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Campo de Criptana (Municipality, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain)

Last modified: 2020-02-16 by ivan sache
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Flag of Campo de Criptana - Image by "Erlenmeyer", Wikimedia Commons, 10 May 2019

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Presentation of Campo de Criptana

The municipality of Campo de Criptana (13,597 inhabitants in 2018; 30,241 ha; municipal website) is located on the border with the Province of Toledo, 100 km north-east of Ciudad Real and 10 km east of Alcázar de San Juan.

Campo de Criptana results in the merging of the villages of Criptana and El Campo, ordered in 1328 by Santiago Vasco Rodrigues, Master of the Order of Saint John. The Order had been commissioned to re-settle the area in 1174 by Alfonso VIII. The castle of Critana was mentioned in 1097, when the Muslim king of Denia withdrew there after having defeated Alfonso VI at the battle of Consuegra.

Campo de Criptana is self-styled the Land of the Giants, as a reference to the wind mills mistaken for giants by Don Quixote in one of the most famous episodes of the adventures of the knight-errant (Part I, Chapter VIII).

> At this point they came in sight of thirty forty windmills that there are on plain, and as soon as Don Quixote saw them he said to his squire, "Fortune is arranging matters for us better than we could have shaped our desires ourselves, for look there, friend Sancho Panza, where thirty or more monstrous giants present themselves, all of whom I mean to engage in battle and slay, and with whose spoils we shall begin to make our fortunes; for this is righteous warfare, and it is God’s good service to sweep so evil a breed from off the face of the earth."
"What giants?" said Sancho Panza.
"Those thou seest there," answered his master, "with the long arms, and some have them nearly two leagues long."
"Look, your worship," said Sancho; "what we see there are not giants but windmills, and what seem to be their arms are the sails that turned by the wind make the millstone go."
"It is easy to see," replied Don Quixote, "that thou art not used to this business of adventures; those are giants; and if thou art afraid, away with thee out of this and betake thyself to prayer while I engage them in fierce and unequal combat.

Cervantes does not mention the geographical location of the scene of fighting; however, Philip II's Relaciones (1576), as well as the Census of the Marquess of La Ensenada (1753), records 34 windmills in Campo de Criptana, that is the highest number all over Castilla-La Mancha and more than in all the other places of the district. The place crowded with mills is known as the Sierra de los Molinos, the Mills' Mountain.

Ivan Sache, 10 May 2019

Symbols of Campo de Criptana

The flag of Campo de Criptana (photo, photo, photo, photo, photo), which does not seem to have been officially registered, is vertically divided blue with two white crescents placed vertically and red with a yellow castle surmounted by a yellow eight-pointed star.

The flag is a banner of the municipal arms, which do not seem to have been officially registered either: "Per pale, 1. Azure two crescents reverted argent in pale, 2. Gules a castle or masoned sable surmounted by an eight-pointed star or. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed.".
The Royal Academy of History approved the "rehabilitation" of these historical arms, since data "thoroughly presented by a professional heraldist" provide evidence of continuous use of these arms since the 17th century. The arms are superimposed to a cartouche and a Cross of the Order of Saint John, which the Academy considered as "improper".
[Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia 187:2, 398. 1980]

The arms, "of immemorial use", appear on a privilege granted by Philip III in 1609, kept in the Alonso Quijani library of the town, as reported by the scholar and former Mayor González Lara.
[Ramón José Maldonado y Cocat. 1973. Heráldica municipal de la provincia de Ciudad Real. Cuadernos de Estudios Manchegos 4, 84-109]

Ivan Sache, 10 May 2019