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Flags and Ensigns in the Military Museum of Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain)

Last modified: 2010-03-20 by eugene ipavec
Keywords: spain | tenerife | coat of arms | cross: burgundy | military | eagle (black) | crown | lion (red) |
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1647 Military Flag, Basis of Apochryphal "Scarlet-and-Crimson" Ensign?

[Apochryphal
image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 23 Jun 2009

I have a problem: I remember not also from pirate movies but also from my English lessond at school, that the Spanish ensign was referred to as the “scarlet-and-crimson flag”, which took me by surprise. I always thought both shades had been reddish. Was this flag used in a specific era? I couldn't find anything about that flag on our pages. The only thing I know is that there had been a lot of proposals for a Spanish ensign to avoid confusions with the flags of other sea powers in the 18th century and iniated by Carlos III, but that seems to be far too late.

The other problem is simply: Do we use special RGB-values for both colours, scarlet and/or crimson? Maybe the colours names' had been used for different colours earlier, but that is a mere speculation.

Klaus-Michael Schneider, 15 Jun 2009

To the best of my knowledge most Spanish ensigns during the 17th century appear to have been based on the Ragged Cross and to be predominately red on white (although I have heard of a white cross on blue being sometimes used for civil vessels) and such continued to be used as a merchant flag throughout most of the 18th century? On the other hand the full achievement of arms on a white field was formally introduced (from memory) sometime about 1700 for Royal Ships and (like the Ragged Cross merchant flag) was abolished with the introduction of the red and gold in 1785?

On the other hand, "scarlet and crimson" whilst distinctly different shades of red, are (I would suggest) actually indistinguishable from each from any distance and thus hardly appropriate on flag used as a means of identification at sea? Such a red on red flag would surely have looked like a plain "flag of defiance" as a vessel approached, so if the intention when flying it was to give battle then fair enough?

Christopher Southworth, 15 Jun 2009

I suspect – following on from Chris's comments – that it was a less-than-subtle suggestion that Spanish ships were seen as being like pirate ships (IIRC many pirate vessels flew a plain red flag). Scarlet and crimson are fairly distinct and different colours and ISTR that crimson used to mean a darker, more (ironically) Burgundy-like colour, but as pointed out by Chris, from a difference there would be no practical difference.

James Dignan, 16 Jun 2009

My impression- and it is only a reaction to reading the question, not any prior knowledge- is that it is probably a reference to the quartered flag of Castile and Leon. The background of the Castile quarters could certainly be described as scarlet, and the lions of the Leon quarters could arguably be called crimson. Whether that was ever actually used as an ensign in the strict sense may not be relevant since the general public often uses the term in a much looser sense.

Ned Smith, 16 Jun 2009

Surprisingly, such a flag (or similar) existed: I found a tiny image among my photos of Sta. Cruz de Tenerife Military Museum. I have not sufficient time for further inquiries now, but it was a probably short-lived flag introduced in 1647 under Felipe IV. (1621-1665). (In 1647 there happened nothing special.) I can't see whether it should have had great importance. The ratio was approx. 5:6; in a scarlet field, a crimson cross burgundy and a crown in each corner of the flag. The scarlet is RGB (237/28/36), the crimson is RGB (152/1/47). I observed this flag in the Military Museum Sta. Cruz de Tenerife on 22 April 2008. Unfortunately I could find out neither the reason nor the importance of that flag, which is often referred to in pirate movies. Hollywood often wasn't too exact in historical details. So maybe the words “scarlet and crimson flag” in the introductions had been taken from a book, but in the (mostly b/w) movies there was used a current Spanish tricolour.

Klaus-Michael Schneider, 21 and 23 Jun 2009


First Spanish Cavalry Standard

[First Spanish Cavalry Standard (Spain)]
image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 17 Jun 2009

The First Spanish cavalry standard (Primer Estandarte de Caballería) 1638 is a square flag. The flag is light blue with a white cross burgundy surrounded by a white tressure. I spotted this flag on the flag chart “Proceso de Formación de la bandera de España” in the Military Museum Sta. Cruz de Tenerife on 22 April 2008.

