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Sovereign Military Order of Malta - Grand Masters Cotoner

Rafael Cotoner (1660-1663) and Nicolas Cotoner (1683-1680)

Last modified: 2013-06-25 by rob raeside
Keywords: sovereign and military order of malta | cotoner |
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image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 21 November 2008

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Description of flag

The two Grandmasters with the same name were Rafael Cotoner (1660-1663) and Nicolas Cotoner (1683-1680). As far as I know they were brothers. I do not know, which one it was, but that doesn't really matter, for both Grandmasters had the same coat of arms and therefore the same flag.

Flag of Grandmaster Rafael de Cotoner y de Oleza (1660-1663)
It is a quarterly divided rectangular flag. The 1st and 4th quarter are showing the white Greek cross in a red field of the Order of St. John. The 2nd and 3rd quarter are showing the personal arms of the grandmaster. In a golden (= yellow) field is a cotton bush in natural colour, i.e. green with white blossoms.
Source: I spotted an image of this flag in Malta National Maritime Museum on 2 October 2008.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 21 November 2008

According to
"Grand Master Raphael Cotoner was a prudent and a religious man. He commissioned the celebrated Mattia Preti to paint the vault of St John's but he was not destined to see the magnificent pictures of this genius who in 13 years turned the conventional church into a gem of art. "Nicholas Cotoner was quite a different character. He was stubborn, impetuous and quick-tempered. He took great interest not only in St John's but also improved the Sacra Infermeria and built vast fortifications which still bear his name. During the reign of the Cotoner brothers, Valletta became a gay city, a centre of continuous feasting, and its Carnival outlived those of Rome and Venice. They were both great builders and their escutcheon is over the facades of most palaces, churches and fortifications in Valletta and other parts of the island. However, St John remains their greatest contribution which they both loved and beautified. Theirs was a period of prosperity in the islands but their mania for building and extravagant tastes was a drain on the Treasury."
Santiago Dotor, 16 March 2006