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Learn significance, history of the Argentine national flag



The Argentina flag is a symbol of eternal pride and independence. Its remarkable hues of sky blue, golden yellow and a hint of brown reveal the secrets of a country’s liberation fight. Come along as we explore the rich history of the Argentine flag, a symbol that still proudly flutters over the country of tradition and tango and discover the meaning and importance of these colours.

What is the Argentina flag?

What is the Argentina flag?

The flag of Argentina is a symbol of the country’s rich history and identity. It consists of three horizontal stripes of light blue and white, with the blue stripe in the middle being twice the height of each white stripe. This design is known as the “Bandera Celeste y Blanca” in Spanish, which translates to “Sky Blue and White Flag”.

This flag was designed by Manuel Belgrano during the Argentine War of Independence. On February 27, 1812, the flag was first raised in a city known as Rosario.

The National Flag Memorial was constructed where this flag was initially raised. This flag was initially disliked by the leaders of the time, who were referred to as the First Triumvirate. Subsequently, the Asamblea del Año XIII declared that its use in warfare was acceptable. Ultimately, the Tucumán Congress declared it to be the official national flag in 1816. The yellow sun of May was put in the centre of the flag in 1818.

There are two variations of this flag. One is known as the Official Ceremonial Flag, and it features the sun. The other is called the Ornamental Flag and is devoid of the sun. Although both flags hold equal significance, the decorative flag must always fly beneath the sun-facing one.

In 1978, Argentina’s government specified the design of the official ceremonial flag, which includes the Sun of May. The flag’s sun must be golden yellow and must have an inner diameter of 10 cm and an outer diameter of 25 cm. It features 32 rays, with 16 undulated and 16 straight rays, symbolising light and heat, and is embroidered on the official ceremonial flag.

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Argentina flag history

Argentina flag history

Commander Manuel Belgrano identified a critical problem on the battlefield during the Argentine War of Independence. The Spanish colours of yellow and red were being used by both the royalist and patriotic armies in their emblems. Belgrano devised the Cockade of Argentina to distinguish the country and serve as a symbol of unification. It was accepted by the First Triumvirate on February 18, 1812.

Belgrano created a flag with the same colours nine days later, buoyed by this achievement. These were colours that brought back memories of the Criollos’ May Revolution of 1810, a pivotal moment in Argentina’s journey towards independence. Nonetheless, current analysis indicates that the colours may have been selected to represent loyalty to Spain’s imprisoned, King Ferdinand VII of Spain, by drawing inspiration from the Spanish Order of Charles III.

On February 27, 1812, the flag was first raised in Rosario, along the Paraná River. On that historic day, Belgrano spoke passionately about the flag’s significance and called on soldiers to swear allegiance to it. He declared, “LONG LIVE THE FATHERLAND!” This event marked a turning point in Argentina’s struggle for independence.

However, the flag initially faced opposition from the First Triumvirate, as they were ruling on behalf of King Ferdinand VII of Spain. They warned Belgrano not to use the flag. Nevertheless, Belgrano raised the flag in Buenos Aires on August 23, 1812, and later in San Salvador de Jujuy, where it was blessed by the local church.

Belgrano stopped flying the flag because the Triumvirate refused to allow him to continue marching northward to fortify the patriotic position in Upper Peru. Still, the flag was precious to the warriors, who had already sworn allegiance to it.

The flag’s journey continued when it was authorised for use as a war flag by the Second Triumvirate and the Asamblea del Año XIII. The first official oath to the flag took place on February 13, 1813, by the Salado River, known as the “Río Juramento”.

A key victory in the Argentine War of Independence, the Battle of Salta was a notable conflict fought under the authorised flag. Ultimately, the flag was formally recognised as the national flag of Argentina by the Congress of Tucumán on July 20, 1816, a short time after the country proclaimed independence.

The May Revolution of 1810 was symbolised by the addition of the Sun of May to the flag in 1818. The sun eventually became an essential component of the flag, representing the perseverance of the country rather than combat.

Today, the Argentine flag remains a cherished emblem of the nation’s history and identity. It symbolises the struggle for freedom and independence and serves as a reminder of the unwavering spirit of the Argentine people.

Argentina flag meaning

The flag of Argentina holds deep symbolism and historical significance that reflect the country’s struggle for independence and its cultural heritage. At the centre of the flag is the Sun of May, a radiant golden yellow sun with a human face and thirty-two rays. This iconic sun symbolises Inti, the Incan god of the sun, according to Diego Abad de Santillán.

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The specification “of May” is a reference to the May Revolution of 1810, which marked the beginning of Argentina’s independence from Spanish colonial rule. It is said that as the new government was proclaimed during the revolution, the sun broke through the clouds and was deemed as a positive omen.

The design of the Sun of May is influenced by European heraldry, namely the representation of the “sun in splendour”. The sun’s representation, which has a human face and rays that alternate between being straight and wavy to symbolise heat and light, is influenced by European art.

The flag’s horizontal blue and white stripes stand for the Argentine people’s solidarity in their fight for independence. It honours the bravery and tenacity of those who battled for Argentina’s independence. The wide-open sky and snow-capped Andes mountains of the country are evoked by these hues, signifying the distinct character and scenic splendour of the nation.

Argentina flag colours

Argentina flag colours

The official CIE 1976 standard is used to establish the colours of the Argentine flag. This piece examines the Argentine flag’s colours and what they represent:

  1. Sky Blue (Azul Cielo): The blue in the flag is often associated with the sky, clouds and the sun. It reflects the vastness of Argentina’s skies and the nation’s natural beauty. Some anthems to the flag, like “Aurora” or “Salute to the Flag”, emphasise this connection to the sky and sun.
  1. Yellow (Amarillo): The vibrant yellow symbolises the sun, which is a crucial element of the flag’s symbolism. The Sun of May, a radiant golden yellow sun at the centre of the flag, represents Inti, the Incan god of the sun. It also signifies the May Revolution of 1810, a significant moment in Argentina’s fight for independence.
  1. Brown (Marrón): Brown, often less emphasised, is one of the original colours of the flag and is attributed to loyalty towards the House of Bourbon. The precise historical significance of brown in the flag is debated among historians. It adds depth to the flag’s design.

The blue colour of the flag has been a subject of historical debate. Historians and Manuel Belgrano’s descendants differ on whether it was originally pale blue or dark blue. This discrepancy adds to the mystique surrounding the flag’s creation.

The colours of the Argentine flag are now determined by particular colour codes for usage in computer, textile, print and plastic applications, among other uses. The flag continually keeps its classic appearance because of these colour guidelines. The colours of the Argentine flag continue to have great cultural and historical importance for the country, regardless of the exact tints.

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