Klaus-Michael Schneider, 27 Jun 2009


64th Infantry Regiment Tenerife

[64th Infantry Regiment Tenerife (Spain)]
image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 17 Jun 2009

The flag of the 64th Infantry Regiment Tenerife has a ratio of 1:2. The flag shows the Spanish horizontal triband red – yellow – red with ratio approx. 2:3:2. In the centre of the yellow stripe is the coat of arms, which has a round shield topped by a crown and superimposing a red cross burgundy. The arms are surrounded by an inscription of black capitals: “REGIMIENTO DE INFANTERIA TENERIFE No 64” I spotted this flag in the Military Museum Sta. Cruz de Tenerife on 22 April 2008.

Klaus-Michael Schneider, 27 Jun 2009

This is a colour of a pattern introduced in 1843. With a small gap during the reign of Amadeo I in 1873-74, this basic pattern was used until 1931.

Source: Manzano Lahoz, Antonio, "Las banderas históricas del Ejército Español," 2nd edition, (Madrid, Ministry of Defence, 1996)

Ian Sumner, 28 Jun 2009


Artillery Command Tenerife

[ (Spain)]
image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 05 Jul 2009

The flag of Artillery Command Tenerife is a square flag. The flag shows the Spanish horizontal triband red – yellow – red with ratio approx. 2:3:2. In the centre of the yellow stripe is the coat of arms, which has a round shield topped by a crown and superimposing a red cross burgundy. The arms are surrounded by an inscription of black capitals: “;ARTILLERIA COMANDANCIA DE TENERIFE ”, Source: I spotted this flag on flag chart “Proceso de Formación de la bandera de España” in the Military Museum Sta. Cruz de Tenerife on 22 April 2008. The flag of Artillery Command Tenerife The unit existed from 1904 to 1924.

Klaus-Michael Schneider, 05 Jul 2009


32th Infantry Regiment Tenerife

[32th Infantry Regiment Tenerife (Spain)]
image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 05 Jul 2009

The flag of 32th Infantry Regiment Tenerife, 4th bataillion, expeditionary has a ratio is 1:2. The flag shows the Spanish horizontal triband red – yellow – red with ratio approx. 1:2:1. In the centre of the yellow stripe is the coat of arms from the times of General Franco. In the upper red stripe is a golden inscription “RGTO. DE INFANTERIA DE TENERIFE NO.32” (partially exposed and underlined and “filling words” of smaller height). The coat of amrs is flanked by “4o.” and “Bon.”. In the lower red stripe is the word “EXPEDICIONARIO”, which means according to the dictionary “in action/ taking part of an expedition”. The font type is similar to a narrow type of “Bauhaus”. I spotted this flag in the Military Museum Sta. Cruz de Tenerife on 22 April 2008.

Klaus-Michael Schneider, 05 Jul 2009


Naval Ensign for Expeditions to India (1501-1507)

[Naval Ensign for Expeditions to India (1501-1507) (Spain)]
image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 05 Jul 2009

The flag of Naval ensign of expeditions to India (1501-1507), model 1503. It is a 14-stripes flag, horizontally divided by alternating orange and white stripes. In its centre is a coat of arms topped by a mural crown having five torrets. The shield is quarterly divided and shows twice the arms of Castilia and Leon. Source: I spotted this flag on flag chart “Proceso de Formación de la bandera de España” in the Military Museum Sta. Cruz de Tenerife on 22 April 2008.

I cannot guarantee the details of the flag's subtitle, because it is very small in my photo. Note that there is a similar flag, slightly different with yellow stripes and a coronet instead of a mural crown, illustrated by Sergio Camero here, as "Ensign for Expeditions to the Indies since 1593."

Klaus-Michael Schneider, 05 Jul 2009


12th Coastal Battery “Los Guinchos

[12th Coastal Battery 'Los Guinchos' (Spain)]
image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 06 Jul 2009

The flag of the 12th Coastal Battery “Los Guinchos” is square. The obverse shows the Spanish horizontal triband, red – yellow – red with ratio approx. 1: 2:1. In the centre of the yellow stripe is a smaller coat of arms from the times of General Franco, i.e. without the two pillars of Hercules. Its reverse is divided per bend sinister into red and black. In the centre of the flag is a yellow disc topped by a yellow flame. The flag has a golden fringe. The unit was established in May 1941 and dismantled in 1965. I spotted this flag on flag chart “Proceso de Formación de la Bandera de España” in the Military Museum Sta. Cruz de Tenerife on 22 April 2008.

