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Flag of Argentina

What is the History and Significance of the Flag of Argentina?

Argentina, in South America, has as much a colorful history as is their country. Let's know more about the history involved with their flag.
Historyplex Staff
Last Updated: Feb 26, 2018
Flying Argentinian flag
The national flag of Argentina is a triband which was created in 1812. It consists of three equally wide horizontal bands which are in the order of light blue, white and light blue. A yellow sun known as the 'Sun of May' was added to the center of the flag in 1818. The flag featuring the sun is known as the 'Official Ceremonial Flag' while the flag without the sun is known as the 'Ornamental Flag'. Both the versions of the flags are considered to be national flags. However, the ornamental flag is always hoisted below the ceremonial flag. In simpler terms it can be stated that the Official Ceremony Flag is the civil, state and war flag and ensign while the Ornamental Flag is an alternate civil flag and ensign.

History of the Flag

It is believed that during the Argentine War of Independence, General Manuel Belgrano was commanding a battle near Rosario where he noticed that both their forces and the Crown's forces were using the Spain's color of yellow and red. Belgrano created a new flag using the colors from the coat of arms of the House of Bourbon which was the royal family of Spain. Also, the original flag was very different from the current flag and contained two vertical stripes, a blue and a white one. The first flag was flown on 27th February 1812 for the soldiers to swear allegiance to on the 'Bateria Libertad' by the Parana River.

The flag was hoisted for the very first time in Buenos Airies on August 23, 1812 from the top of the Saint Nicholas of Bari Church. The flag was adopted as a symbol by the Argentine National Congress after the declaration of independence on July 9, 1816.

There are many popular theories that the colors used in the flag represent the sky, clouds and the sun. There are also other theories that the blue color symbolized the clothing of Virgin Mary and the white color symbolizes the color silver. This is because the name Argentina has been derived from the Latin word for silver that is argentum.

Another popular theory is that the flag with the sun is a war flag while the flag without a sun is not a war flag. This was originally the case when the flag was approved by Congress in 1818 but this was changed later when it was decided that the sun would not represent the war any longer.

President of Argentina, Robert Ortiz sanctioned a law on June 8, 1938 declaring June 20 as the 'Flag Day' which would also be a national holiday. June 20th is the anniversary of Belgrano's death. Further, in 1957 the National Flag Memorial was inaugurated in Rosario. This is a 10,000 square meter monumental complex that was built to commemorate the creation of the flag. All official Flag Day ceremonies have been conducted in the vicinity of the complex since its inauguration.

Description of the Flag

In 1978, the flag of Argentina was defined as having proportion in the ration 9:14 and size of 0.9 meters by 1.4 meters. The flag has three stripes, the upper and lower stripe being cerulean blue in color while the middle stripe is white in color. Each stripe is thirty centimeters in height. An emblem consisting of a golden sun, known as the 'Sun of May' is present at the center of the middle white stripe. This sun has been designed after the symbol of Inti that is the Incan Sun god.

The 'Sun of May' is the replica of the engraving on the first Argentine coin which was approved in 1813. The engraving consists of 16 straight and 16 waved sunbeams. When the flag was standardized in 1978, the color of the sun was specified as golden yellow. The inner diameter of the sun was set as 10 cm while the outer diameter was set as 25 cm which equals 5/6 the height of the white stripe. The 32 rays present on the sun are divided into 16 undulated and 16 straight in an alternate fashion and the sun also has to be embroidered on the flag.