Hernan Cortes’ Flags, 1519-1521
  • Historical Flags (Spain)
  • Historical Flags (Castile and Leon, Spain)
  • Legendary «Purple Banner of Castile» or «Commoners’ Banner» (Pendón Morado de Castilla or Pendón de los Comuneros)
  • Spain

Christopher Columbus’ Fleet Ensign, 1492





Captain’s Ensign of Columbus’ Ships (not Columbus’ personal flag)

image by António Martins, 1998





Pennant of the Santa María

image by José Carlos Alegría


The Castile and Leon flag is reputedly the first to have flown on American territory, since it was the one used by Christopher Columbus on behalf of the Spanish government who subsidized his journeys. The Spanish flag being relatively new – it was first used at the end of the eighteenth century – the kings of Spain used to fly the flags of the different kingdoms that joined together at the end of the Middle Ages.

José Gabriel Barbero, 27 Jan 1999


US commercial sites sell a historical «Columbus flag» which is not the Castile and Leon one but a standard containing the initials F (Fernando) and Y (Ysabel) with a cross between the initials and crowns above them.

Dov Gutterman, 27 Jan 1999


In Washington, an 1846 painting image by John Vanderlyn (U.S. Capitol rotunda) depicting the landing shows the castles and lions flag and in the booklet Columbus in the Capitol, Quincentenary Edition it is noted on page 5 shows the Castile and Leon flag, which is the flag under discussion. I hesitate to call the Columbus flag – as described image by Dov Gutterman – a flag, at least in the original sense. It was originally described as the Expeditionary Banner in some catalogues when it first came on the market. One version that I have seen, from Spain, was arranged so the flag hung as a banner, although most all that I have seen sold in catalogues are arranged as a flag. The Vanderlyn portrait seems to portray this as a banner/pennant ending in a swallowtail.

Phil Nelson, 27 Jan 1999


Christopher Columbus wrote in his logbook that on October 12th 1492 he picked the Royal Flag, and his captains two flags which the Admiral carried in all the ships as Ensign, each white with a green cross formy couped addorsed by old Gothic letters ‘F’ and ‘Y’, both green and crowned with golden, open royal crowns, for Fernando and Ysabel. With these three flags he took possession of Guanahani island (nowadays San Salvador). Source: Calvo and Grávalos 1983, illustrations nos. 69 and 70. These were the first European flags to fly over America – provided the Vikings did not display one earlier.

So US commercial sites are quite right. However, strictly speaking, Columbus travelled only on behalf of Elizabeth, Queen of Castile and Leon. Some historians argue that this is the reason why so few Aragonese-Catalan conquerors travelled to the Americas. The Catholic Kings were not the Kings of Castile and Leon – Ferdinand was King of Aragon and Sicily, Elizabeth was Queen of Castile and Leon.

The letters F and Y stand for «Fernando» and «Ysabel» (nowadays spelt «Isabel»). It is funny that the usual English name for that queen, rather than Isabel or Elizabeth, is Isabella which is neither proper English nor Spanish…

Santiago Dotor, 28 Jan 1999


The original documents of Columbus’ expeditions describe a banner (apparently ecclesiastical-style, hung from a crossbar and forked at the bottom), white with a green cross and the crowned initials F and Y. This is not a perfect description, so interpretations differ. I don’t think that his expedition is known to have carried any other flag. As for «the kings of Spain used to fly the flags of the different kingdoms that joined together at the end of the Middle Ages,» Castile and Leon were the realms of Elizabeth; Ferdinand was the King of Aragon.

John S. Ayer, 03 Feb 1999


Columbus Day has been taken over in the United States by the Italian community as «their» festivity. I guess the
large amount of Italian immigrants have historically seen St. Patrick’s day, as the Irish festivity, like a mirror to look at, and found the national holiday of Columbus Day as a chance to make themselves present. They claim
Christopher Columbus was Italian. Nobody can prove that, but, anyway, the celebration is because he arrived at America, and he did that in the name of Spain. I send the flags from the book Calvo and Grávalos 1983 used by
Christopher Columbus when he landed in San Salvador island [nowadays part of Bahamas, see this country’s coat-of-arms]. The pennant from
Christopher Columbus ship, the Santa María, was as long as the mast and bore the royal arms, the [Catholic Kings’] motto Tanto Monta and a crucifix.

