The flag of any country is not just a piece of cloth that symbolizes the nation. It is much more than that. A flag is the epitome of their independence, their values, and their culture. It bears historical significance and has a place of pride and respect in the hearts of the countrymen. Every flag is designed with elements that represent the nation, its people, and their values. A nation's flag actually becomes the signature of the country. A fluttering flag brings pride in the minds of the people of that country. They look up to their flag as an emblem of their nation. The design of every nation's flag has a history behind it. Each of the colors and signs that are depicted on the flag bear some significance.
Mexico, located in the southern part of North America, world's 14th largest country by area, is proud of its rich culture that reflects its history. The symbolism of the colors of the Mexican flag have changed over time. History has witnessed many modifications to the flag due to which it has been changed four times.
The design of the Mexican flag had first been used as early as in 1821. It was then that the first Mexican National Flag was created. The flags that were designed during Mexico's War of Independence, highly influenced the design of their first national flag. Many historians believe that the Standard of the Virgin of Guadalupe was the first Mexican flag. Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a Mexican Roman Catholic priest and revolutionary leader carried it during the Grito de Dolores, the battle cry of the Mexican War of Independence on September 16, 1810. The army of the Mexican War of Independence used the Standard as their symbol. During that war, the revolutionary leader Jose Maria Morelos used a flag that bore the image of the Virgin and an insignia depicting a crowned eagle on a cactus over a three-arched bridge. It also contained the three letters V.V.M. that was a message saying," Long live Virgin Mary". Apart from these flags, the army also used a blue, red and white striped flag.
The nation's War of Independence culminated in Mexico attaining independence from Spain. The unified Army of the Three Guarantees used the flag featuring the red, green, and white colors after this war. Some designs bearing similarity with the Mexican Flag included the naval tricolor flag consisting of an eagle with a crown over his head and a military flag that featured an eagle larger than the one on the national flag.
Augustine de Iturbide ordained the first national flag in November 1821. It was officially used for the first time in July 1822. After the end of the empire, the use of this flag was abolished.
At the time of establishment of the first federal republic, during April 1823, a new variant of the Mexican flag came up. It featured an eagle with a snake in its right talon. The crown from above its head was removed. A branch of oak and laurel branches were added to the flag. This flag was no longer used since 1864 after the federal republic dissolved.
The Second Mexican Empire brought about the third official flag. The red, green and white stripes were retained. This time, the white stripe contained the national arms. Four eagles with crowns on their heads were placed at the four corners of the flag. In 1867, this flag was given up and the second national flag was brought into use once again.
Later in 1968, on September 16, the Mexican flag that is used today, came into being. It received official confirmation as the national flag of Mexico on February 24, 1984. Architect Francisco Eppens Helguera designed the coat of arms. This flag of the current times is a tricolor consisting of green, white, and red vertical stripes with the coat of arms at the center in the white portion. The coat of arms is an image of an eagle with a serpent held in its talon. The eagle is shown to have perched atop a prickly pear cactus, with the cactus grown on a rock raised from a lake. Today, the colors have their own meanings. Green stands for hope, white for purity, and red stands for religion.
Two variants of the Mexican flag allowed by law are, one that is used by the President of Mexico and the secretaries of federal bodies, and the other, which the State government and federal bodies use. In the first variant, the coat of arms is colored in gold and the stone, lake, and talons of the eagle are silver. In the second design, even these objects on the flag are golden in color.
Throughout history, the Mexican flag has undergone changes in the coat of arms. The three colors have been retained through all the versions of the flag design. Mexicans have always taken care of adding a Mexican touch to their flag. Each revision in the design of their flag was in a way, an attempt to each time make the flag even more representative of Mexico. The present-day national Mexican flag is the fourth one in design, fluttering proudly as a classic insignia of Mexico.