In January, 1530, Sebastián Gaboto left definitively towards Castilla but the
Lieutenant Deputy of the flagship "Santa Maria del Espinar", Don Francisco
Maldonado remained at the bay which later took his name: Bahia de Maldonado.
The strategic importance of the bay of Maldonado, led to a Governor of
Montevideo, Don Joaquín de Viana, to raise a precarious population in the
outskirts of Portezuelo (Laguna del Diario) in the year 1755. Then, in 1757 they
settle down definitively, civilly and militarily, in the current bay and later
in the Gorriti Island, between August 28 and November 25, date determined
for the share-out of lands done by Viana in the year earlier mentioned. For Law
of August 27, 1828, the Department of Maldonado was created being included in
its jurisdiction, the current lands of Rocha and a big part of Lavalleja.
It is possible to think that if in the XVIIth century our Atlantic coast was
seen as a formidable commercial and military worth, in the future years of
practical and positive achievements, the coast will acquire maritime importance
at a universal level.
From its beginning, during the colonial period, Maldonado was undoubtedly the
second city in importance of the Oriental Band, because of its strategic
position in the entry of the River Plate and for its wide and sure port. The
Kings of Spain were very concerned about this city, that's why they always
favored it in all aspects both religiously and militarily. It is demonstrated by
its big temple, its Barracks of Dragons, the fortifications of the Island of
Gorriti, the batteries in the Square of the Watchtower and the Mansa beach; it
was known also as historical model of cowsheds. Maldonado was undoubtedly the
avant-garde of the Virreinato del Río de la Plata and the one resisting the
first attacks of the invaders.
Shield of the Departamento de Maldonado
The first Departmental Shield dates of the year 1778,
in which the General Captaincy of the Province resolves to provide of a symbol
or shield. It is requested then to the King of Spain that the shield had in his
design a marine wolf, which stayed present until the year 1803, in which the
incorporation of the whale is approved, due to the heyday that the whale
industry was outlining in the zone. This way on August 29, 1803, for Real
Certificate the King of Spain, Don Carlos IV approves the Shield that has come
until our days.
Its heraldic symbology is rich: a castellated castle (sign of before mural),
a field divided in two, with a limpid sky and horizon and a sea waved by the
wind in the middle of which a whale advances with his powerful tail and throws
high jets of water, which fall down then on both sides of his body. In the low
end (left side of the observer) an anchor that means the presence of the port.
Force, right, sky, horizon, wealth, work, plenty, port of exchange, amalgamate
in the shield, gifts and awards of the human existence.