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Caracas - Capital District (Venezuela)

Distrito Capital

Last modified: 2004-08-07 by dov gutterman
Keywords: caracas | venezuela | lion | santiago cross | regimant | amaranth |
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by Guillermo Aveledo, 4 October 1999

by Raul Jesus Orta Pardo, 2 August 2000

Libertador Municipality (Municipio Libertador), City of Caracas

Hustorical Flags:

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"Caracas" is the word used by the aboriginal tribes which lived on the north coastal regions of the earlier Venezuela, for named an autochthonous kind of a plant called "Amaranth" in another places of the World. Besides, this plant was one of their principal sources of nutrition. When the Spanish conquerors arrive to these lands, they find the tribes eating it. After their inquires by words and mimics about the name of the plant, one of the aboriginal could understood the questions of these rare men and standing up, saying "CARACARA, CARACAS", and fluttering a bundle of that herbs at the same time.
Sometimes, the Spanish conqueror's custom was to name the cities and towns, which they founded during the earlier times of their dominion over Latin America. However, they composed these names with autochthonous voices in combination with Spanish holy sponsors, places or authorities at that times.
According to that tradition, on July 25th, 1567, the Captain Diego de Losada y Osorio founded the City of "SANTIAGO DE LEON DE CARACAS" (Saint James of the Lion of Caracas), in the same place where it exists today , the "Plaza Boli'var" (Bolivar Square), then called "Plaza Mayor" (Major Square). Later, the Spanish King Felipe II (Philippe II) granted to the City their first Coat of Arms by means of negotiations realized by Don Simo'n de Bolivar, called "El Viejo" (The older), sixth ancestor of "El Libertador" SIMON BOLIVAR, our greatest national hero. These arms only show a brown lion rampant subjecting a golden scallop with a red St. James Cross inside, all on an argent (silver) ground. Few years after, it was enriching with a five points coronet in the crest and war trophies crossed in saltire at the back in attention to the notable services of their subjects to the Spanish Crown. By royal schedule signed on March 15th, 1766, the king Carlos III (Charles III) granted to the Caracas CoA's a pennant with a motto, which express the devotion of the Caraquenian people for the Holy Mother of God: "AVE MARIA SANTISIMA SIN PECADO CONCEBIDA EN EL PRIMER INSTANTE DE SU SER NATURAL" (God Bless You Holiest Mary conceived without guilt in the first instant of her natural being). Therefore, the meaning of the Caraquenian CoA its really very simple because it is "Canting Arms": the golden scallop is representation of the Apostle Santiago (also called Saint James in English), one of the holy sponsors of Spain and particularly, for the Spanish Cavalry; the Lion reminds the Spanish kingdom and the Province of Leo'n (Lion) where the Conqueror Losada y Osorio was born and besides, it is an homage for Don Pedro Ponce de Leo'n, Spanish Governor of the province of Venezuela at that times, who provides the sources for the successful conquest of the region where was established the actual Caracas. The argent (silver) ground represents the Integrity. The golden five points coronet (called "Coronel" in Spanish) is symbol of Nobility and Loyalty. The Arms crosses in saltire represents the courage of the Caraquenian People, whose example of behavior, ever has been an obligatory reference for the another peoples of Venezuela and Latin America. So, the full ancient form of the name of the Capital City of my Country and my birth place too, is "LA MUY NOBLE Y MUY LEAL SENORIA DE LA CIUDAD MARIANA DE SANTIAGO DE LEON DE CARACAS" (The Most Noble and Most Loyalty  Seigniory of the Marian City of Saint James of the Lion of Caracas). In this case,"Marian" has the meaning of "Devote of the holiest Virgin Mary".
Raul Jesus Orta Pardo, 2 August 2000