Klaus-Michael Schneider, 06 Jul 2009


Battalion of Patriotic Volunteers of Las Palmas

[Battalion of Patriotic Volunteers of Las Palmas (Spain)]
image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 07 Jul 2009

The flag of Battalion of Patriotic Volunteers of Las Palmas The ratio is 1:2. The flag shows the Spanish horizontal triband red – yellow – red with ratio 1:1:1. In the centre of the yellow stripe is a lying red cross of St.James slightly shifted to the hoist. According to source the volunteers arose against the Republican government on 18 July 1936 and maintained the home security and re-established the public order. I spotted this flag in the Military Museum Sta. Cruz de Tenerife on 22 April 2008.

Klaus-Michael Schneider, 07 Jul 2009


Battalion of Riflemen La Palma No. 8

[Battalion of Riflemen La Palma No. 8 (Spain)]
image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 08 Jul 2009

The flag of the Battalion of Riflemen La Palma No. 8 (Battalón de Montaña La Palma No 8) The ratio is 1:2. The flag shows the Spanish horizontal triband red – yellow – red with ratio approx. 1: 2:1. In the centre of the flag is a coat of arms shaped as a Soanish shield and superimposing a red cross burgundy. The shield is topped by a crown. The quarters of the shield are showing the arms of Castilia (1st), Leon (2nd), Catalonia (3rd) , Navarra (4th) and Granada (middle base point). According to source this was a regiment of chasers (Span. cazadores). Its denomination was changes into “Battalón de Montaña La Palma No 8” by royal order on 6 July 1925. The battalion was moved to Jaca in 1931 and merged with 19th infantry regiment of Galicia; the new units was renamed the 19th infantry regiment by royal order from 3 June 1931. I spotted this flag in the Military Museum Sta. Cruz de Tenerife on 22 April 2008.

Klaus-Michael Schneider, 08 Jul 2009


Branch Tapestries

Reposteros

Visiting Santa Cruz de Tenerife on 18 February 2010, I discovered the Military Services Building, which seemed to be some kind of casino. In the entrance hall there were miltary colours hanging on the walls. The chief of the casino told me however that they were not flags but “reposteros”, this is some kind of tapestry, hanging down from a horizontal bar and having the purpose to display emblems and coats of arms. They have, at least I guess, therefore no reverse. All the reposteros there had ratio 11:13, a thin golden fimbriation, golden fringes and golden floral ornaments of the same shape in every corner.

Army (Exército de Tierra)

[Reposteros (Branch Tapestries) in Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Spain)]
Artillery

[Reposteros (Branch Tapestries) in Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Spain)]
Cavalry

[Reposteros (Branch Tapestries) in Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Spain)]
 
 
 
images by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 12 Mar 2010
 
 
 
Purple with the crowned golden eagle of the army, having a cross of St. James upon its breast. Divided per bend into black and red with a yellow bomb (ball with flame) in its centre. Celestial blue with two crossed lances topped by Spanish pennants and superimposed by two golden sabres in its centre.
 
 
 
Engineers

[Reposteros (Branch Tapestries) in Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Spain)]
Infantry

[Reposteros (Branch Tapestries) in Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Spain)]
Intendancia de Canarias

[Reposteros (Branch Tapestries) in Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Spain)]
 
 
 
images by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 13 Mar 2010
 
 
 
Blue with a silver tower masoned black in its centre. Reddish with a horn and crossed gun and sword, all in yellow, in its centre. Divided per bend sinister into white and blue with a golden sun, flanked by two golden garlands and topped by a crown shifted to the bottom.
 
 
 
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 12 Mar 2010


Instruction and Recruitment Centre No.15

Centro Instrución Recrutamiento No.15/CIR 15

[Instruction and Recruitment Centre No.15 (Spain)]
image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 15 Mar 2010

Military colours of Sta. Cruz dT 3/3 Instruction and Recruitment Centre No.15 (Centro Instrución Recrutamiento No.15/CIR 15) It is also a tapestry of yellow background with black floral ornaments in each corner. In its centre is the eagle of the Spanish Army (Exórcito de Tierra), having a cross of St. James upon its breast, which looks like a bloody sword. The eagle is topped by a crown. Beneath the eagle are embowed black inscriptions in black capitals: “CIR 15” and “GENERALISIMO FRANCO”. CIR 15 is a unit belonging to Grupo Intendancia de Canarias, having its location at Base Hoya Fria in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

I spotted this one in January 2007 at the Santa Cruz Military Museum, but did not identify it with the help of the staff until 18 February 2010.

Klaus-Michael Schneider, 15 Mar 2010

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