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Mazarrón (Municipality, Region of Murcia, Spain)

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

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Presentation of Mazarrón

The municipality of Mazarrón (32,718 inhabitants in 2014; 31,870 ha; tourism website) is located on the central coast of the Region of Murcia, 75 km of Murcia. The main settlements of the municipality are the towns of Mazarrón (12,736 inh.), Puerto de Mazarrón (10,907 inh.) and El Saladillo (53975 inh.).

Mazarrón was probably established as a Phoenician counter, conveniently located between Ebusus (Ibiza) and Gañir (Cádiz). The two oldest Phoenician vessels (7th century BC) ever found in the Mediterranean Sea were discovered off the port. "Mazarrón 1" was retrieved in 1993-1995, while "Mazarrón 2" was retrieved in 1999-2000, with a full load of lead ingots (see Ana I. Miñano Domínguez, El Barco 2 de Mazarrón).
The Roman colonization was achieved in the 2nd-1st century BC; the Romans exploited lead mines in San Cristóbal, Perules, Coto Fortuna and Pedreras Viejas, as well as furnaces and forges, for instance in Loma de las Herrerías. In the 1st century, workshops producing garum, a spicy fish product highly prized at the time, were established in El Mojón, La Azohía, El Castellar and Puerto de Mazarrón.

After the Christian reconquest of the Kingdom of Murcia in 1243, Mazarrón was incorporated to Lorca. The place remained unsafe and sparsely populated until the fall of the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada in 1492. The discovery in the 15th century of alum, a natural sulphate of aluminium and potassium used in the textile industry to fix colours, in the production of glass and in medicine, boosted the development of the place; a first group of dwellings was soon known as Casas de los Alumbres de Almazarrón (The Houses of Almazarrón Alums).
In 1432, King Henry IV granted the exploitation of alum mines to Juan Pacheco, Marquis of Villena, who shared his privilege with Pedro Fajardo, Adelantado Mayor of the Kingdom of Murcia and Marquis de los Vélez. The organization of the production caused the establishment of a permanent settlement, which was granted in 1572 the title of villa by Philip II, separating from Lorca. The alum boom ended at the end of the 16th century, because of the competition with Italian mines, excessive tax and conflicts with Flanders and England.
Mining resumed in Mazarrón at the end of the 19th century, with the extraction of iron ore and argentiferous galenite. The Santa Elisa foundry, one of the most modern in Spain, was established by Compañía de Águila. Stopped in the middle of the 20th century, mining was progressively replaced by intensive agriculture, especially the cultivation of winter tomatoes, and tourism.

Ivan Sache, 7 May 2015

Flag of Mazarrón

The flag of Mazarrón is prescribed by a Decree adopted on 27 April 1999 by the Municipal Council, signed on 12 May 1999 by the Mayor, and published on 26 June 1999 in the official gazette of the Region of Murcia, No. 145, p. 7,871 (text). The flag does not appear to have been validated by the Government of the Region of Murcia.
The flag is not described in the Decree.

The flag (photo, photo, photo, photo) is white with a red cross surrounded on both sides by the Royal arms of King Philip II.

Philip II established on 25 November 1567 a militia aimed at serving on galleys protecting the coast of the kingdom against pirates' raids. Each municipality had its own militia and galley, which could embark 50 men and a captain. The soldiers should be harquebusiers or riflemen, aged between 20 and 50; the captain could be older. The galleys sailed in summer time; the militiamen were paid two ducats per month, were fed, and received a part of the eventual booty. The captain was paid six ducats per month. In wintertime, the galleys were moored and the militiamen returned to their regular job, being still paid one ducate per month, three for the captain. The militiamen could not leave without permission and had to keep their weapons ready. The state of the weapons and the number of available soldiers were regularly reviewed. Philip II's order stated that a group of men embarking on a galley should raise a flag and beat a drum.
Accordingly, the Council of Mazarrón ordered on 30 December 1567 the purchase of "a coloured taffeta flag and a drum to call the militia serving His Majesty. The flag shall feature a coloured cross on a white field and, on both sides, the arms of His Majesty". The fabric costed 187 reales, while the ounce of silk required for embroidering coasted another 5 reales. The embroidery work coasted 2.5 ducats. with the addition of 1 real and 6 maravedis for the candles. The staff coasted 5 reales. The whole production of the flag amounted to 226 reales.
Once manufactured, the flag was raised by the Council and blessed in the church of the Purísima, where a mass was celebrated. The flag was then hoisted at a window of the Town Hall, so that everyone can see it, while the drum was beaten.
The protocol was re-enacted in December 1995.
[Municipal website]

The arms of Philip II are:

Quarterly, 1. Quarterly, a. and d. Gules a castle or port and windows azure (Castile), b. and c. A lion rampant gules crowned or (León), 2. Per pale, a. Or four pallets gules (Aragón), b. Quarterly per saltire or four pallet gules and argent an eagle sable armed and beaked gules (Sicily), 3. Per fess, a. Gules a fess argent (Austria), b. Azure three bends or a bordure gules (Burgundy ancient), 4. Per fess, a. Azure semé of fleurs-de-lis or a bordure compony gules and argent (Burgundy modern), b. Or a lion rampant sable (Flanders). Grafted in heart argent a pomegranate proper (Granda). In base inescutcheon per pale or a lion rampant sable (Brabant) argent an eagle gules (Tirol). The shield surmounted by a Royal crown and surrounded by the Collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece.

The inescutcheon of Portugal, usually placed in chief, is here omitted since Philip II would be King of Portugal in 1580 only, while the flag was adopted in 1567.

Ivan Sache, 7 May 2015