The CAPITAL DISTRICT: According to the "Bolivarian Constitution of Venezuela" (Article 16) recently approved, it is implicatly abolished the "Federal District" by the creation of the CAPITAL DISTRICT formed by the same Municipalities which were in the FD. However, the real dimension of the City exceed its original limits of the last 60 years and now also contain the Municipalities of Baruta, Chacao, El Hatillo and Sucre which belong to the Miranda State. The "Bolivarian Constitution of Venezuela" establishes, besides, that the regulations about the matter will be specifying in a Special Law.
Raul Jesus Orta Pardo, 2 August 2000

The special law on the regime of the Capital District, hindsighted on the 18th article of this
Constitution, wil be approved by tne National Constituent Assembly and it will preserve the territorial integrity of the MIranda State. Meanwhile the law is to be approved, the Organic Law of the Federal District and the Organic Law of Municipal Regime."
The National Constituent Assembly issued a Special Law on the regime of the METROPOLITAN DISTRICT OF CARACAS, on March 8th, 2000. This would make the Constituent Assembly deaf to its own voice, since:

1. The Constitution dictated that the Assembly would approve a law for a CAPITAL DISTRICT of CRACAS, not a METROPOLITAN DISTRICT of CARACAS, which it did.

2. According to the very 'Bolivarian' Constitution they wrote, the members of the National Constituent Assembly should've known we can only have a "Metropolitan District": "when two or more municipalities belonging TO THE SAME FEDERAL ENTITY have economic, social and phsical relations which would give to their union the carachteristics of a metropolitan area (...)".

What happens is that the Municipios Chacao, El Hatillo, Baruta and Sucre belong to Miranda State, and the Municipio Libertador (colloquially Caracas) belongs to the Capital District (which lurks back again, without many explanations, in article 1 of the special law ). Miranda State and the Federal district are two separate, distinct, unique entities; this makes the name (and even the entire law) of the Metropolitan District utterly wrong!! But that doesn't seem as good enough to make it null and void ... Although it may seem like a rumbustious "legalese" complaint, I am sure it will hold many problems for the future, especially when stating the actual responsabilities of each municipal government and that of the Metropolitan mayor, and these frictions will grow when the time comes for the National Treasure to be distributed and no one caves in: when resources are scarce, someone will pay attention to the small print, make a lot of noise and simply refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of the resource distribution scheme .
This rises a few vexiollogical questions to the forefront:

1) Should the METROPOLITAN-CAPITAL (?) DISTRICT of Caracas use the crimsom flag with the Caracas CoA?
I would say... NO!! This flag belongs, in any case, to the Federal District, and, more specifically, to the Municipio Libertador ("old" Caracas). It never flew on top of the building of the Governorship of the Federal District (north of Bolivar Sqare), which only bore the Venezuelan National flag. So, the Municipio Libertador should keep using the crimsom flag as its own, as it covers the territory of the original Caracas (plus a few more sq. miles), as it was in 1567. The Alcaldia of the Municipio Libertador has its own flag (magenta-blue) and I assume each Municipio has a flag of its own. In any case, they should, and the "rebranding" of the city could start that way.

2) Then, is it feasible and historically accurate to give the 'MC?' District of Caracas a flag of its own?
I would think so. A most definite YES for that. As a contemporary Caraquenian, I believe it should reflect both tradition and modernity, and the fact that it encompasses not one but five cities.
Guillermo Aveledo, 11 August 2000

Description of the Flag

A burgundy field. With the Caracas CoA as badge.  Burgundy has been the City's colour as long as anyone can remember, but no particular meaning is attached to them. Probably it was a variation of the colour of the Santiago Cross, emblem of the city. Incidentally, Venezuela's national football team wears burgundy on their uniform.
based on the designs showed on the 1981 edition of "Los Simbolos Sagrados de la Nacion Venezolana", by Francisco A. Vargas. This is a study  on the development of the Venezuelan Flag, CoA and Anthem, plus a study on the States' CoA
Guillermo Aveledo, 4 October 1999

