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Funchal Municipality (Portugal)

Last modified: 2006-02-05 by antonio martins
Keywords: funchal | coat of arms | beehive | grapes | quinas: 4 | desertas | selvagens |
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Funchal municipality
image by António Martins, 27 Oct 1998 and 18 Jul 2004
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About the flag

The flag of Funchal is a 2:3 purple over yellow gyronny, a coat of arms centered over all. Arms: a round point shield (7:8) vert, five beehives proper laid in cross, cornered with four grape bunches fruited purple and leaved or, each charged with an eschuteon azure, a saltire of silver bezants (“quina”). Silver mural crown with five visible towers. White scroll below the shield with upper case sans serif black lettering "A NOBRE E LEAL" (upper, smaller line) "CIDADE DO FUNCHAL" (lower, bigger line), meaning «The noble and loyal city of Funchal»). This flag is quite representative of portuguese municipal and submunicipal flags, it’s only uniqueness is the two lines of text in the scroll.
António Martins, 22 Dec 1997 and 27 Oct 1998

The flag of Funchal is exactly as shown, but not really frequent in the city.
Ivan Sache, 18 Feb 2001

The atypical scroll set in two lines, which is locally used, according to many sources (incl. my eyes, in my visits there in 1995.06), is not prescribed by law (publ. Diário do Governo, I Série on March 24th, 1936), and the grapes are usually shown purple (proper), not golden as the law prescribes.
António Martins, 18 Jul 2004

Presentation of Funchal

Funchal is the regional capital of Madeira, being with it’s 115 840 inhabitants (in 10 communes covering 76 km2) by far the island’s largest settlement. This municipality also includes the neighbouring islets of Desertas and the remote Selvagens, 350 km to the south — thus being, if not the largest, the “vastest” portuguese municipality.
António Martins, 27 Oct 1998

Selvagens and Desertas

These are two clusters of tiny islands near Madeira. None of them has a flag of it’s own: Both are Nature Reserves under the jurisdiction of Madeira’s Natural Park and both belong to the Funchal Municipality.

Desertas is a three island group, aligned North-South some 10 km southeast of the easternmost tip of Madeira, with a total area of about 20 km2. They are clearly visible from southeastern Madeira. (I was lucky enough to visit these islands in May 1995, as an environmental journalist.)

Selvagens are much smaller and, despite the name, much less abrupt than Desertas. They consist of two islands and nearby islets and rocks arranged in two groups lying some 20 km southwest-northeast apart, 200 km south of Madeira, with a total area of only 2,73 km2. These islands are in fact nearer to Canary Islands than to Madeira and there have been some recent and discrete moves of the spanish Navy and Diplomacy to annexate the islands and/or revert its status to that of uninhabitable rock (cp. the Rackall case) so that Spain can have a lot more of its 200 nm Exclusive Economic Zone.

So the flags that are to be found on these islands are:

(I designed proposed flags for both island groups. I used the colors and symbols of the Madeira flag and also the bezant as a cardinal sign. If you are interested, you may find them in my pages, here.)

António Martins, 22 Dec 1997