José Carlos Alegría, 12 Oct 1999


This flag of Columbus [es~cc492.gif] appears in Crampton 1990 with a swallowtail. And I’ve always had a doubt: is this a personal flag, one belonging to him (Columbus), or is it a position flag, the flag of the captain of the ships sailing to America (that is
Columbus as a member of a hierarchy, not Columbus as a chap with a flag)?

Jorge Candeias, 15 Oct 1999


In the records written in his logbook, he says that October 12th, when they arrived at San Salvador (of course, he didn’t know at the time where he was exactly), they landed in small boats from the three ships.
Christopher Columbus took from the Santa María the Royal Flag, and the captains of the Pinta and the Niña, a Captain’s flag each. About this last flag, we know it was a capitana flag (a Spanish military term) for the expedition. It was used to distinguish the ships under the command of
Christopher Columbus (3 ships in this trip). It was not a personal/private flag belonging to him, but a sign of the fleet under his authority (each ship having a captain with this flag). It could have been
swallow-tailed, but only oral transmission remains of the flag. The symbols it contains (the ‘F’ for King Fernando and the ‘Y’ for Queen Isabel, crowned, and separated by a cross) are engraved at his burial mound in the Cathedral of Seville, but no flag shape is described.

This flag was given by the monarchs of Spain to distinguish the fleet under the command of
Christopher Columbus. That is, it was a flag to be hold by each Captain (one captain per ship) on Columbus’ flotilla. I am no military expert, but I imagine it is something as if all the ships of the American 6th Fleet had a common flag to fly on each ship, and the fleet’s commander-in-chief were Columbus.

José Carlos Alegría, 15 and 19 Oct 1999


Isn’t that an ensign? Possibly not the national ensign, but a fleet ensign?

Santiago Dotor, 21 Oct 1999


Regarding the three ships of the Columbian expedition, the actual names of the ships were the Santa Maria, the Pinta and the Santa Clara. The Santa Clara was the smallest and therefore nicknamed the the small one or Niña. This was also a reference to the Captain’s last name and was therefore a play on words on two levels.

James J. Ferrigan (University of Santa Clara ’72), 19 Oct 1999


The primary source for this flag is Columbus’ Journal describing the
first landing on Guanahani:

. . . the admiral went ashore in the armed boat, and Martin Alonso
Pinzon [captain of the Pinta] and Vicente Yanez, his brother, who was
captain of the Nina. The admiral brought out the royal standard, and
the captains went with two banners of the Green Cross, which the
admiral flew on all the ships as a flag, with an F and a Y, and over
each letter their crown, one being on one side of the [Maltese cross]
and the other on the other.

(Cecil Jane translation, originally
published by Clarkson N. Potter Inc., 1960).

Peter Ansoff, 03 Sep 2007


Just for fun, I conducted a study on the subject of «What is the flag that Christopher Colombus planted on the island of Guanahani on October 12, 1492?»


I found 16 different types of vexils: banners, flags, with Castilian arms, with crosses…


Dominique Cureau, 27 Mar 2005


Being the only ones to include the royal standard and
expedition flags, the 3rd hypothesis (white flag carrying a heraldic eagle with arms of kings of Spain) and 9th hypothesis (banner with arms
surounded by a chain, perhaps a collar) are the only ones that come close, but the right Royal Arms of 1492 are those of hypothesis 3. Hypothesis 9 has the wrong arms (the collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece was impossible in 1492).


Jose C. Alegria and Dominique Cureau, 28 – 30 Mar 2005



Erroneous Depictions of Columbus’ Flag


Yellow With Castille-Leon Arms


Wikipedia shows something a bit different: a yellow banner with vertical coats of arms.


Peter Ansoff, 04 Sep 2007


Columbus should be holding the Castille-Leon flag, and that is probably an attempt to depict is as it is on the
modern Spanish flag (with the Pillars, Crown, etc. etc.) instead of a simple Banner of Arms. The other two flags are, following Peter’s source, clearly the F-Y flag.


Nathan Lamm, 04 Sep 2007


Alleged Flag of Columbus in 19th-Century French Print







image by Ivan Sache, 13 Feb 2005



image d’Epinal
 
 

Dominique Cureau forwarded to the FrancoVex list an image d’Epinal showing
Columbus landing in America.