This flag is for Caracas City but not for the Distrito Federal , that is not exactly the same. Flag of DF is also red but with DF arms in center (instead the Caracas ones). In "Vlajka statu a uzemi Sveta" the arms are correct but the background color (white) is wrong because in fact it is red. DF adopted flag in c. 1980 and the adoption was made officially (according info from  their representatives in 1989).
Caracas city has similar flag, but seems that a variant is frequently in use (including in official acts): red with white oval with arms. The white oval was tailed from white rectangular clothes manufactured by Bendayan & Cia of Caracas (they make white flag with all the states arms, but not for use mainly as flags but for showing the arms) and attached to a plain rectangular red flag.
Jaume Olle', 3 November 1999

It is the Flag of the Municipality of Caracas, and it is the one flying from the Alcaldía and the Cabildo buildings. So I assume it is official. Yet there is no such thing as an official ruling on this matter by the Concejo Municipal .  The DF Government which governs a portion of territory now identical to that of the Municipality of Caracas (actually, Municipio Libertador), has no flag flying from its offices nor inside its buildings. They use the Venezuelan State Flag, being a branch of the Central Executive and an office appointed by the President himself. The background for the Municipality flag is NOT red, but burgundy, vino tinto, grana, and has not any white oval. However, the flag hoisted on the Municipality buildings is quite old and deteriorated and I could be wrong.
Guillermo Aveledo, 4 November 1999

With regards to the Caraquenian Municipality Flag, it is the same as shown above but it is charged with the CoA in full colors at the center. The burgundian red of their ground reminds the courage of the Caraquenians and their blood leaked for the cause of the Independence of Venezuela
Raul Jesus Orta Pardo, 2 August 2000

Recently I was in the administrative building of the Libertador Municipality and I could see that the version of the Flag and the CoA in this page are not the previous but the actual and effective symbols of Caracas and I had a conversation with a municipal official that confirmed it.
Raul Jesus Orta Pardo, 25 August 2000

The Flag of Caracas consists of a burgundy red field with the version of the Coat of Arms of the City effective since the decade of 1980. The red field, remembrance of the predominant color in the royal pennants of Colonial Caracas, symbolizes the blood spilled by Caraquenian people in favor to the Independence and the highest Ideals of the Venezuelan Nation. The original design of the Caracas Flag appeared in the decade of 1980 and consisted of a burgundy red cloth with the version of the then adopted and still effective Coat of Arms located to the canton. Later 1994, approximately and presumably as a result of the change of municipal authorities, it was decided to place the Caracas CoA slightly increased of size on the center of the field, configuration that maintains at the present time.
Raul Jesus Orta Pardo, 21 May 2002

Reported (Previous) Flag

from <>, located by Dov Gutterman, 19 May 2002

The flag that you was the first one of Libertador Municipality whose capital is Caracas and it had use during the final part of the Eighties. Its color is not mulberry but red dark, similar to the current one where the Coaty of Arms of Arms of Caracas appears on the center. The source of information in the site is a poster made by a flags manufacturing company located in Caracas whose information lamentably does not have to be considered totally valid.
Raul Orta, 19 May 2002

Coat of Arms

Here are Caracas Venezuela CoA's (the real thing.....not just an image) <> , and choose: Historia de Caracas .
Dov Gutterman , 4 November 1998

Ancient image of Caracas CoA

by Guillermo Aveledo , 4 October 1999

Current Caracas CoA

by Raul Jesus Orta Pardo, 2 August 2000

The Seal or CoA consists on a rampant brown lion, on a silver field, holding in its arms a golden lode [ it looks more like a shell, and that is ho its depicted in the City Hall's Stationery], adorned with war trophies. On March 15th, 1776, King Charles III of Spain, through a Royal Cedula, conceded Caracas the right to wear a border which read: "Ave Maria Purisima, Sin Pecado Concebida en el Primer Instante de su Ser Natural" (more or less: "Holiest Mary, Conceived Free of Sin on the First Instant of Her Natural Being").  Mary is the matron of Caracas based on the designs showed on the 1981 edition of "Los Simbolos Sagrados de la Nacion Venezolana", by Francisco A. Vargas. This is a study  on the development of the Venezuelan Flag, CoA and Anthem, plus a study on the States' CoA
Guillermo Aveledo, 4 October 1999

