Posts tagged ‘chile’

Count of Quinta Alegre

Today, I have the distinct pleasure and honor publish an article written by the current Count of Quinta Alegre, don Fernando Molina Alcalde, who also happens to be a distant cousin of mine.

So, without more from me, here is the Count’s article:

Several years ago, when I joined the Asociación de Hidalgos a Fuero de España, I proved my nobility and also my ancestral paternal arms for Molina. It was an easy claim since two years earlier my relative Luis Molina Wood had joined the very same noble corporation and his file included the Molina heraldic arms. In my petition I mentioned that I had the very same arms.1

Ancestral arms of Molina: Azure a castle between in base a half millstone Argent and in chief three fleurs de lis Or, all within a bordure Gules charged with eight saltorels Or

These are the same arms that are found in the house of Diego de Molina “el Viejo” (the Elder) in the town of Almagro, today in the province of Ciudad Real, Spain. Diego de Molina “el Viejo,” who was an archpriest, lived between the end of the 15th century through the first half of the 16th century. He founded a very wealthy entail (mayorazgo) and his nephew Diego de Molina “el Joven” (the Younger) was called the first to enjoy it and then his descendants through the male lines, in order of
primogeniture. In case of extinction of his line -it never happened, the Molina Herrera family, also nephews of the founder, were called to it. Among these last ones, Jerónimo de Molina y Herrera, one of the founders of one of the Molina families in Chile in the XVI century, was a common ancestor of Luis Molina Wood and this author.

As Almagro was the seat of the ancient Order of Calatrava, there was a large concentration of noble families.

In 1995 HM King Juan Carlos I of Spain graciously rehabilitated in my favor the title of Count of Quinta Alegre. This Castillian nobiliary title was originally created by HM King Charles III by Royal Decree signed in San Lorenzo on October 22, 1767 for Juan Alcalde y Gutiérrez of Santiago, Chile and born in 1707 in Durón, Guadalajara, Spain. According to the laws of the time, Juan Alcalde’s previously granted title of Viscount of Rivera (Vizcondado previo de Rivera) was canceled upon the creation of this last one.

Arms of the first Count of Quinta Alegre: Quarterly 1 & 4 Argent a castle Gules over a base wavy Azure and Argent; 2 & 3: Argent a lion rampant Proper

A few months later, King Charles III granted a coat of arms to the new Count in Letters Patent dated December 4, 1767 that would be the familial arms of the count and his descendants.2

While in Madrid right after the Royal Decree rehabilitating the title in my favor, I consulted with an expert in heraldry regarding how I should compose my arms that had already been registered and now with my comital title. What was clear was that I could not place the comital coronet above my paternal arms of Molina because the title was not a Molina title but, rather, an Alcalde one. Although, I descend twice from the first Count of Quinta Alegre via my paternal line and once via my maternal.

In any case, the solution was simple: dimidiate the two shields and place the coronet of rank above it. Luckily, my two surnames are Molina Alcalde.

Arms of the current Count of Quinta Alegre, don Fernando Molina Alcalde

Ever since, I have been using these arms as my own and was admitted with these in the Casa Troncal de los Doce Linajes de Soria as a Caballero hijodalgo, Linaje Salvadores (Knight Hijodalgo, Lineage of the Salvadores) in early January 2011. It was an opportunity to officially register my marshalled arms of Molina y Alcalde with this historic nobiliary corporation. A blog entry in the official blog of the corporation displayed these arms along with a short article on January 11, 2011 and again the next day on January 12.

Fernando Joaquín Molina Alcalde, Conde de Quinta Alegre
New York, January 20, 2011


  1. Asociación de Hidalgos a Fuero de España, Padrón de Estado, Madrid, 1967, v. 3, p.134-135, expediente Nº 1840 de don Luis Molina Wood, natural de Santiago, Chile; incluye armas de varonía. Azur, con un castillo de plata, acompañado de tres flores de lis de oro en jefe, y en punta una media rueda de molino, de plata; bordura de gules, cargada de ocho aspas de oro.
    Asociación de Hidalgos a Fuero de España, Padrón de Estado, Madrid, 1970, v.5, p.142-143, expediente Nº 3435 de don Fernando Joaquín Molina Alcalde, natural de Santiago, Chile, menciona como armas las del expediente Nº 1840.
  2. Juan Espejo, Nobiliario de la Capitanía General de Chile, Santiago, 2ª edición, 1967, p.51 (ilustrado) y p.54 n.1; y Ampelio Alonso de Cadenas y López, y Vicente de Cadenas y Vicent, Heraldario español, europeo y americano, vol. 5, Madrid, 1998, p.259 (ilustrado). Cuartelado: 1º y 4º de plata con un castillo de gules puesto sobre ondas de plata y azur; 2º y 3º de plata, con un león rampante de su color.
    Juan Mujica, Linajes españoles. Nobleza colonial de Chile, Santiago, 1927, ilustración sin número, entre las páginas 11 y 12, incluye las armas de los Alcalde con un error en los cuarteles 2º y 3º, los leones rampantes de gules cuando son de su color como queda dicho más arriba.

