Flag of Argentina
The national flag of Argentina is a triband, composed of three equally wide horizontal bands coloured light blue, white and light blue. There are multiple interpretations on the reasons for those colours. The flag was created by Manuel Belgrano, in line with the recent creation of the Cockade of Argentina, and was first raised at the city of Rosario on February 27, 1812, during the Argentine War of Independence. The National Flag Memorial was later built on the site. The First Triumvirate did not approve the use of the flag, but the Asamblea del Año XIII allowed the use of the flag as a war flag. It was the Congress of Tucumán which finally designated it as the national flag, in 1816. In 1818, a yellow Sun of May was added to the center.
The full flag featuring the sun is called the Official Ceremonial Flag (Spanish: Bandera Oficial de Ceremonia). The flag without the sun is considered the Ornamental Flag (Bandera de Ornato). While both versions are equally considered the national flag, the ornamental version must always be hoisted below the Official Ceremony Flag. In vexillological terms, the Official Ceremonial Flag is the civil, state and war flag and ensign, while the Ornamental Flag is an alternative civil flag and ensign.
The Flag of Argentina was created by Manuel Belgrano during the Argentine War of Independence. While being in Rosario he noticed that both the royalist and patriotic forces were using the same colors, Spain's yellow and red. After realizing this, Belgrano created the Cockade of Argentina, which was approved by the First Triumvirate on February 18, 1812. Encouraged by this success, he created a flag of the same colours nine days later. It used the colors that were used by the Criollos during the May Revolution in 1810. However, recent research and studies would indicate that the colors were chosen from the coat of arms of the House of Bourbon the royal family of Spain, and that during the May Revolution the color used by the criollos was a red piece of cloth, as pointed by the popular historian Felipe Pigna. Most portraits about the creation or first uses of the flag show the modern design of it, but the original one (kept at a museu in Sucre, Bolivia) was instead a vertical triband with two white bands and a light blue one in the middle. The flag was first flown, for the soldiers to swear allegiance to it, on 27 February 1812, on the Batería Libertad (Liberty Battery), by the Paraná River. On that day, Belgrano said the following words
“ Soldiers of the Fatherland, we have heretofore had the glory of wearing the national cockade; there (pointing to the Independence battery) shall our weapons enlarge their glory. Let us swear to defeat our enemies, internal and external, and South America will become the temple of Independence and Freedom. In testament that you so swear it, say with me: Long life to the Homeland!" (after the oath) "Lord Captain and troops chosen for the first time for the battery Independence: go, take possession of it and fulfill the oath you have just sworn ”
Belgrano dispatched a letter addressed to the First Triumvirate, informing them of the newly created flag. However, unlike with the cockade, the Triumvirate did not accept the use of the flag: the international policy by the time was to state that the government was ruling on behalf of Ferdinand VII king of Spain captive of Napoleón, whenereas the creation of a flag was a clear independentist act. Thus, the triumvirate sent a warning to Belgrano not to fight under the flag, but by the time the reply had arrived, Belgrano had moved to the north, following the previous orders that requested him to strengthen the patriotic position in the Upper Peru after the defeat of Juan José Castelli at the Battle of Huaqui. Meanwhile, the flag was hoisted for the first time in Buenos Aires atop the Saint Nicholas of Bari Church on August 23, 1812; where nowadays the Obelisk of Buenos Aires is located. Still not knowing about the Triumvirate's refusal, Belgrano raised the flag at San Salvador de Jujuy and had it blessed by the local church on the second anniversary of the May Revolution. Belgrano accepted the orders from the Triumvirate by time they arrived to Salta and ended using the flag. As soldiers had already made oaths to the new flag, Belgrano said that he was saving it for the circumstance of a great victory.
The First Triumvirate was later replaced by the Second Triumvirate, with a more liberal ideology, who called the Asamblea del Año XIII. Despite being one of the original goals, it did not declare independency, and so neither approve the use of a national flag; nevertheless, the flag made by Belgrano was authorized to be used as a War flag. The first oath to the newly approved flag was on February 13, 1813, next to the Salado River, which as also known since then as "Río Juramento" ("Oath River"). The first battle fought with the approved flag was the Battle of Salta, a decisive patriotic victory that achieved the complete defeat of royalist Pío Tristán.
The flag would be finally declared the National flag by the Congress of Tucumán on July 20, 1816, shortly after the declaration of independence. The proposal was made by the deputy Juan José Paso and the text written by the deputy of Charcas, José Serrano. On February 25, 1818, the Congress (now working at Buenos Aires) included the Sun of May in the War flag, after the proposal of deputy Chorroarín. The sun was copied after the one that the first Argentine coin featured in 1813. It was subsequently decided to be part of the regular flag afterwards, and thus the sun no longer represents war.
José de San Martín was aware of the new flag, but did not employ it during the Crossing of the Andes in 1817. Being a joint operation of both Argentine and Chilean forces, he thought that a new flag would be a better idea than using either the Argentine or Chilean flag. This led to the creation of the Flag of the Andes, used in the Crossing. This flag is currently used as provincial flag by the Mendoza province.
On June 8, 1938, president Roberto Ortiz sanctioned the national law Nº 12.361 declaring June 20 "Flag Day", a national holiday. The date was decided after the anniversary of Belgrano's death in 1820. In 1957 the National Flag Memorial (a 10,000 m² monumental complex) was inaugurated in Rosario to commemorate the creation of the flag, and the official Flag Day ceremonies have been customarily conducted in its vicinity since then.
In 1978 it was specified, among other measurements, that the Official Ceremony Flag should be 1.4 meters wide and 0.9 meters high, and that the sun must be embroidered.