This image shows the further and official version of the Caracas CoA, which appears in the ends of the 80's. including the novelty of the ancient foundational name of Caracas and its foundation year "Santiago de Leon de Caracas - 1567" over the crest wrote inside a pennant.
Raul Jesus Orta Pardo, 2 August 2000

Simple hispanic shape enameled on Silver, loads a rampant brown lion that holds with its claws a golden (yellow) scallop loaded with the Saint James Cross in Gules (red), all embellished with a coronet with five points in gold as timmer; two old cavalry swords, two halberds, two canons and lambrequins like supports and two golden pennants: the first like war voice on the crest loads the name with which was founded the City "SANTIAGO DE LEON DE CARACAS (Saint James of Lion of Caracas) and the year of its foundation: 1567, while the second surround jointed the field and loads the motto AVE MARIA SANTÍSIMA SIN PECADO CONCEBIDA EN EL PRIMER INSTANTE DE SU SER NATURAL (God Bless You Holiest Mary without guilt conceived in the first instant of Her Natural Being).
Raul Jesus Orta Pardo, 21 May 2002

The Caracas' Coat of Arms have been versioned sometimes maintaining its main heraldic elements. There are nonofficial but relatively popular version of the Caracas CoA between 1950 and 1970, approximately, that also reproduces Mr. Ottfried Neubecker work "A Guide to Heraldry" jointly with the Arms of the main cities of the world. The terrace of Vert (green) and the replacing of the scallop by a little oval escutcheon has been net artistic licenses that are not blazoned or describes officially like part of the Coat of Arms of Caracas. In the optics of the heraldic treatment of the image, it has had happy and unfortunate versions and in our modest opinion the present one this just in the middle of the ends. Be worth to say that according to the respective Canon, the lambrequins always must have enamels of the heraldic field and when are many, is chosen by most important. Also, these ornaments are located from the Chief or upper part of the Coat of Arms and in some cases, appear too at the flanks of the Chief because lambrequins are reminding of the mantles or little mantles with which the helmets were covered in first term for refresh them of the high temperatures and in second case to adorn them with distinguishing character. Naturally, it become shreds when their carriers had fought and those shreds are exactly those that heraldic treatment turns to lambrequins. A magnificent example of how it must be represented appears in the Coat of  Arms of Bahrain. If we compared it with the one of Caracas, we will appreciate that the lambrequins are multi-chromatics and are located under the war trophies at the base flanks of the field... With regards to the gray and white, as we know in Heraldry represent the same enamel indifferently: the Argent or Silver. And the field on the Caracas Arms is Argent.
The Coat of Arms of the City of Caracas was adopted by the Libertador Municipality to identify itself and later the Metropolitan Mayor Office assumed the lion, the scallop and the St. James Cross for the same aim. Symbollogically speaking, this raised a conflict then that Caracas identifies the Coat  of Arms of the Capital of the Republic?
In our modest opinion, it's necessary to determine the specific scope that identifies the Caracas CoA then although is certain that Baruta, Chacao, El Hatillo and Sucre (Petare) belongs to Miranda State, also are Caracas; or better still, part of the so called "Great Caracas". If we rely on the Symbollogical Protocol, the Symbols of the Municipalities before mentioned theoretically are subordinated to the Caracas ones by antiquity and so that the expansion of the metropolis absorbed them in the way. But, as we mentioned in some occasion, the Symbollogy in Venezuela is taking it first steps although the Symbollogical reality in the States, Municipalities and other places of my country has come accentuating since the decade of 1990.
Raul Jesus Orta Pardo, 30 May 2002