The images d’Epinal were produced in the imagerie (print manufacture) founded in Epinal (eastern France) by Jean-Charles Pellerin (1756-1836). Pellerin was the son of a playing cards and dominos manufacturer. He designed clock dials in stenciled colour paper, and later adapted the technique to the mass production of prints. The drawings were carved on a piece of pear-tree wood and printed using a Gutenberg handpress; the colours were then stenciled one by one.


Initially, the imagerie produced mostly religious and historical prints. Pellerin diversified the production with prints depicting popular songs, riddles, La Fontaine’s fables… Pellerin was
succeeded by his son, who developed at the end of the XIXth century the production of advertising prints. The best French illustrators, such as Caran d’Ache, O’Galop, Job and Benjamin Rabier, worked for the imagerie d’Epinal. Production fell severely after the Second World War, but still exists, mostly of art prints.


On the traditional images d’Epinal, the scenes were depicted in a realistic but naive and stereotypical manner, with garish colours. The prints were so popular that the term image d’Epinal has passed into common French; it is now used to refer to any form of stereotypical representation, not necessarily printed.


The image d’Epinal found by Dominique is entitled: Decouverte de l’Amerique par Christophe Colomb (The discovery
of America by Christopher Columbus). Columbus is shown holding a big flag in his left hand. The flag is yellow with a red cross. Dominique believes that the illustrator combined a Christian cross and the colours of Spain.


Ivan Sache, 13 Feb 2005


Spain Royal Standard «Old Spain» Flag

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Columbus carried this standard of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella flag on his journey to the «new world». The castle represents the Royal house of Castile, while the Lions the house of Leon. Columbus is said to have planted this flag on San Salvador, Bahamas in October of 1492.

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December 6, 1492 Columbus discovered the island of Haiti

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The first expedition of the Spanish navigator Christopher
Columba began in 1492. Her goal was
search for a western route to India and
Japan.

In August 1492, Columbus, together with the Pinson brothers, began
his first expedition. A fleet of caravels
«Pint» and «Nina» and
four-masted sailboat «Santa Maria» , came out
from the port of Spain in search of a western route to India and Japan.
The seafaring team consisted of 90 people, and at their head was
Christopher Columbus.

Only in October
travelers opened the land. Found area
they named San Salvador and placed a flag there
Castile. The next stop for the Columbus team was
Cuba named by the navigator
Juana, mistaking it for one of the peninsulas
East Asia. After that, the sailors headed for
east in search of Japan. On the way they lost one ship and
continued the expedition on the remaining ships. Heading for
east, the team reached Cape Maisi.

In early December, the new land became visible to the sailors. They are
entered the bay and named the cape after St. Nicholas. So
Columbus discovered the island of Haiti . Until the end of the 18th century
believed that the island was called «little Spain», but later
it became clear that this was a mistake of cartographers. Columbus gave him
the name «Hispaniola», which is translated from Spanish
means «Spanish». The island got its name because
that these lands reminded Columbus of Castile.

Island Haiti — the second largest island of the Greater
Antilles in the Caribbean. From discovery by Columbus
Haiti was an island colony of Spain, but in 1697 Spain
ceded the western third of the island to France.

Indians, the local population of the island, were killed and brought to Haiti
slaves from Africa. Later, in January 1804, the island had
an independent state was created, headed by Jean-Jacques
Dessalines. During his time in power in the country,
many revolutions. His rule is considered despotic and
cruel, but Dessalines is recognized as a national hero
countries. One of the cities is named after him, and the anthem of Haiti
called «Dessalinena».

Jean-Jacques Dessalines

Haiti’s independence was recognized by France in 1825. However,
a large contribution was demanded from the island. In 1915-1934 Haiti
occupied by the Americans, after which the elite rose to power
mulattoes. Now the island is located on its territory
Dominican Republic and Republic of Haiti.

Columbus Expeditions

1. 1492 — 1493

On his first voyage, he passed the Atlantic Ocean, discovered
Sargasso Sea and reached the Bahamas. 12 October 1492 years
considered to be the day of the discovery of America. Then Columbus reached
Saman Islands.

2. 1493 — 1496

The second campaign of the navigator is famous for the discovery of the Lesser Antilles
islands, Dominica and Jamaica.

