Origins of Puerto Rico’s National Flag

Puerto Rico's national flag was designed in 1894 by Francisco Gonzalo Marin. Marin used the flag of Cuba as a model, simply inverting Cuban flag's colors to give it a unique identity. It didn't take long for the flag to grow in popularity and it soon became accepted as the country's national flag.

The flag is made up of five equal horizontal bands. The top, middle and bottom bands are red while the remaining in-between bands are white. The pole side of the flag features a blue isosceles triangle with a white five-pointed star in the center. The meaning of these various shapes and colors has changed somewhat over the years but it is generally accepted that the red stripes symbolize the 'blood' that nourishes the government or that of brave warriors and the white stripes symbolize victory, liberty and independence. The blue triangle represents both the three sides of government and the blue waters of the ocean, while the white star symbolizes the island-country of Puerto Rico.

flag of puerto rico

Though the basic shape and order of color have been set, there has been, and in some instances continues to be, debate regarding the specific shades of color to be used. The original colors were very similar to that of the Cuban flag – sky blue and medium red, but when it was adopted by the Commonwealth in 1952, the blue and red became darker and more similar to the royal blue and glory red used in the US flag. The reason for this may have been reluctance on the part of the Commonwealth to make use of a flag which represented revolutionary independence. In any case, the lighter shades seem to be favored by pro-independence groups while the darker shades are used by pro-statehood, pro-US groups. In more recent years the traditional sky blue has seen a comeback and the official shade seems to have settled at a mid-shade somewhere between the two extremes.

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