2010 Chile Earthquake

The 8.8Mw earthquake that hit Chile on February 27th, 2010 was the 7th most powerful ever recorded! It was almost 800 times more powerful (in terms of energy expended) than the one that hit Haiti!

The devastation is huge and the loss of life is in the hundreds. The power outages and food shortage is compounded by the numerous aftershocks, some reaching even a 6.9!

Thankfully, my family is good and my thoughts go out to all other Chileans.

To tie this in to heraldry, here is a previous article on the heraldry of Chile.

Memoria Chilena

COA Chile

While looking for some genealogy books I need for my research, I came upon an amazingly valuable resource for anyone doing research in Chile that’s absolutely free!

It appears that the government of Chile has created a website that contains hundreds, if not thousands, of scanned images, articles, books, etc. from sources from the early 1900’s and older.  It is a veritable treasure trove for anyone doing research.

In my case, I had been unable to find many books that I had leads that may contain information on my family and had resigned to the fact that I had to plan a trip to Washington, DC to visit the Library of Congress as that was the only place I could find them. On the rare occassion that I did find a book for sale, its price would range from the mid $100’s (USD) all the way to close to $1,000!

The name of the site is called Memoria Chilena and is located at this address:

It has a very powerful search engine that can search by either title, author, publisher or any other keyword. The results returned will include, perhaps, an information page a list of books, articles and photographs.

All books or articles are available in Adobe Acrobat PDF format to be read electronically on your computer, PDA, etc.

One of my favorite features is the e-Libros section whereby there is a list of recommended resources for researchers and enthusiasts alike. What’s great about the list is that it changes monthly which means that you may find a gem there that you never knew existed.

Any researcher of genealogy or history will be well served to use this most excellent resource.

Just be aware that you will not be able to find any of the books or articles published after around the 1930’s. This means that one of the books I’m looking for “El linaje de Vial” by Raúl Díaz Vial, published in 1960 is still to be found by me outside of the Library of Congress… If anyone knows where to find it, please let me know!

Heraldry of Chile

COA Chile

Today we will review the coat of arms of the Republic of Chile. The current arms of Chile are those displayed above and the blazon of the shield is: Per fess Azure and Gules overall a mullet of 5 points Argent.

The supporters of the shield are to the dexter (heraldic left) a huemul and to the sinister (heraldic right) an Andean condor. Both being the national animals of Chile. Additionally, both are crowned with naval crowns.

The condor is the most significant bird of prey in the Andean region and the largest flying bird of the western hemisphere. The condor plays a significant role in many of the local myths and traditions and is inextricably linked to the history of the Andean countries.

The huemul is another native species of the region however it is extremely rare. It belongs to the deer family and the specific huemul is the “Patagonian Huemul”, also known as the “South Andean Deer”.


The huemul is so rare that very few know of it and has caused artists to make mistakes as the one shown above. In this emblazonment, we see the dexter supporter being a horse because the artist had never before seen or heard of the South Andean Deer and mistook it for a horse!

This coat of arms was designed by Charles Wood Taylor and adopted on June 26, 1834 during the administration of President José Joaquín Prieto. However, it was first officially defined as the National Coat of Arms in the Decreto Supremo Nº 1.534 of the Ministry of Interior in 1967. Interestingly, it had been previously defined in the Decreto N° 2.271 of the Ministry of War on September 4, 1920.

The motto Por la razón o la fuerza (“By reason or force”) is modern Spanish version of the ancient Latin phrase Aut consiliis aut ense (“by counsel or by the sword”), attributed to Rome. This concept is foundational in a state of law (or Rechsstaat). Reasoning representing judicial process and rights of the citizenry. Force representing the power of the state.

Chile was first sighted by Ferdinand Magellan when he crossed the Magellan Straight in 1520 however, Diego de Almagro is credited with the discovery in 1537. De Almagro organized an expedition and reached central Chile but, when compared to the riches found in Peru, determined that the lands and peoples were poor and not worth the effort.

It was Pedro de Valdivia who explored further south wanting to expand the lands of the crown. With only a few hundred men he managed to subdue the native populace and in 1541 he founded Santiago de Nueva Extremadura, present day Santiago de Chile and was first Royal Governor of Chile.