3. 1498 — 1500

During these years, Columbus was able to reach the islands of Trinidad and Margarita and
marked the beginning of the discovery of South America. He made his trip to
fleet of six ships.

4. 1502 — 1506

During the last expedition, the navigator discovered Martinique, reached
to the Gulf of Honduras and explored the coast of Central
America along the Caribbean.

Map of the four expeditions of Columbus

Photo: Wikipedia.

The material was prepared on the basis of information from open
sources.

Author Oksana Shlyakhtina

December 6, 1492
Christopher Columbus
opening haiti

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Spain

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  • Historical flags of Spain
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  • Historical states that existed on the territory of Spain

The Kingdom of Spain is a state in southwestern Europe and partly in Africa.

The capital of the country is the city of Madrid.

Flag of Spain since 1981.

The national flag of Spain is a rectangular panel of three horizontal stripes — two equal red ones, top and bottom, between which there is a yellow stripe, the width of which is twice as wide as each red stripe. On the yellow strip at a distance of 1/3 from the pole edge of the cloth there is an image of the coat of arms of Spain. The ratio of the flag’s width to its length is 2:3.

Description of the coat of arms approved by law no. 33/1981 of October 5, 1981:
Article one. The coat of arms of Spain is a shield divided into four parts with a rounding at the bottom. In the first quarter, on a red background, there is an image of a three-tower castle of golden color with azure gates and windows. In the second quarter, on a silver background, there is an image of a rearing purple lion crowned with a golden crown. In the third quarter, there are four red stripes on a golden background. In the fourth quarter, on a red background, there are images of golden chains forming a cross, and in the center of the quarter — an image of an emerald. On the inset at the bottom of the shield on a silver background is an image of a pomegranate fruit, with a red inside, with two green leaves.
On either side of the image of the shield there are images of columns of silver color, based on the bases of gold color and images of waves of azure or blue color and topped with imperial and royal gold crowns. The columns are wrapped around a red motto ribbon, on which the inscription is applied in gold letters: “Plus” on the left, “Ultra” on the right (from the Latin “Plus Ultra” — “Further than the limit”). The upper part of the coat of arms is crowned with an image of the royal crown, which is a circle of gold with precious stones, with eight rosettes and eight interspersed pearls, closed on top by eight hemispheres, of which five are visible, also decorated with pearls and crowned with a cross on a symbolic image of the globe. The inside of the crown is red.
Article two. On the shield of the coat of arms of Spain, described in the previous article, there is an insert of azure color with a red border depicting three golden lilies, two above one — the symbol of the ruling dynasty of Bourbon-Anjou.

The flag was approved on October 28, 1981 by law No. 39/1981.

Rationale for the symbolism: The current flag of Spain is derived from the naval ensign of 1785 introduced by King Charles III. It was chosen by Charles III himself from among 12 different flags designed by Antonio Valdes and Bazan (all designed flags were presented in a drawing that is in the Naval Museum of Madrid). The flag remained a naval flag for the next 50 years, flying over coastal fortresses, naval barracks, and other naval assets. Only in 1820 did the first Spanish land unit receive such a flag, and only in 1843 did Queen Isabella II make the flag official.


Heraldic banner in
1475-1492.

Infantry banner model
1475.

General royal banner of
Catholic Monarchs in
1475-1492.

Banner of the Catholic Monarchs
in 1475-1492.

In 1469, the marriage of Ferdinand II, King of Aragon (later Ferdinand V) and Isabella, Queen of Castile and León resulted in the unification of both kingdoms, which in turn led to the creation of modern Spain (1516).

Heraldic banner
in 1492-1506.

Banner of the Catholic Monarchs
in 1492-1508.

In 1492, the Emirate of Granada was conquered, which became part of the kingdom as the Kingdom of Granada. The emblem of Granada has been added to the heraldic banner.

Flag of Ferdinand and Isabella, presented to
Columbus.

The flag that was presented to Christopher Columbus in preparation for an expedition to America can be considered the first non-armorial flag of the United Kingdom.

State flag in 1506-1701.

Naval flag in 1520-1701.

In 1506, a white flag with a red Burgundy cross was adopted as the new flag. This flag was used both on land and at sea. In 1520, a red-white-yellow horizontal tricolor began to be used as a naval ensign.

Heraldic flag
Carlos I in 1518-1556
years.

Royal standard in
1556-1580 and 1668-1700.

