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Cortegana (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2014-03-23 by ivan sache
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Presentation of Cortegana

The municipality of Cortegana (5,026 inhabitants in 2008; 17,400 ha; municipal website) is located 120 km north of Huelva. The town, watched by the ruins of a big castle (website), is a main center of production of cork and mountain ham.

The origin of the castle of Cortegana is unknown because of the lack of written sources and archeological investigations. According to an oral legend reported by Juan de Ledesma in 1633 and, again, by Rodrigo Caro in 1634, the castle was built by the knight Pedro Domingo, who had been banned from the Royal court after having upset a higher lord. The first governor of the castle, Domingo defended it against the Portuguese, then threatening Castile, which allowed him to return back to the Court with great honours, therefore "winnning the Court", corte ganó. Pedro Domingo is indeed an historic character, listed by Caro as granted a few houses during the share of the Moorish goods in Seville in 1252; Ledesma adds he was born in Ciudad Rodrigo. However, there is no evidence that Domingo ever built the castle of Cortegana, not to add that Cortegana was already mentioned by Ptolemy, as Corticata. In 1293, King of Castile Sancho IV allowed the town of Seville to build several castles in the neighborhood, but Cortegana was not listed among them. It is therefore possible that the castle already existed at the time. There is also no mention of the castle in Moorish sources, but there was probably a small alcázar here.
Cortegana was mentioned for the first time on the charter sharing Seville, signed by Alfonso X in 1253; the wording is ambiguous and Cortegana can be read as a the name of a place, of a town or of a castle; at least, the place was already significant at the time. The castle, mentioned in Alfonso XI's ordinance granted to the Council of Seville in 1344, was subsequently used to watch the north-western border of Castile during the wars againt Portugal.

Ivan Sache, 31 July 2009

Symbols of Cortegana

The flag and arms of Cortegana, adopted on 30 September 2004 by the Municipal Council, and submitted on 7 October 2004 to the Directorate General of the Local Administration, are prescribed by a Decree adopted on 27 October 2004 by the Directorate General of the Local Administration and published on 8 November 2004 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 217, p. 25,829 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular flag, in proportions 11:18. Ochre panel with blue openwork. Centered, the local coat of arms.
Coat of arms: Shield in Spanish shape. Azure a castle proper masoned sable port and windows of the same, surmounted by a sun or, in base five waves argent. The shield surmounted with a Royal crown closed.

The coat of arms features the castle that dominates the municipality. The waves and the sun, recorded on the arms since the 18th and 19th century, respectively, are of unknown origin.
[Símbolos de las Entidades Locales de Andalucía. Huelva (PDF file)]

Ivan Sache, 31 July 2009