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Quilmes District (Buenos Aires Province, Argentina)

Partido de Quilmes

Last modified: 2018-10-12 by francisco gregoric
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[Flag of Quilmes]
by Ivan Sache, 28 May 2017 See also:

About the district

The municipality of Quilmes (582,943 inhabitants in 2010, therefore the 5th most populous municipality in the province; 125 sq. km) is located 20 km south-east of Buenos Aires City. The municipality, part of Greater Buenos Aires, is made of the towns of Quilmes (est. on 2 August 1916; 230,810 inh., capital), Don Bosco (est. on 4 April 1929; 20,876 inh.), Bernal (est. in 1878 on a plot offered by Felix Bernal; 109,914 inh.), Ezpeleta (est. on 30 August 1973 and named for Lieutenant Colonel Severo Ezpeleta; 72,557 inh.), San Francisco Solano (est. on 23 September 1949 and named for a convent dedicated to St. Francis Solanus; 53,363 inh.), and Villa La Florida (31,268 inh.).

Quilmes is named for the Kilmes natives, who lived in the Calchaquí valleys, part of an old Inca province - today, part of the Province of Tucumán. Ending more than 100 years of resistance to Spanish colonization, the Governor of Tucumán, Mercado y Villacorta, invaded the valleys in 1665; decimated by starvation and isolation, the natives moved from their villages to the valleys, where they were defeated. The natives had to leave the area and moved 1,000 km away, to the shore of River Plate. Two hundred families established in 1666 the Santa Cruz reduction, south of El Riachuelo. A village emerged around the chapel, which soon welcomed settlers of local origin.

The area was divided in 1780 in three parts: Quilmes (including the modern-day Avellaneda, Lomas de Zamora, Florencio Varela, Berazategui, and La Plata), Magdalena, and San Vicente. The parish of Quilmes was transformed in 1784 into the district of Quilmes, divided into six quarters. The coast near Quilmes was the main site of landing of troops heading to Buenos Aires during the two English invasions (June 1806 - June 1807).

After the suppression of the reduction, the area was progressively urbanized. Inhabitants from Buenos Aires erected vacation houses, while traders and smugglers formed another component of the population, originating in the establishment of big estates. The population steadily increased after the building of a school (1827) and a church (1828).

The territory of Quilmes was dramatically reduced after the separation of Barracas al Sur (1852; today, Avellaneda), Lomas de Zamora (1861), Almirante Brown (1873), Florencio Varela (1891), and Berazategui (1960). Quilmes was granted the status of "ciudad" by Provincial Law No. 3,627, proclaimed on 2 August 1916.

The Quilmes brewery (Cervecería y Maltería Quilmes) was established in 1888 by Otto Bemberg (1827-1896), a German who had emigrated to Argentina in 1852, as Cervecería Argentina (Argentine Brewery). Production started on 31 October 1890. The company thrived in the first quarter of the 20th century; in 1925, it owned nine factories in the Buenos Aires, Santa Fe, Entre Ríos, and Córdoba provinces. in Quilmes, the brewery followed the model of paternalistic capitalism, contributing to the establishment of the Volunteer Fire Brigade (1911), of the hospital (1919), and of water supply (1931). The company inaugurated in 1938 a brand new factory in Villa Florida, together with a worker's estate covering 50 ha. New factories were established in Corrientes (1988), Zárate (1992), and Tres Arroyos (1994). To gain the international market, Quilmes initiated in 2002 a partnership with Ambev; the brewery is now fully controlled by AB InBev (Anheuser-Busch InBev).

The Quilmes brewery employs 5,000 workers in 11 breweries, a malt house, and nine distribution centers; beer is also sold by 192 independent resellers.

Ivan Sache 28 May 2017

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Description of the flag

The flag of Quilmes was unveiled on 14 August 2014, the 248th anniversary of the foundation of the town. The flag was selected among five designs - four submissions selected by a jury and a fifth design elaborated more than a decade ago by a group of traditionalists. A sixth proposal, designed by Claudio Schbib (b. 1959), commander of the Volunteer Fire Brigade, assisted by representatives of social institutions and cultural centers, intellectuals and historians, was eventually withdrawn by the designer, who argued that the other proposals were representative enough.

The flag was selected by 80,498 children and teenagers from 150 public and private schools of Quilmes. The winning design received 26,852 votes, while the runner-ups received 14,973, 14,620, 14,419 and 9,904 votes, respectively.

The winning design was proposed by Sandra Soberón (6th grade class, Colegio del Niño Jesús, Bernal).

The flag was explained by Alejandra Boschini, Municipal Chief of Education, as follows:

"The flag is divided into two parts, the lower, blue, representing River Plate, and the upper, celestial blue, representing the heavens and recalling the national flag. In the center is placed a big letter 'Q', for Quilmes, surrounded by a sun symbolizing future. The inner disk is vertically divided into two parts, each referring to salient historical facts. At the viewer's left, half the face of a Quilmes native, recalling the town's namesake and origin, with a celestial blue eye, emphasizing the migratory input that nourished a deeply mixed culture and tradition. At the viewer's right, the frigate '25 de Mayo", which was involved in the battle fought by Admiral Guillermo Brown against the Brazilian Empire off the coast of Quilmes*, represented as it is on the municipal coat of arms.

The flag was inaugurated on 8 October 2015 in the Centenary Stadium of Quilmes Atlético Club.

The flag in actual use is best seen on this photo, for the sake of comparison. [There are some] "manufacturer's licenses":

  • The outer parts of the eye are shown in orange instead of white;
  • More sun rays are represented, irregularly spread and drawn in a more sinuous pattern;
  • The black wavy line is less regular and shows only one wave on the left and right of the sun.
*Guillermo Brown (1777-1857), the namesake of the municipality of Almirante Brown, was the first Admiral of the young Argentine Navy. Of Irish descent and raised in the US, Brown settled to Buenos Aires in 1814, as the owner of the frigate "Jane". A direct witness of the May Revolution, Brown took the party of the government of Buenos Aires against the colonial authorities. A brilliant strategist, Brown defeated the Spanish navy, preparing the seizure of Montevideo (23 June 1814).

On 10 December 1825, the Brazilian Empire declared war to the United Provinces of Río de la Plata. Colonel Mayor Guillermo Brown was commissioned on 12 January 1826 to organize the naval forces of the United Provinces, reduced to two brigs, "General Balcarce" and "General Belgrano", and an old gunboat, "Correntina". Brown soon increased the fleet by acquiring another 12 gunboats, two brigs ("Congreso Nacional" and 'República Argentina"), two schooner ("Sarandí" and "Pepa") and the frigate "25 de Mayo", which he made his flagship.

On 10 June 1826, a Brazilian fleet composed of 31 vessels sailed to Buenos Aires. Brown, however, could manage only four vessels and seven gunboats. The battle of Quilmes was fought on 30 July; the "25 de Mayo", commanded by Colonel Tomás Espora, and the schooner "Río de la Plata", commanded by Rosales, forced 20 Brazilian vessels to withdraw and lift the blockade of Buenos Aires. In February 1827,

Brown then retired from public life and was not involved in the struggle between the Unitarians and the Federalists. He came back to active service in 838, defeating the English fleet that blocked Montevideo. On 15 August 1842, he defeated another fleet commanded by Guiseppe Garibaldi, in the service of Fructuoso Rivera, the main opponent to Juan Manuel Rosas, Governor of Buenos Aires. After Rosas' fall, the new government maintained Brown in office "as a token for his old and loyal commitment to Argentine Republic in the most solemn episodes of his career".

Ivan Sache, 28 May 2017

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