Heraldic flag
of the Habsburgs in 1580-1668
.

Royal standard
in 1580-1668.

Heraldic banner
of the Habsburgs in 1668-1700
.

State flag (on land) in 1701-1771
.

Naval ensign (simplified) in
1701-1785.

With the death in November 1700 of Charles II of Habsburg, who left no heirs, the question of who would be the new king led to the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714). The Bourbon dynasty came to power. The new king’s flags were designed by the French heraldists Charles-René d’Ozier and Pierre Kerambo.

Naval flag in 1701-1760.

Flag of Philip V
(1700-1746).

Heraldic banner of
Bourbons in 1700-1761
.

Royal standard in
1700-1761.

Naval flag in 1760-1785.

Heraldic banner of the Bourbons in 1761-1868 and in
1875-1931.

Royal Standard at
1761-1834.

In 1760, Charles III modified the shield of the royal arms, retaining the Golden Fleece and adding two new quarters corresponding to the House of Farnese (six blue lilies on gold) and the Medici (five red discs and one blue disc with three golden lilies, all on gold).

Flag of the navy and coastal fortifications
in 1785-1931.
National flag in 1843-1873 and 1874-1931
.

Flag of the Merchant Navy in 1785–1927.

Royal Standard in
1838-1868 and 1875-1931.

King Charles III of Spain (1759-1788) noticed that most of the countries in Europe used flags that were predominantly white and because they were often at war with each other, there were deplorable confusions at sea, so it is difficult to determine if a visible ship is an enemy . For this reason, he ordered his Minister of the Navy to prepare several models of flags, which were to be visible from great distances. The minister selected twelve sketches, which were shown to the king. The flag chosen as the military flag is the direct ancestor of the current flag. It was red-yellow-red whose yellow stripe was twice the size of the red stripe, a unique feature that distinguished the Spanish flag from other European flags. Meanwhile, the flag chosen for the civilian or merchant fleet consisted of five stripes: yellow-red-yellow-red-yellow in proportions 1:1:2:1:1.

Flag of the First Spanish Republic in
1873-1874.

Heraldic banner of the Bourbons in 1931.

The First Spanish Republic was proclaimed after the abdication of the Spanish king Amadeus I, which occurred as a result of an acute social crisis and the outbreak of the Second Carlist War, on February 10, 1873.

Flag of the Second Spanish Republic at 1931-1939
.

The Second Spanish Republic existed from 1931 to 1939 — the period after the overthrow of the monarchy, before the establishment of the dictatorship of Francisco Franco. The change of regime was symbolized by a new tricolor flag of red, yellow and purple instead of the former red and yellow bicolor which was considered monarchist at the time. The purple stripe represented Castile and León in the colors of the flag, as the existing red and yellow represented the territories of the former Crown of Aragon. The Republican flag was officially adopted on 27 April 1931 years old and officially handed over to the army on May 6th. The coat of arms was located on the state flag in the center, the civil one was used without a coat of arms.

Flag of the rebel side 29.08-13.09 1936.

Flag of the rebel side 09/13/1936-02/02/1938.

Flag of the rebel side 02/02/1938-04/01/1939;
flag of Spain in 1939-1945.

In 1936-1939 there was a civil war in Spain.

Flag of Spain in 1945-1977.

Flag of Spain in 1977-1981.

Royal Standard of Juan
Carlos I (1975-2014).

Royal Standard
of Philip VI (since 2014).


Spain is a unitary state. The main administrative-territorial unit in Spain is the autonomous community (autonomous region, Spanish comunidad autónoma). Also in Spain are 2 so-called autonomous cities (ciudades autónomas) in Africa — Ceuta and Melilla. There are currently 17 Autonomous Communities in the country:

  • Andalusia
  • Aragon
  • Asturias
  • Balearic Islands
  • Valencia
  • Galicia
  • Canary Islands
  • Cantabria
  • Castile-La Mancha
  • Castile-Leon
  • Catalonia
  • Madrid
  • Murcia
  • Navarra
  • Rioja
  • Basque Country
  • Extremadura

  • Ampuryas County
  • Granada Emirate/Kingdom
  • Castile, kingdom
  • Cordoba, emirate/caliphate/taifa
  • Leon Kingdom
  • Mallorca, kingdom
  • Seville, kingdom
  • Seville, Taifa
  • Toledo, Kingdom

County of Empurhas — historical state that existed in 812-1402

Flag of the County of Empurhas.

