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Los Alcázares (Municipality, Region of Murcia, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-04-25 by ivan sache
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Flag of Los Alcázares - Image by Ivan Sache, 7 May 2015

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Presentation of Los Alcázares

The municipality of Los Alcázares (15,735 inhabitants in 2014; 1,982 ha; municipal website) is located in the south-east of the Region of Murcia, 20 km of Cartagena and 50 km of Murcia. Los Alcázares is located on the western bank of the salty lagoon (170 sq. km in area; 70 km in coastal length) known as Mar Menor (lit., Minor Sea).

Los Alcázares is named for a fortress, in Arab "al-Qasr", built by Ibn Mardania on the ruins of a Roman villa dated to the 3rd century. After the Christian reconquest, Alfonso X the Wise allocated Los Alcázares to the Crown of Castile and to the Council of Murcia, re-settling the area with colonists from Catalonia, Aragón and Castile. However, the area remained sparsely populated because of the threat represented by pirates and soldiers from the neighbouring Kingdom of Granada, except Los Alcázares, which was used as a resupplying place for Murcia and a grazing area for cattle.
From the 16th to the 18th century, the settlement was reduced to a sheltering tower, erected around 1500 by the Council of Murcia, defended by a small garrison, and to a citadel built close to the ruins of the Roman villa; the citadel included a dozen of water tanks used to water the numerous cattle that overwintered in the local pastures. The short-lived (1613-1630) domain of Villa Morena, ruled by the Cartagena-based Bienvengud family, was established in the hinterland, encompassing the villages of Hoya Morena and El Ramí.

In the beginning of the 19th century, the old citadel was re-used as the place of the pilgrimage organized by the farmers from the hinterland, being described as "a place lacking in any neighbouring population". In the last decades of the century, José María Fontes Alemán, Marquis of Ordoño, set up plots in the La Cerca estate, which were offered to farmers according to the emphyteutic system, in local use for re-settling purpose since the Middle Ages. The place was shared between Roda (San Javier), Hoya Morena and Dolores (Torres Pacheco). San Javier eventually granted local autonomy to the place in 1925, which was not achieved by Torre Pacheco before years.

Los Alcázares boomed in the 20th century after the set up in 1915 of the first maritime airfield in Spain, with an hydroplane base (employing more than 100 workers), a School of Air Fighting and Bombing, and a civil yacht-club (El Aeropopular). Juan Ortiz, commander of the airfield, required the establishment of an autonomous municipality, which was achieved on 30 September 1936. The municipality was suppressed at the end of the Civil War, the status of Los Alcázares being downgraded to Submunicipal Entity.
The municipality of Los Alcázares was eventually re-established by Regional Decree No. 77 of 13 October 1983, separating from Torre-Pacheco and San Javier, being therefore the youngest municipality in the Region of Murcia.

Ivan Sache, 7 May 2015

Symbols of Los Alcázares

The flag of Los Alcázares (photo, photo, photo, photo, photo), approved on 8 July 1993 by the Municipal Council, is prescribed by Decree No. 121, adopted on 1 October 1993 by the Government of the Region of Murcia and published on 7 October 1993 in the official gazette of the Region of Murcia, No. 233, p. 8,123 (text).
The flag is described as follows:

Flag: Panel in proportions 2:3, horizontally divided in the middle, the upper stripe white and the lower stripe celestial blue. In the middle is placed the proper coat of arms of the town, as adopted by Decree No. 3 of 16 January 1986.

The coat of arms of Los Alcázares, approved on 20 December 1984 by the Municipal Council, is prescribed by Decree No. 3, adopted on 16 January 1986 by the Government of the Region of Murcia and published on 27 January 1986 in the official gazette of the Region of Murcia, No. 21, p. 291 (text).
The coat of arms is described as follows:

Coat of arms: Oblong shield, rounded-off in base and surmounted by a Royal crown closed. Per fess, 1. Gules three castles argent masoned sable placed 1 and 2, 2. Argent three waves azure. A bordure azure 11 water tanks or.

Ivan Sache, 7 May 2015

Los Alcázares Air Base Centenary flag


Los Alcázares Air Base Centenary flag - Image by Ivan Sache, 7 May 2015

Pedro Vives y Vich, Director of the Military Aviation, was commissioned in 1914 by the Minister of War to find the best suitable place to establish an hydroplane base. After having surveyed the whole Mediterranean coast, from Algeciras to Portbou, Vives proposed to set up the base in Los Alcázares, on the western bank of the the Mar Menor; the site had little natural obstacles, the sea was calm and shallow and the number of sunny days per year was high.
The building of the base started in May 1915, while the six Curtiss JN-2 hydroplanes were purchased in the USA in September; Albert J. Engel, pilot of the Curtiss company, completed the first probing flight in Los Alcázares in November. The first flight ever with a Spanish military hydroplane was performed in 12 December 1915 by Lieutenant Roberto White Santiago.
[Region of Murcia website]

The centenary of the Los Alcázares Air Base was celebrated in 2015. The flag of the event is white with the centenary's logo. The logo is a blue disk charged with a white hydroplane outlined in red, surmounted by the yellow years "1915" (smaller) and "2015" (larger) and a yellow eight-pointed star. The border of the disk is inscribed with "CENTENARIO DE LA HIDROAVIACIÓN MILITAR ESPAÑOLA" (top) and "LOS ALCÁZARES" (bottom), in white letters.
[Gaceta Cartagonova, 13 March 2015]

Ivan Sache, 7 May 2015