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Cartagena (Municipality, Region of Murcia, Spain)

Last modified: 2020-04-05 by ivan sache
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Flag of Cartagena - Image by Ivan Sache, 3 May 2015

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Presentation of Cartagena

The municipality of Cartagena (216,451 inhabitants in 2014; 55,808 ha; municipal website) is located in the south of the Region of Murcia, 50 km of Murcia. The town is the seat of the Regional Assembly of the Region of Murcia.

Cartagena was founded in 227 BC by the Carthaginian general Hasdrubal the Fair (c. 270-221 BC), as Qart Hadasht, on a small peninsula bordered by the sea and by the Almarjal lagoon, therefore easy to defend. The Carthaginians, however, were soon expelled from the town by Publius Cornelius Scipio (d. 211) in 209 BC, during the 2nd Punic War. The Roman town peaked between the 3rd century BC and the 2nd century; in 44, the town was granted the status of colony, being renamed Colonia Urbs Iulia Nova Carthago.
Part of the Visigothic domain, Cartagena was seized in 555 by the troops of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian in his attempt to reconquer the former Western Roman Empire; Cartagena became the capital of the Hispania province, which spread from the town to Málaga. Seized back by the Visigoths, Cartagena was ruined in the beginning of the 7th century and fell into oblivion.
Prince Alfonso - subsequently, King Alfonso X the Wise - took over the town from the Moors in 1245 and re-established the bishopric of Cartagena. This did not prevent the town to decline until the economical boom experienced by Spain in the 16th century, and to decline again in the 17th century, the economical crisis being aggravated by the 1648 black plague epidemic.

Cartagena re-emerged in 1726, when made the capital of the Maritime Department of the Mediterranean Sea. The building of the arsenal and the fortification of the town generated a huge commercial and economical activity; the population of the town swiftly increased from 10,000 to 50,000 inhabitants.
After another period of decadence in the beginning of the 19th century, Cartagena experienced another boom due to mining industry. The town was severely damaged after the proclamation of the Cartagena Canton on 12 July 1873, as the revival of the old Kingdom of Murcia. Emancipated from the Spanish Republic, the Cartagena Canton would be the first step towards a Spanish federal state. Approached by the separatists, the US government declined the offer to establish an "American Gibraltar" in Cartagena. The Cartagena Canton was suppressed on 13 January 1874 after the victorious assault of the town by the governmental troops.
During the Civil War, Cartagena was a Republican stronghold, being with Alicante the last town to be seized by General Franco.

The Cartagena fortifications - watching towers, coastal batteries, fortifications and other military buildings - built from the 15th to the 18th century, were registered as a Cultural Monument by the Law on Historical Heritage, adopted in 1985.

Ivan Sache, 3 May 2015

Symbols of Cartagena

The flag of Cartagena is crimson red - aka Cartagena red - with the municipal coat of arms in the middle.

The coat of arms of Cartagena was designed in 1929 by the archivist and chronicler Federico Casal Martínez, who described it in the conference El escudo de armas de la muy noble y muy leal ciudad de Cartagena (The coat of arms of the very noble and very loyal town of Cartagena), as follows:

The coat of arms of the town is made of a castle or, with three crenelated towers, the central one slightly higher, with port and windows gules. The fortress is placed on a background azure, standing on rocks of stone colour beaten by the waves azure of the sea. The bordure is made of eight pieces: four pieces are charged with a castle or on a filed gules and another four pieces are charged with a lion rampant gules on a field argent. The shield is surmounted by a mural crown.

The oldest documented arms of Cartagena are featured on the document stating the victory of Cartagena over Murcia for the possession of the Campo Nubla. Dated 1532, the arms are made of a blue shield with a yellow castle on blue and white waves, placed on a yellow disk surrounded by a blue ring inscribed "ESTE ES EL CASTILLO DE CARTAGENA (This is the Castle of Cartagena).
The old St. Francis fountain, located near the convent of the same name (18th century), bore the same kind of arms - today exhibited in the Municipal Archeological Museum. Here the castle has a single tower and stands on rocks beaten by the sea.
All along the 19th century and until the adoption of the modern coat of arms, the municipality used an oval shield surmounted by a Marquis' coronet. Such a coat of arms can be seen on a door inside the Town Hall.
[Municipal website]

Federico Casal (1867-1955; biography) was appointed Official Chronicler of the town of Cartagena in 1912 and Archivist-Librarian of the municipality in 1922; he was awarded in 1925 the title of "Preferred Son of the Town".
Casal was also spokesman of the General Corps of Official Chroniclers in Spain, member of the Royal Academy "Alfonso X the Wise" in Murcia and corresponding member of the Royal Academy of History. He published in 1930 his masterpiece, Historia de las calles de Cartagena (History of the Streets of Cartagena), including a topographic study supported by a hundred of photos and plans.

