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Cisneros (Municipality, Castilla y León, Spain)

Last modified: 2019-01-13 by ivan sache
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Flag of Cisneros - Image by "Valdavia" (Wikimedia Commons), 13 March 2011

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Presentation of Cisneros

The municipality of Cisneros (504 inhabitants in 2010; 6,329 ha) is located 40 km from Palencia.

Cisneros was probably named for the popular Latin word cinista, "ashes", rather than for cisne, "a swan". The village was mentioned for the first time in 946 in the archives of the Sahagún monastery, as Cinisarios; in the 11th century, the form Ciniseros was also used, confirming that the village was resettled on the old ashes of a previously burned down village.

The famous Cardinal Cisneros (Juan Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros, 1436-1517) is locally said to have been born in Cisneros, although he was actually born in Torrelaguna (Castile-La Manca). However, the Venezuelan historian Álvaro García Castro recently discovered a document dated 1595 that seems to support Cisneros as the birth place of the cardinal.
Appointed in 1492 her confessor by Queen Isabel, the Franciscan friar Cisneros played a key role in the religious, political and cultural life of Castile, as the Archbishop of Toledo (1495-1517) and the Grand Inquisitor of Spain (1507-1517), the President of the Regency Council of Castile (1506-1507), the Governor of the Kingdom of Castile (1516-1517), and the founder in 1499, with his own funds, of the University of Alcalá (as "Universidad Cisneriana Computense").

Ivan Sache, 13 March 2011

Symbols of Cisneros

The flag and arms of Cisneros are prescribed by a Decree adopted on 29 June 2000 by the Municipal Council, signed on 20 July 2000 by the Mayor, and published on 28 December 2000 in the official gazette of Castilla y León, No. 249, pp. 16,368-16,369 (text).
The symbols, which were designed by Instituto Borbone de Heraldica Municipal, are described as follows:

Flag: Quadrangular flag with proportions 1:1, divided into four equal quarters. On top, at hoist red, at fly yellow; on bottom, at hoist yellow, at fly red. In the middle is placed the crowned municipal coat of arms of Cisneros.
Coat of arms: Per fess, 1. Azure two swans [cisnes] argent affronty on waves argent and azure, 2. Checky fifteen pieces eight or seven gules. The shield surmounted with a Royal Spanish crown or.

The Decree further details the symbols' adoption process. Aware that the arms in use had not been officially registered and were not heraldically correct, the Municipal Council commissioned the Instituto Borbone de Heraldica Municipal, which presented two proposals for the coat of arms. In the first round of discussion, three councillors voted for proposal No. 1 and another three for proposal No. 2; after a second round of discussion, García Hurtado and Francisco Paredes voted for proposal No. 1, while Andrés Frechoso, Rodríguez Toledo, Rodríguez Negro and Emiliano Paredes (Mayor) voted for proposal No. 2, which was eventually adopted, together with the matching flag.

The checky lower field of the arms and the quartered background of the flag recall the arms of the lords of Cisneros ("Checky fifteen pieces eight or seven gules"), used by Cardinal Cisneros, for instance on a flag hoisted during the seizure of Oran (1509).

The Royal Academy of History found the proposed symbols "fully acceptable". The Academy repeats the official description, without further comment.
[Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia, 2002, 199, 2: 291]

A previous proposal was harshly rejected by the Academy, which stated that the proposed arms, of modern origin, most probably the early 20th century, "totally lack historical support". The Academy considered that a village that is the namesake of a famous lineage should recall it in its own arms, here "checky or and gules" for the Cisneros, jointly with a proper emblem of the place, for example a swan (cisne), the two charges being placed on a shield divided per pale.
[Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia, 2002, 199, 1: 145]

Ivan Sache, 16 February 2015