Reasons for the colors
Popular belief attributes the colours to those of the sky, clouds and the sun; some anthems to the flag like "Aurora" or "Salute to the flag" state so as well. However, historians usually disregard such idea, and attribute them to either the devotion of Virgin Mary or loyalty to the House of Bourbon.
Virgin Mary is usually represented dressed in white and with a light blue piece of cloth. She was the patron of the Commerce Consulate of Buenos Aires, directed by Manuel Belgrano, and it is though that the Consulate used a white and light blue flag. Belgrano himself had strong catholic beliefs. The soldiers of Juan Martín de Pueyrredón may have also used white and light blue ribbons for self-identification during the British invasions of the Río de la Plata, which were taken from the sanctuary of the Virgin of Luján.
Another interpretation attributes the colours to those of the House of Bourbon. Since the May Revolution, the first times of the Argentine War of Independence claimed to be acting in behalf of the Spanish King Ferdinand VII, who was prisoner of Napoleón Bonaparte during the Peninsular War. Whenever such loyalty was real or a trick to conceal independentism is a topic of dispute. The creation of a new flag with those colours would have been then a way to denote autonomy, while keeping the relations with the captive king alive.
Shape and size
From 1978, the flag's official proportions are 9:14, and its official size is 0.9 by 1.4 meters. It features three stripes alternating cerulean blue - white. Each stripe is 30 centimeters high. In the center stripe there is an emblem known as the Sun of May (Spanish: Sol de Mayo), a golden sun. The Sun is modeled after the symbol of Inti, the Incan god of the Sun. Flags with proportions of 1:2 and 2:3 are also in use.
Sun of May
The sun, called the Sun of May, is a replica of an engraving on the first Argentine coin, approved in 1813, whose value was eight escudos (one Spanish dollar). It has 16 straight and 16 waved sunbeams.
In 1978 the sun color was specified to be golden yellow (amarillo oro), to have an inner diameter of 10 cm, and an outer diameter of 25 cm (the diameter of the sun equals 5 / 6 the height of the white stripe. The sun's face is 2 / 5 of its height). It features 32 rays, 16 undulated and 16 straight, in alternation and from 1978 it must be embroidered in the "Official Flag Ceremony".
Influence of the Argentine flag
The Argentine commander Louis-Michel Aury used the Argentine flag as a model for the blue-white-blue flag of the first independent state in central America, which was created 1818 in Isla de Providencia, an island off the east coast of Nicaragua. This state existed until approximately 1821, before Colombia took over control of these islands. Somewhat later (1823) this flag was again the model for the flag of the United Provinces of Central America, a confederation of the current Central American states of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica, which existed from 1823 to 1838. After the dissolution of the Union, the five countries became independent, but even today all of these states except Costa Rica use flags of blue-white-blue stripes. The Argentine flag also inspired the flags of Uruguay and Paraguay.
Anthems to the flag
Alta en el cielo, un águila guerrera
Audaz se eleva en vuelo triunfal.
Azul un ala del color del cielo,
Azul un ala del color del mar.
Así en el alta aurora irradial.
Punta de flecha el áureo rostro imita.
Y forma estela el purpurado cuello.
El ala es paño, el águila es bandera.
Es la bandera de la patria mía,
del sol nacida que me ha dado Dios.
Es la bandera de la Patria Mía,
del sol nacida que me ha dado Dios.
High in the sky, a warrior eagle
rises audacious in its triumphal flight
One wing is blue, sky-coloured;
one wing is blue, sea-coloured.
In the high radiant aurora
its golden face resembles the tip of an arrow.
And its purple nape leaves a wake.
The wing is cloth, the eagle is a flag.
It is the flag of the homeland
that God gave me, born of the sun.
It is the flag of the homeland
that God gave me, born of the sun.
Salve Argentina (Long live Argentina)
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bandera azul y blanca.
Jirón del cielo
en donde impera el Sol.
Tú, la más noble,
la más gloriosa y santa,
el firmamento su color te dio.
Yo te saludo,
bandera de mi Patria,
de libertad y honor.
como así defenderte,
mientras palpite mi fiel corazón.
Blue and white flag
Part of the sky
Where the sun reigns
You, The Most Noble
The Most Glorious and Saint
The sky gave you its colours
I salute you
Flag of my motherland
of freedom and honour
Swearing to love you
as well as to defend you
for as long as my faithful heart beats
Mi Bandera (My Flag)
Aquí está la bandera idolatrada,
la enseña que Belgrano nos legó,
cuando triste la Patria esclavizada
con valor sus vínculos rompió.
Aquí está la bandera esplendorosa
que al mundo con sus triunfos admiró,
cuando altiva en la lucha y victoriosa
la cima de los Andes escaló.
Aquí está la bandera que un día
en la batalla tremoló triunfal
y, llena de orgullo y bizarría,
a San Lorenzo se dirigió inmortal.
Aquí está, como el cielo refulgente,
ostentando sublime majestad,
después de haber cruzado el Continente,
exclamando a su paso: ¡Libertad!
Here is the idolized flag,
the flag that Belgrano left to us,
when the sad enslaved Homeland
bravely broke its bonds.
Here is the splendorous flag
that surprised the world with its victory,
when arrogant and victoriously during the fight
climbed the top of the Andes
Here is the flag that one day
triumphantly rose in the middle of the battle
and, full of pride and gallantry,
went immortally to San Lorenzo
Here it is, like the shining sky,
showing sublimate majesty
after having crossed the continent
shouting in its way: "Freedom!"
" Freedom! Freedom!"
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