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Corduente (Municipality, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain)

Last modified: 2020-02-12 by ivan sache
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Flag of Corduente - Image by "Asqueladd", Wikimedia Commons, 6 September 2019

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Presentation of Corduente

The municipality of Corduente (345 inhabitants in 2018; 23,292 ha) is located 140 km east of Guadalajara and 10 km west of Molina de Aragón. The municipality is composed of the villages of Corduente, Aragoncillo (39 inh.), Canales de Molina (18 inh.), Cuevas Labradas (15 inh.), Lebrancón (14 inh.), Teroleja (11 inh.), Terraza (2 inh.), Torete (11 inh.), Valsalobre (5 inh.), and Ventosa (24 inh.).

Argoncillo is the site of one the world's oldest petrified forest, made of silicified roots, stumps and trunks of conifers that live there 280 million year ago (Permian). They represent the unique petrified trees found in Europe still rooted. The trees, scattered over an area of 24 ha, were coated by the very acid magma expelled by violent vulcanic eruptions; accordingly, the wood vessels were quickly replaced by silicon dioxide, providing a pefect fossilization that preserved cells and their organization.
Afterwards, the area was covered by sediments of 2,000-3,000 m in thickness. The surrection of the Pyrenees and the Central System progressively brought back the trees to the surface. Several trunks are yet to be excavated from this "paleobotanical Pompei", so nicknamed by the Geologists Alfonso Sopeña and Yolanda Sánchez Moya, from Complutense University of Madrid.
[El Pais Semanal, 6 September 1998]

Ivan Sache, 6 September 2019

Symbols of Corduente

The flag of Corduente is prescribed by an Order issued on 25 May 2005 by the Government of Castilla-La Mancha and published on 10 June 2005 in the official gazette of Castilla-La Mancha, No. 116, p. 11,867 (text).
The flag is described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular panel, in proportions 2:3. Composed of five horizontal stripes in proportional widths 4:1:4:1:4, green, white, blue, white, and green, with a vertical stripe placed along the hoist, of 1/4 the flag's length, red with a white bomb.

The coat of arms of Corduente is prescribed by an Order issued on 25 May 2005 by the Government of Castilla-La Mancha and published on 10 June 2005 in the official gazette of Castilla-La Mancha, No. 116, p. 11,867 (text).
The coat of arms is described as follows:

Coat of arms: Per fess, 1. Gules three artillery bombs argent in fess, 2. Azure in base wavy chaussé vert. A bordure gules eight saltires or. The shield surmounted by a Royal Spanish crown.

The Royal Academy of History validated the proposed symbols, deemed "fully acceptable". The bombs recall an old ammunition factory while the second quarter of the arms represents the gorge of river Gallo.
[Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia 202:2,314. 2005]

In the first half of the 17th century, King Philip IV ordered the building of ammunition factories to supply his armies involved in war against France. The king hired an engineer from Luxembourg, Jorge de Bande, to establish two big smelting furnaces in Santander and to find other places in the kingdom suitable for the building new factories. The engineer selected the region of Molina de Aragón, where iron ore was extracted from the Sierra Menera close to the villages of Setiles and Tordesilos; the numerous rivers and brooks could prvide water, while the region was covered at the time with oaks and holy oaks, which would provide wood.
Bande's proposal was approved in 1639 by the Junta de Ejecución, presided by the Count-Duke of Olivares. The factory was established close to an old forge owned by Pedro Garcés de Marcilla, located between the villages of Corduente and Ventosa, close to the right bank of river Gallo. The next year, quarrymen, carpenters and engineers from Santander came to Corduente; preliminary studies indicated that the four iron mines from the Sierra Menera could produce 2,000 t of raw material to be transformed into 300 t iron ore. Mules and horses each able to transport 90 kg could be used to ship the ore from the mines to Corduente (35 km). Pine woods purchased by the crown in Orea and the woods surrounding Corduena were estimated to potentially produce enough charcoal for at least 50 years: 250 ha of woods were required to produce 100 t of cast iron.

It took only six months to eret the factory and a small canal connected to brook Molinillo. The smelting furnace was composed of a conic, red tower of nearly 9 m in height.
The Corduente Royal Manufacture of Ammunition was the 5th smelting furnace ever built in Spain, being the first established far from the sea. Inaugurated in 1641, it produced mostly artillery ammunition; the first cast was performed on 13 July 1642.
The set up of the factory boosted the development of the region, attracting several workers. To highlight the strategic significnce of the place, Philip IV set up the Court in Molina from 29 June to 21 July 1642. During that period, an attempt of murder ws committed againt the Count-Duke of Olivares near the Roman bridge, while the king himself unexpectedly showed up in different villages and paid a visit to the factory.

Ammunition was transported from Corduena to the battle fields by carts driven by muleteers mostly coming from the village of Alustante.
The Corduena factory was operated until 1694, when a factory equipped with modern machinery was established by German experts in the Pyrenees. Technically obsolete and lacking funds, the Corduena factory declined and was soon closed. Ironically, the old forge owned by Garcés de Marcilla survived.
[Hablamos de la Fábrica de Armas de Corduente. (Los quintos Altos hornos del país), 26 December 2018]

Ivan Sache, 6 September 2019