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Cumbres Mayores (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-12-20 by ivan sache
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Flag of Cumbres Mayores - Image from the Símbolos de Huelva website, 23 August 2016

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Presentation of Cumbres Mayores

The municipality of Cumbres Mayores (1,848 inhabitants in 2015; 12,200 ha; municipal website) is located 140 km north of Huelva on the border with Extremadura (Province of Badajoz). The village is crossed by the old Royal Transhumance Road, which connects the three villages of Cumbres Mayores, Cumbres de San Bartolomé, and Cumbres de Enmedio.

Cumbres Mayores is of Celtiberian origin; a Celtic settlement named Capote ("a fortress") was established 10 km of the modern town. Designed according to a rectilinear outline on the top of a hill, the settlement was surrounded by a wall defended by square towers. The Celtiberians were succeeded by the Romans, who renamed the place Concordia Julia Nertobriga; remains of public baths paved with mosaics and of an aqueduct were excavated, as well as the funerary stele of the priestess Flacilla, dedicated to Genio Nertobrigensis, the town's tutelar divinity. The Roman town was abandoned in the 5th century.
Cumbres Mayor re-emerged as a settlement known as Ausera, located near the Magdalena fountain, in a fertile place rich in water. The ruins of the apse of the Magdalena chapel are the oldest Christian remains in the district.

The reconquered area was threatened by Portuguese raids. Accordingly, King Sancho IV ordered the Council of Seville to protect the border. In a privilege signed in Toro on 4 November 1293, the king granted an annuity of 500 maravedies to the builders of the fortifications, as well as rights on Cala, Almadén de la Plata, Santa Olalia and Cumbres. The defence line formed the Portuguese Strip, modelled on the Moorish Strip that protected Castile against the Kingdom of Granada. The inhabitants of the isolated hamlets progressively took shelter near the fortress, founding the village of Cumbres Altas, soon renamed Cumbres Mayores.
Cumbres Mayores belonged to the Royal domain of Seville. The population of the village increased from 204 in 1426 to 295 in 1486; most of the villagers were Christians of Castilian origins, but a Jewish community subsisted until suppressed in 1391.

Ivan Sache, 23 August 2016

Symbols of Cumbres Mayores

The flag and arms of Cumbres Mayores, adopted on 1 February 1995 and 23 April 1996 by the Municipal Council and validated on 26 April 1995 by the Royal Academy of Córdoba, are prescribed by Decree No. 335, adopted on 9 July 1996 by the Government of Andalusia and published on 10 August 1996 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 92, pp. 9,488-9,489 (text). This was confirmed by a Resolution adopted on 30 November 2004 by the Directorate General of the Local Administration and published on 20 December 2004 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 246, pp. 28,986-29,002 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular, in proportions 11 x 18, made of a blood red panel with a cross quartered first and fourth white and second and third ultramarine blue. Charged in the center with the local coat of arms.
Coat of arms: Or a castle gules masoned azure the central tower ensigned by the figure of Archangel St. Michael clad purpure the face and hands proper riding and winged proper orled sable holding by the two hands a sword sable pointed towards the throat of a snake vert on his feet langued gules the whole on a base azure in canton dexter an eight-pointed star azure and sinister a crescent reverted. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed.

The symbols were proposed on 25 October 1994 by Juan José Antequera.
Since the second half of the 20th century, the municipality has been using arms showing on a celestial blue field two towers or standing on rocks proper, connected by a bridge or ensigned with the increased figure of St. Michael - whose face, without nimbus, looks towards the left - proper, with the lower part of the body surrounded by flames and holding a cross in his arms, The towers are surmounted by two lions rampant affronty gules. A bordure dimitiated charged with nine fleurs-de-lis or the one in base surrounded by four letters 'F'. The shield placed on a cartouche and surmonted by a Royal crown closed."
The fleurs-de-lis, the letters, the cartouche and the crown are modern additions. Of French profile, the four Fs are locally identified as "Fe" (Faith), "Fidelidad" (Loyalty), "Franqueza" (Frankness), and "Fortaleza" (Strength). The additions were copied from the arms of the neighbouring village of Cumbres de San Bartolomé - or the additions to the arms of Cumbres de Dan Bartolomé were copied from the arms of Cumbres Mayor.

The Royal Academy of Córdoba validated the proposed symbols on 13 November 1995, with minor suggestions of improvement in the design and in the heraldic description of the arms. For instance, the target of the saint is a snake and not a dragon, and should therefore have no wings. The castle should be described as "masoned azure".
The Academy criticized the use of white on the flag instead of yellow, which is used on the coat of arms, and required a more accurate description of the cross, as a "cross quartered". The Academy required a more precise description of the shades.
The designer accepted, on 6 March 1996, with some reluctance, the suggestions, "to prevent postponing the final adoption of the symbols".
[Juan José Antequera. Principios de transmisibilidad en las heráldicas officiales de Sevilla, Córdoba y Huelva]

Ivan Sache, 23 August 2016