24 Dec 2013

Couto Misto (Portugal, Spain)

The Couto Misto (Coto Mixto in Spanish, Couto Mixto in Galician, Couto Misto in Portuguese) was a curious entity in Iberian history. It consisted of a stripe of lands that wasn't owned neither by Spain nor by Portugal, but, actually, a de facto independent republic, whose citizens had many privileges. It lasted until 1864.

There are many proposals to revive the Couto Misto as a Euroregion, a free zone or similar. It consisted of three villages (Santiago de Rubiás, Rubiás and Meaus), that was annexed to Spanish province of Galicia, while the "promiscuous people" and a stripe of uninhabited land was annexed by Portugal.

The ancient flag of Couto Misto is considered a square flag divided vertically in white and blue, colors of Galicia and Portugal. However, I found a text on a report by Ricardo J. Rodrigues that contains the following text:
A única novidade é que a mulher de Cesário anda a costurar uma nova bandeira do Couto Misto, que a actual está mais podre do que uma árvore morta. O desenho é o mesmo de sempre: três estrelas dispostas em triângulo e no centro um brasão com três fechaduras.
Translating in English:
The only news is Cesário's wife sewing a new Couto Misto flag, because the current one is more rotten than a dead tree. The design is the same of always: three stars disposed in triangle and a coat of arms with three locks in the center.
Unfortunately, there are missing informations (like colors) that impedes me of reconstructing the flag with exactitude. But the informations are enough to create my own flag proposal:

The locks are an essential symbol of Couto Misto, that relates to its politics: the laws were decided by citizens, then put on a trunk with three locks, that could only be open if the three judges (one nominated by each village, the heads of state of the Couto Misto) agreed, as each one had his own key; honorary judges are annually elected until now. The background of the flag is based on the ancient flag of the country, with a coat of arms with three locks and three keys inserted on a Baroque-style heraldic console (as used by other microstates, like Andorra and San Marino).

This flag could cause awareness of the history and status of Couto Misto, and could be used alternatively to the ancient flag and the flag described on the fragment above.

Your comments are welcome.
I'd like to desire a Merry Christmas and an excellent 2014 to all readers of the blog.

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