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Customs Flags 1791-1867 (Spain)

Royal Treasury, Real Hacienda

Last modified: 2006-03-11 by santiago dotor
Keywords: customs | treasury | hacienda | real hacienda | hn | rh | hh | coat of arms: quartered (castle: yellow) | coat of arms: quartered (lion: red) | crown: royal | caduceus (blue) | coat of arms: quartered (pallets: red) | coat o |
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Customs Ensign 1791-1867

[Customs Ensign 1791-1867 (Spain)] 2:3
N.B. the two crowns over the R and H letters should be dark blue not multicoloured
image by Jaume Ollé
Flag adopted 1791, abolished 13 March 1867

The first customs (actually Hacienda or Treasury) ensign, showing crowned letters R and H, was adopted by Royal Decree of 2 August 1791 and confirmed by the Naval Ordinance of 8 March 1793. The same text of the 1793 Ordinance appears in the Naval Ordinance of 18 September 1802. The 1791, 1793 and 1802 texts do not specify the colour of the crowns, but a Spanish 1801 chart and the 1819 French Navy album show both the R and N letters as well as the crowns in blue. These were not official sources, and there is the possibility they were based on mistaken sources, so we cannot be fully sure what the crowns looked like (blue or gold with red caps).

From 1830 to 1850, variants of the customs ensign were used, which I have sources of, such as the war ensign —thus with the escutcheon per pale and offset to the hoist— with lowercase "r" and "h" in black and without crowns, used at El Ferrol 1831.

Emil Dreyer [dry], translated by Santiago Dotor, 25 February 2006

Unofficial flag variant ca.1842-1858

[Customs Ensign, unofficial flag variant ca.1842-1858 (Spain)] 2:3
image by Jaume Ollé, modified by Santiago Dotor, 6 March 2006

The Royal Decree of 11 November 1842 militarised the Treasury service, and the Caribineros del Reino took control of its institutions and ships. It was at that time when ensigns with black, crownless H and N started to be seen, but with no official approval. The beautiful 1854 flag chart [described in Dreyer 1999a [dry99a]] shows this flag.

An ensign with blue H and N letters and crowns, as previously shown in FotW, never existed.

The said chart did show the ensign [with black, uncrowned letters] only because it was usually seen like that, but naval authorities constantly fought for the one with blue, crowned R and H to be used (cf. the correspondence in the manuscripts archive, Naval Museum Library, Madrid: Ms. 1441, doc. 26, fol. 84-95; and Ms. 1338, fol. 194-231). This argument went on until 1858, when the Queen Regent was forced to take part and order the use of the flag with blue, crowned R and H.

Emil Dreyer [dry], translated by Santiago Dotor, 25 February 2006

Customs Ensign 1867-1931

[Customs Ensign 1867-1931 (Spain)] 2:3
by Jaume Ollé
Flag adopted 13 March 1867, abolished 14 April 1931

Used until the Second Spanish Republic. See also the current Customs Police Ensign.

Santiago Dotor, 5 July 1999

The Naval Ordinance of 13 March 1867 introduced the Treasury flag with blue H and H and crowns "proper" [i.e. in full colour].

Emil Dreyer [dry], translated by Santiago Dotor, 25 February 2006

Flag for Land Customs Buildings 1908-ca.1931

[Flag for Land Customs Buildings 1908-ca.1931 (Spain)] 2:3
N.B. the two customs emblems (crowned caduceus and branches) should be dark blue not multicoloured
image by Jaume Ollé

This flag was adopted in 1908 (published in Gaceta de Madrid, the former official bulletin, 2nd September 1908) and was not an ensign but a flag to be used on land, more precisely on the buildings of land customs offices. The customs emblem —a caduceus between a palmtree branch and an oak branch, under a Spanish royal crown— was dark blue [i.e. not multicoloured]. The escutcheon showed the four quarters of Castille, Leon, Aragon and Navarre.

Luis Miguel Arias, translated by Santiago Dotor, 7 March 2006