The Flag of Spain

History of the Spanish Flag The current Spanish flag, with its red and yellow bars and national ensign can be traced back to 1783. Charles III, King of Spain, wanted a flag to represent his reign, and asked an artist to come up with several designs. The artist came up with twelve, and Charles chose the one Spain currently has, which was based on the flag of the Spanish navy. However, the flag remained mostly a military ensign until 1843, when Queen Isabella II made the flag the official emblem of the country. It has remained remarkably consistent for two hundred and fifty years, except for the years of 1931-1939 when the Second Republic was in power and changes were made to the coat of arms. The red-gold-red triband design has remained the same since 1783. The Meaning of its Colors and Symbols The flag of Spain features two colors in three horizontal bands: red, gold, and red. The middle stripe is gold and twice the width of the red stripes. It also has the national coat of arms, just on the “hoist” side, closest to the flagpole, of the flag’s center. As with most flags, the colors have symbolic meaning. Red represents the strength, determination, courage and valour of the Spanish people. Yellow is a symbol of generosity and unity. The Spanish national coat of arms, also featured on the flag, has been used for centuries, but was only officially approved in 1981. It includes a combination of six different images representing Spain. It’s topped by 3 crowns, standing for the old kingdoms of Spain, the Holy Roman Empire, and the Spanish royal crown. On either side are the Pillars of Hercules, which represent supporters of the nation, along with the motto “Plus Ultra,” meaning “further beyond.” Other symbols in the coat of arms represent the Kingdom of Leon, the Crown of Aragon, the Kingdom of Navarre, the Kingdom of Grenada, and the House of Bourbon. Different Variations of the Flag of Spain From 1931 until the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1939, the Spanish flag looked slightly different. It had three equal horizontal stripes of red, gold and purple or indigo, with the coat of arms slightly smaller in the yellow field. This is still a popular flag for Spanish communists and communist sympathizers and can often be seen at anti-NATO or other demonstrations. Another popular contemporary flag features the current triband, but instead of a Spanish coat of arms, the silhouette of an Osborne bull is superimposed. This is flown mostly at national sporting events, with the bull symbolizing the competitive spirit of Spanish athletes. The flag of Spain is reflected in the flag of New Mexico as homage to their Spanish past. The Royal Standard, the flag of the royal house, features the national coat of arms, but it is displayed against a navy blue background, rather than the red or gold of the traditional flag.