Ivan Sache, 3 May 2015

Sports flags

Fútbol Club Cartagena


Flag of FCC - Image by Ivan Sache, 13 March 2020

Fútbol Club Cartagena (locally known as Efesé; website) was founded in 1995 by Florentino Manzano, as Cartagonova Fútbol Club. In 1997-1998, the club won Group 13 of the Third Division and advanced to the Second Division B after a play-off won against Tortosa (8-0).
In 2002, the club was taken over by Luis Oliver, who promised a lot but achieved nothing but eventually ruining the club. About to wind up because of its astronomical debt, the club was saved by a local platform led by Francisco Gómez Hernández.

Renamed to Fútbol Club Cartagena, the club won in 2005-2006 Group IV of Second Division B, but was defeated in play-off by Vecindario. The club eventually advanced to the Second Division (the lowest-rank professional league) in 2009, defeating in play-off Club Deportivo Alcoyano (2-1; 2-2).The club was relegated to the 2nd Division B in 2012.
Fútbol Club Cartagena achieved in 2013-2104 its best performance in Copa del Rey (Spanish Cup), defeating Guadalajara, Huesca and Tudelano, being eventually eliminated by the great FC Barcelona.

The flag of Efesé (photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo) is black with three horizontal white stripes and the club's emblem in the center.

The club's emblem features in chief the white cross on red taken from the flag of the Maritime Province of Cartagena, charged in the center with a tower borrowed from the municipal coat of arms. The vertical black and white stripes recall the player's traditional livery.

In base is represented the submarine designed by the Cartagena-born engineer Isaac Peral (1851-1895).
Peral studied at the San Carlos Military College in San Fernando and enrolled, aged 16, in the Spanish Navy. He was awarded the Cross of Naval Merit for his heroism during the suppression of the Cuba insurrection in 1872. After the Third Carlist War, he was appointed instructor in 1875 on the frigates Blanca and Numancia. Appointed Lieutenant in 1880, he made his last voyage to the Philippines as a cartographer and hydrographer. An careless barber severely injured him, which forced him to return to Spain in 1882, suffering from a brain tumor generated by the injury. He then served as a Professor of Physic and Chemistry at the San Fernando Observatory.

A specialist in electric accumulators, Peral designed on his own a prototype of military submarine. After the incursion of the German man-of-war Iltis in the Carolina Islands in 1885, Peral forwarded his plans to Admiral Penezuela, Ministry of the Navy, who supported him. The submarine was inaugurated on 8 September 1888 in the Carraco Arsenal (Cádiz). Peral's invention was not the first submarine ever but the first propelled by electricity and able to shoot torpedoes; it also includes several technical innovations, such as the regeneration of air inside the submarine via an electric engine.
Peral's submarine would have been the most powerful war weapon of the time. Unfortunately, the subsequent Ministries of Navy bashed the inventor and the project was declared definitively abandoned by the Council of the Navy in September 1890. The submarine was abandoned and dismembered in the Carroca Arsenal, to be eventually retrieved in 1929 by the town of Cartagena for public exposition.
Peral resigned from the Navy in 1891 and sought civil applications of electric energy. He found the Centro Industrial y de Consultas Electro-Mecánicas, subsequently renamed in 1893 to Electra Peral-Zaragozana. Peral invented an electric lift and designed the prototype of the electric machine gun. He also established power plants in several places in Spain and abroad.
[Región de Murcia Digital]


Flag of FCC's supporters - Image by Ivan Sache, 13 March 2020

The club's supporters use a red flag with a white cross and the black letter "CT" in the center (photo).

Ivan Sache, 13 March 2020

Real Club de Regatas de Cartagena


Burgee of Real Club de Cartagena, as reported by Carlos Valverde - Image by Eugene Ipavec, 24 June 2003