In 785, the Franks conquered the regions of Ampurhas and Perelada from the Moors, which were included in the created county of Girona, which in turn was included in the Spanish March. As part of Girona, these areas remained until the 810s. In 813, Ermenger, Count of Empurhas, is mentioned for the first time, who ruled until 817, after which the County of Empurhas was transferred to Gocelm, Count of Roussillon.

At the end of the ninth and beginning of the tenth century, the owners of most French counties became hereditary and sovereign rulers, recognizing the power of the king only formally. As the royal power weakened, the independence of the counts increased, and by the end of the 9th century, the power of the counts of Ampuryas became hereditary.

After the death in 1401/1402 of Pere III, who did not leave children, his wife, Jeanne de Rocaberti-y-de-Fennollet, as well as her brother, Viscount Geoffroy VI de Rocaberti, were to become the heir according to the will. However, King Martin I of Aragon refused to approve the Rocaberti viscounts as counts of Empurhas and in 1402 annexed the county to the crown estates.


Granada — historical state — emirate, then kingdom, which existed in 1228-1833

Flag of the Emirate of Granada.

After the death of the prominent Almohad ruler Muhammad al-Nasir (1214), a period of unrest began in the Muslim part of Iberia, which led to the collapse of the Almohad state. In 1224-1230, the region was engulfed by feudal fragmentation, small emirates (called taifas) were formed and again disintegrated. An emirate was founded in Arkhon (1230), which turned out to be the most viable. Its ruler, Muhammad I al-Ghalib, captured the city of Jaen in 1232, and then was recognized in the districts of the cities of Basa, Guadis and Granada (1237). It was in the remote mountainous Granada that he established the seat of his court (1238) and thus founded the Emirate of Granada — the last Moorish state.

At the end of the 15th century, the emirate was in crisis — the treasury was chronically short of funds, there was a shortage of food, the population was starving, city buildings were empty and falling apart. All this, combined with the vices of social organization, the humanitarian crisis and the external political situation of Granada, led the emirate to a final defeat.

Flag of the Kingdom of Granada.

The Kingdom of Granada was formed in 1492, after the capture of the Emirate of Granada by the Spaniards. The new entity, although called a «kingdom», was completely dependent on the crown of Castile and León. With the capture of Granada — the last Arab state in Europe and the last Islamic state formation on the territory of the Iberian Peninsula, the eight-century process of the Christian Reconquista of the peninsula ended.

On November 20, 1833, Spain carried out an administrative reform, the kingdoms were abolished, and provinces were formed in their place.


Kingdom of Castile — historical state that existed from the 9th century to 1230

Flag of the Kingdom of Castile.

For the first time the name «Castile» (Spanish: Castilla) appears in the «Chronicle of Alfonso III» (IX century), which mentions that the king of Asturias Alfonso I settled the province of Bardulia, «which is now called Castile.» The name comes from the castles (castle), created in the region bordering with Muslim states. King Alfonso I of Asturias, taking advantage of the civil strife in Al-Andalus, was able to capture a number of territories. In the lands conquered from the Muslims in the south of the kingdom, he began to build defensive fortifications. The successors of Alfonso I were able to further expand the territory of the kingdom. Around 850, King Ordoño I formed a county to improve the administration of the eastern regions of the kingdom.

The first counts of Castile took an active part in the Reconquista, expanding their possessions. The capital of the county was Burgos, founded in 884 by either King Alfonso III the Great of Asturias or Count Diego Porcelos. In the 10th century, the counts of Castile, due to the weakness of royal power and civil strife, began to strive for independence. After several unsuccessful uprisings, Count Fernand Gonzalez, the founder of the Lara dynasty, became a de facto independent ruler. His son, Garcia Fernandez, after being overthrown at 9In 84, King Ramiro III refused to take the vassal oath to Bermudo III, who, in need of help against the Leonese nobility in 991, recognized the Count of Castile as an independent and equal ruler. After the extinction of the Lara dynasty in 1029, Castile became part of the possessions of the King of Navarre, Sancho III the Great, who was married to the sister of the last Count of Castile.