Flag of the Alcaldía (Mayor's Office)

by Guillermo Aveledo , 1 March 2000

Here is the flag of the Alcaldía (Mayor's Office) of the City of Caracas, or of what its know as such. Caracas has four mayors: the Mayor of Municipio Libertador (a.k.a mayor of Caracas; being the mayor of the Federal District); the mayor of Municipio Chacao (both the mayor and the municipio have a flag), the Mayor of Municipio Baruta, and the Mayor of Municipio Petare. To add more to this confusing stew, there will be a new official, the Alcalde Mayor (or Higher
Mayor???), who might have a flag. In any case, the flag of Caracas sent on top stands for what is the old city (Caracas, in strictu sensu; used by the City Hall), and this one stands of the flag of the Municipio Libertador's Mayor's Office. Caracas, or even, Greater Caracas, is not a regularised Political entitity, although it is a city all with those Municipios (plus some extra municipios on suburban areas). The Alcalde Mayor will rule above these municipio's mayors and all over those municipios. This flag , then, is the flag of the Mayor of the Municipio Libertador (a.k.a Mayor of Caracas). It is a 2:3 flag, two bands of blue and magenta, with an outline (white) of the CoA of Caracas, using the caption which crowns the CoA (not to be seen on the City of Caracas flag, which uses the same CoA): "Santiago de Leon de Caracas 1567", the Spanish name and date of foundation of the city.
Guillermo Aveledo , 1 March 2000

Standard of the Municipality of Caracas (1826)

by Raul Orta, 15 May 2002

Standard of the Municipality of Caracas, (1826): consists of a swallowtail contour vertically oriented with the colors red, blue and yellow bearing on the center the Great Colombia Coat of Arms ornate with a pennant over the chief which show the inscription "MUNICIPALIDAD DE CARACAS" (Municipality of Caracas) and the number "1826", everything in roman letters. The illustration is a representation of the original one that still is exhibited in the Caracas Museum of the Libertador Municipality Mayor Office.
Raul Orta, 15 May 2002

Caracas Veteran Regiment Flag

by Guillermo Aveledo , 4 October 1999

According to 1981 edition of "Los Simbolos Sagrados de la Nacion Venezolana", by Francisco A. Vargas : "In as much as the Regimental flags was concerned, they were to made out of taffeta [I am not sure if this was common at the time, but I believe taffeta is a most impractical cloth type; perhaps they were merely ceremonial, and not battle flags. Given the action these regiments saw, I believe so], and with the main colours used by the respective province's Arms or of the City where the regiment was quartered. Following the precepts of the House of Borbon, by an official notice of 1734, it was ordered that every regiment had three flags, all on white taffeta [the House of Borbon colour]: the "Coronela", with the Royal Coat of Arms [perhaps like the Spanish War Ensign of the XVIIIth and XIXth Centuries, but without the triband , which was substituted by a white field] centered on it, and the other two with the Borgona Cross [or "Burgundy" Cross, perhaps]; on their four corners, the Coat of Arms of the Province and the Crown, and, on the two top quarters, the name of the regiment itself" [as shown with the Caraquenian Regiment's flag] (pages 28-29).

The flag of the "Veteranos de Caracas" was used even at the begginning of the Independence war (until the arrival of Continental Spanish troops, led by General Morillo). Caracas Regiment served not only on the Capital City of Caracas,but the whole province of Caracas, which ranged
for the greatest portion of Venezuela's Capitanía General.  This flag, as you can see, corresponds to the description above: white (Borbon [or Bourbon] House) field, Borgona Cross (not burgundy, but red), the Royal CoA (Crown, Castle and Lion, red-yellow), and  the CoA of Caracas at the time [Caraca's CoA carved on stone, ca. 1730; found on a public fountain].
Guillermo Aveledo, 4 October 1999

Metropolitan Police

Flag and coat of arms of the Metropolitan Police at <>.
Dov Gutterman, 15 April 2004