Spanish Line Cavalry Colours

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At the beginning of the 18th century, each Spanish cavalry squadron had a standard. The standard was square-shaped and coloured white, blue, green or crimson, according to the regiment. One side bore the royal arms, the other side the regimental insignia.

In 1728, a Royal Order stipulated, that each squadron of line cavalry should have red (encarnado) standards. The obverse bore the royal arms, the reverse the regimental insignia.

In 1768, a Royal Order stipulated, that the regiments of line cavalry had to use blue, red (encarnado) or white standards. The standards were made of damask or silk, with the royal arms embroidered in gold or silver on the obverse and the regimental insignia on the reverse. In each corner a fleurs-de-lys embroidered in gold or silver, according to the button colour and lace of the regiment1. The fringe was gold or silver as well as the cords and the finial. The staff was covered with crimson fabric or velvet and a gold or silver lace wound around in spiral2. All standards had red cravats with tassels in the button colour.

NB: Not every regiment complied with the Royal Orders, so there were a few exceptions: the regimental insignia was shown on obverse and the royal arms on reverse, the embroidery did not match the button colour, additional cravats in a different colour, and so on. Some regiments had the fleurs-de-lys in the corners of their standards before 1768. Cavalry of the Tropas de Ultramar (oversea troops) often ignored the Royal Orders and had standards of a completely different pattern.


1 this style is also reported in the 17th century and in 1746

2 this practice was in use before 1768.


Instituto de Historia y Cultura Militar - Historia de la Bandera de España

Peréz, José Luis Calvo and Luis Grávalos González: Banderas de Espana, Silex 1983

Bueno, Jose M.: Uniformes Militares Espanoles el Ejercito y la Armada en 1808, Malaga 1982

Wise, Terence and Guido Rosignoli: Military Flags of the World 1618-1900, Blandford Press Ltd. 1977


Volker Scholz for the initial version of this article