Puerto Rico

The Flag of Puerto Rico

There’s no better way to show off your Puerto Rican pride than by displaying its flag for everyone to see. As a quick refresher, Puerto Rico is a US territory in the Caribbean made up of a main island and several smaller ones nearby. For those of you who want to sport the flag, here’s a little bit of history. In 1895, a group of Puerto Ricans met in Manhattan as an organized political group that wanted independence for Cuba and Puerto Rico from Spanish control. This group was loosely connected to the Cuban Revolutionary Party, and the flag was created to use as a national symbol to rally behind in their struggle. The Puerto Rican flag has five stripes, alternating red and white, and then on the left is a white five-pointed star in the middle of a blue triangle. Symbolically, the white star is the Commonwealth itself, the three sides of the triangle are the three branches of the government (executive, legislative, and judicial), the red stripes are the blood that feeds the government, the white stripes are the rights of man and the freedoms of the individual. Collectively, it is a history lesson, a moral compass, and a reminder of the need to remain vigilant to keep a democratic government plausible. You’ll also note that it’s identical to the Cuban flag, but with the colors inverted. The original flag used a lighter blue tone while the later one showed a darker blue more similar to the US’s palette. The reasons for the color shift are unclear, but after the flag’s 100th anniversary, some of them have moved back to the original sky blue. Though the Puerto Rican flag is now proudly displayed alongside the US flag, at one point it was a mark of resistance to the United States. Police actually used to arrest anyone displaying the flag. However, when Puerto Rico became a Commonwealth in 1952, it was officially adopted as the national flag, and since then been flown alongside the Stars and Stripes. One interesting historical note is that the first US flag flown in Puerto Rico had 45 stars on it. Puerto Rico has 78 municipalities inside its borders, and each area has its own flag that that represents it as well, many of which have designs derived from the country’s coat of arms. It’s typical to see the town flag, the Puerto Rican flag, and the US flag all flown at competitions and sporting events. Many famous athletes have come bearing the Puerto Rican flag, including football, baseball (it has the second-most active players in the MLB among Latin-American countries), and basketball players. Several famous boxers have also come from the islands, seven who are in the International Boxing Hall of fame, all sporting their national identity and pride. Also interesting to note is that since Puerto Rico is considered an independent nation, at the Olympics, athletes can either represent Puerto Rico or the United States. Now if you see that particular flag, you’ll know all about it!