After the death of Sancho III the Great in 1035, his possessions were divided among his sons. As early as 1032, Castile was transferred to the eldest son of Sancho III, Ferdinand (Fernando) I. However, King Bermudo III of Leon began preparations for war with Ferdinand I in order to return to Leon the lands previously taken from him. Ferdinand, in an effort to gain more support from the Castilian nobility, assumed the title «King of Castile» on 1 July 1037.

At the end of his life, King Alfonso IX of Leon went to Santiago de Compostela to visit the relics of Saint James, whom he greatly revered. On the way, he felt unwell and stopped at Villanueva de Sarria, where he died on September 23 or 24, 1230. According to his will, Alfonso IX left his kingdom to two daughters from his first marriage — Sancha and Dulce, but his son Fernando, King of Castile, challenged this will, referring to the succession laws adopted in Leon, according to which male offspring were preferred during inheritance. As a result, Fernando managed to settle the dispute with his half-sisters: he provided them with significant monetary compensation, and the sisters renounced the rights to Leon. As a result, Fernando was recognized as the king of Leon and Galicia, again uniting them with Castile. The united Kingdom of Castile and León was never divided again.


Cordoba, emirate/caliphate/taifa — historical state that existed in 756-1070

Flag of the caliphate (emirate).

Banner of Abd ar-Rahman III (912-961).

After the rapid Muslim conquest of the Iberian Peninsula in 711-718, a province was created that was part of the Umayyad Caliphate. The residence of its rulers, who bore the title of «wali» or «emir», was the city of Cordoba. Initially, the Spanish emir was appointed by the African governor, who was subordinate to the caliph. At the end of 755, Abd ar-Rahman landed in Spain, captured Córdoba and proclaimed himself emir. Initially, he formally recognized the authority of the Abbasids, who succeeded the Umayyads, but after the conflict of 765, the mention of the Abbasids in Friday sermons in mosques was prohibited.

The real creator of the independent emirate was Abd-ar-Rahman II, who streamlined the powers of the viziers and achieved a very rapid Islamization of the peninsula, significantly reducing the number of Christians in Muslim lands. By the time of Abd ar-Rahman III’s accession to the throne in 912, the political decline of the emirate was an obvious fact. Abd-ar-Rahman III put an end to the rebellions, made campaigns on Christian lands. And in 929 he proclaimed himself caliph.

The death of Hakam II in 976 marked the beginning of the decline of the caliphate. Before his death, Hakam appointed his 10-year-old son Hisham II as his successor (976-1008). Muhammad ibn Abu Amir al-Mansur (in medieval European sources — Almansor) served as a hajib under Khakam. After the death of Khakam, he removed from the reign of Caliph Hisham II, who remained only a nominal head of state. At the beginning of the 11th century, a period of feudal unrest began in the Caliphate (from 1009 to 1031, 6 caliphs were replaced). In 1031, the last caliph, Hisham III, was overthrown and expelled from Cordoba, and the Caliphate broke up into many small emirates.

Flag of the taifa of Cordoba.

During the collapse of the Caliphate of Cordoba, various states began to form, which went down in history as taifas. Cordoba, as the former center of the Caliphate, was one of the last to declare its independence. On November 30, 1031, Hisham III was overthrown by the rebellious people and fled to Lleida. The city was temporarily left without a ruler. The noble citizens decided to transfer power to Abu-l-Hazm Jahwar bin Muammad. Before making any political decision, he conferred with a council of ministers and a judge.

Abu-l-Hazm ruled the city from 1031 until his death in 1049, when he was succeeded by his son Abu-l Walid Muhammad ar-Rashid. Over time, Muhammad ar-Rashid transferred power in the taifa of Cordoba to his two children: Abd ar-Rahman and Abd al-Malik. The two brothers began a struggle, in which Abd ar-Rahman turned out to be the winner. Abd al-Malik turned to the Emir of Seville, Abbad II al-Mu’tadid, for help.

The rapprochement between Cordoba and Seville alarmed Al-Ma’mun, Emir of Toledo, who sent an army to besiege Cordoba and arrest Abd al-Malik. The struggle for Cordoba continued until al-Mu’tamid, after another victory, instead of appointing his protege, added the taif to the taif of Seville. Abd al-Malik was arrested and exiled to the island of Salta. This was the end of the Republic of Cordoba.


Kingdom of Leon — historical state that existed in 910-1230

Flag of the Kingdom of Leon in 1105-1157.