Lautaro flag

In 1553, De Valdivia dies at the Battle of Tucapel by a Mapuche toqui (war chief) named Lautaro. His banner, as displayed in the art of Fray Pedro Subercaseaux, is presented above.

The series of battles between the Spanish and the natives, mainly the Mapuche, known as the Arauco War went on for many years. However, the Spanish conquest was a foretold event.

COA Spanish Empire

The Spanish crown had divided the colonies in the Americas into two Viceroyalties, that of New Spain (containing the lands in Central and North America) and that of Peru (containing South America). Hence, Chile was part of the Viceroyalty of Peru. The arms displayed above are those used during the Spanish Empire (specifically of Charles I).

The Viceroyalty of Peru was founded in 1542 and lasted, even after losing territory to new viceroyalties and independence movements, until 1824. The capital was Lima (present day capital of the Republic of Peru) and was the most powerful of the Spanish American Viceroyalties for the largest part of its history.

COA Castille & Leon

Chile was from the very beginning given autonomy as the Captaincy General of Chile and sometimes called Kingdom of Chile. This “kingdom” was a personal possession of the King of Castille & Leon and, as you may already know, the King of Spain is also the King of Castille & Leon (among other kingdoms). The arms above are of Castille & Leon blazoned: Quarterly 1st & 4th Gules a three towered castle Or masoned Sable ajoure Azure (for Castille), 2nd & 3rd Argent a lion rampant Purpure armed and langued Gules crowned Or (for Leon).

In 1808, the King of Spain Ferdinand VII lost his throne to the forces of Napoleon Bonaparte. Ferdinand would not be reinstated until 1813 and the period of dispute of the Spanish throne put the American colonies in limbo. Ferdinand and his father Charles were being held prisoners by the French who had appointed Napoleon’s brother Joseph as the new King. Ferdinand’s sister Charlotte Joaquina, at the time living in Brazil, stepped forward claiming to be the heir to the throne and styled herself as Queen of La Plata.

In Chile at about the same time, the current Governor General died and was replaced, following the rules of succession, by an authoritarian Brigadier General named García Carrasco. During his administration and because of the current events, the populace of Chile was divided into three groups: those supporting Ferdinand, those supporting Charlotte Joaquina’s claim and a very small minority supporting independence.

In 1809, after Carrasco was embroiled in a scandal and his removal from office in 1810 along with more dire news from Spain regarding the war with France things began to change in Chile. Especially after the successful revolution in Argentina, the move for independence started gathering steam.

On September 18, 1810 the Government Junta of the Kingdom of Chile was called and it is the first time that Chileans got to make all the decisions on how to govern themselves. This is considered as the beginning of what is called the Patria Vieja which lasted until the formation of the new Republic of Chile in 1814.


On October 26, 1812 a constitution is written in Chile for the first time containing 27 articles. Only a month prior, on September 30, the previous Governor, José Miguel Carrera, introduced a new national coat of arms depicted above. The new arms were put on display in the main entrance to the governor’s palace. Note the motto beneach the achievement with the Latin phrase Aut consiliis aut ense discussed earlier in this post.

In 1814, the year of the Battle of Rancagua (or Disaster of Rancagua) was when the Imperial forces of Spain began their reconquer (reconquista) of Chile. In the aforementioned battle, the Spanish forces routed the rebel Chilean forces and re-established the colonial rule. This same year the Patria Vieja was pronounced dead and the decrees of the period declared null and void.

As Chile was a Spanish colony once again, it fell under the old Spanish arms displayed earlier.


The period of the Reconquista lasted until February 12, 1817 when the rebel Chilean forces under General Bernardo O’Higgins won the decisive Battle of Chacabuco. This is the date generally used to demark the end of the failed Reconquista and the beginning of what has been called the Patria Nueva. This period used the arms displayed above which were based on the previous arms of the Patria Vieja.

The following decades were tumultuous as the people of Chile tried to define their new country. It went through various phases of republicanism and achieved the formal recognition of independence from the Spanish crown in 1844. Though it was in 1818 that Chile had declared its independence.

General O’Higgins introduced many changes with the new government, such as the abolition of all titles of nobility. Unfortunately, another one of the victims of the new policies was heraldry in Chile. The new regime also abolished all familial and personal coats of arms as O’Higgins had the incorrect belief that heraldry denoted nobility.

As mentioned at the beginning of this post, the present coat of arms was adopted in 1834 and remained in used throughout the country’s multiple historical phases and is still in use today. Even during the military dictatorship under General Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte, the current arms remained in use.