Flag of the Kingdom of León (late
version).

The kingdom was formed in 910 after the division of the kingdom of Asturias between the sons of King Alfonso III. The eldest son Garcia received Leon, the second son Ordoño received Galicia, and the youngest Fruela received Asturias proper.

In 914, after the death of Garcia, the kingdom of León passed to his middle brother Ordoño II, who, in order to enlist the support of his younger brother, King Fruela II of Asturias, gave him some of the lands of León. Ordoño II made the city of León the capital of his kingdom. In 924, he died and Fruela II became the ruler of his lands, who also died a year later. Nevertheless, Leon, Asturias and Galicia were again united. The capital of the united state was moved from Oviedo to Leon, and the state itself was called the Kingdom of Leon and Asturias.

At the end of his life, King Alfonso IX of Leon went to Santiago de Compostela to visit the relics of Saint James, whom he greatly revered. On the way, he felt unwell and stopped at Villanueva de Sarria, where he died on September 23 or 24, 1230. According to his will, Alfonso IX left his kingdom to two daughters from his first marriage — Sancha and Dulce, but his son Fernando, King of Castile, challenged this will, referring to the succession laws adopted in Leon, according to which male offspring were preferred during inheritance. As a result, Fernando managed to settle the dispute with his half-sisters: he provided them with significant monetary compensation, and the sisters renounced the rights to Leon. As a result, Fernando was recognized as the king of Leon and Galicia, again uniting them with Castile. The united Kingdom of Castile and León was never divided again.


Kingdom of Majorca (Mallorca) — historical state that existed in 1231-1349

Flag of the Kingdom of Mallorca.

Mallorca was conquered by Jaime I from the Almohad dynasty in 1229-1232. Having not yet fully mastered the island, Jaime in 1231 proclaimed Mallorca a kingdom in union with Aragon.

On October 25, 1349, at the battle of Llucmajor, Jaime was defeated and died, and his young children, Jaime IV (1337-1375) and Isabella (1337-1403), were taken prisoner to Barcelona. Mallorca finally became part of Aragon.


Kingdom of Seville — historical state that existed in 1248-1833

Flag of the Kingdom of Seville.

The Kingdom was founded in 1248 when King Ferdinand III of Castile and León conquered the Islamic-Moorish state in Seville during the Reconquista. The kingdom was vassal to the crown of Castile, with which all its further history remains institutionally connected.

Nominally part of Spain until 1833, when a territorial reorganization was carried out, the kingdoms were abolished, and provinces were formed in their place.


Taifa Seville — historical state that existed in 1023-1091

Flag of the Taifa Seville.

Taifa Seville became one of the last territories subject to the caliph of Cordoba. This became possible because Seville enjoyed a certain autonomy within the Caliphate. The autonomy of Seville was led by a triumvirate consisting of Abu Abd Alya al Subaidi, the vizier Abu Muammad Abd Alya ben Maryam and Qadi Ismail ibn Abbad. Over time, Ismail ibn Abbad concentrated power in his hands, which he transferred to his son Abbad I. Taifa Seville became independent after October 1, 1023, Abbad I forbade the deposed Caliph of Cordoba Al-Qasim al-Mamun from entering the city, and in Declared independence from Córdoba in December. After the monarchy was overthrown in the city of Cordoba in 1031 and a republic was founded, Seville received a pretext for fighting other taifas, in the war with which the entire reign of Abbad passed.

In the reign of Al-Mu’tamid ibn Abbad (1069-1091), the taifas of Cordoba in 1070 and Murcia in 1078 were annexed. Al-Mu’tamid tried to stop paying tribute to the Castilians. This led to the capture of Toledo by the Christians in 1085. Al-Mu’tamid called for help from the Almoravids, who defeated the Christian troops and received Algeciras as a reward. In 1090, the Almoravides, seeing the weakness of the Muslim states of the Iberian Peninsula, began to capture the taifs of Al-Andalus. In 1091, Seville fell, and its ruler Al-Mu’tamid was exiled to the Maghreb.


Kingdom of Toledo — historical state, part of the Castilian crown that existed in 1085-1833

Flag of the Kingdom of Toledo.

The Kingdom of Toledo was formed on May 25, 1085, after the liberation of the city of Toledo by Alfonso VI from the Arabs.

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