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Salta Province (Argentina)

Provincia de Salta

Last modified: 2006-08-19 by francisco gregoric
Keywords: salta | provincia de salta | sun: 32 rays | star: 6 points (white) | star: 6 points (silver) | star: 6 points (yellow) | stars: 23 | poncho | mourning | hexagram | department | güemes (martín miguel) |
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[Province of Salta flag] 100:141
by Francisco Gregoric, 04 Aug 2006

See also: Other sites:

Description of the flag

The flag of Salta was officially adopted by Law No. 6946 of the government of the province on June 5, 1997, after a contest for designing the flag organized by the Ministry of Education, under resolution No. 1820.

According to the members of the jury, more than four thousand proposals were presented.

The chosen design has the symbolic elements that appeared most times among the others proposals presented: the provincial coat of arms, the poncho of Salta, and a symbolic representation of the departments.

The flag has the color of the poncho of Salta: Burgundy (dark red). The field is of five horizontal stripes, from top to bottom, Burgundy, black, Burgundy, black and Burgundy of

This way of distributing the black and burgundy stripes resembles the traditional poncho used in the province of Salta.

Some of the devices at the center of the field have elements we find on the provincial coat of arms, but this symbol is not the coat of arms. The elements are: a light blue ellipse with a golden border. At the middle of the ellipse, a six pointed silver star with a yellow 32 rays sun at the center of that star. Around the ellipse, 23 smaller golden stars of similar design representing the 23 municipalities of the province. In both cases (central bigger silver star, and 23 smaller golden stars) they are also called spurs or spurs wheels.

António Martins, 02 Jun 1998, Luis Havas, 28 Sep 1999, Jaume Ollé, 01 Sep. 2000, Francisco Gregoric and Gus Tracchia, 04 Aug 2006

The flag color (dark-Burgundy-red,) resembles the tonality of the ponchos, used by the local gauchos during the war of independence 1810-1823. Much have been said about the origin and reason of the color: The gauchos were led by Martín Güemes, which many venture to say that his name is from Wymess from nearby Dundee, County of Fife, Scotland, and the color of the poncho, is derived from the tartan from the Wymes / McDuff clan. However archaeologists from Salta, theorize that ancient aboriginal cultures from the Calchaqui region of Salta, used this type of dark red already since it was made from local roots.
Gustav Tracchia, 27 Mar 2000

As explained by Prof. María Cristina Fernández during the International Congress of Vexillology XXI-Vexilobaires 2005, the design of the poncho of Salta is a traditional one. The dark-red color has been used for several centuries in the region.

The poncho of Salta has two characteristics:

    1- Black stripes, that were added as a mourning to pay homage to the Inca Emperor Atahualpa killed by the Spaniards in 1533.

    2- In 1821 General Martín Miguel de Güemes died after a serious wound by a royalist attack. To pay homage to him and as a sign of mourning, two black small bow ties where added at the point of the V neck collar of the poncho to pay homage to him. One at the front and the other on the back.
General Martín Miguel de Güemes was one of the most important heroes (and martyr) of the War of Independence and the Governor of the Intendence of Salta.

Between 1815 and 1821, General Güemes prevented several royalist invasions that came from Upper Perú (present day Bolivia) and helped to preserve the independence of the country.

These sagas are usually known as the "Guerra Gaucha" (Gaucho War), because Güemes troops were mounted gaucho soldiers who made often used of guerrilla warfare. Some of Güemes troops, wore the distinctive dark red poncho of the region.

Therefore, as with the flag of Salta, every time a salteño (person born in Salta) is wearing this poncho, he pays homage to General Martín Miguel de Güemes and the heroes of Independence. The flags does not have the black bow ties.
Francisco Gregoric, 04 Aug 2006

Flag Law

    LEY Nº 6946:

    Promulgada por Decreto Nº 2.663 del 14/06/97. Sancionada el 05/06/97. Bandera Oficial de la provincia de Salta. B.O. Nº 15.190. Exptes. Nºs. 91-6.662/96 y 91-7.247/97.

    Artículo. 1º.- Adóptase como Bandera Oficial de la provincia de Salta, el pabellón compuesto con el formato, colores y caracteres que establece la presente ley.

    Artículo 2º.- De acuerdo con el artículo anterior, la Bandera de la provincia de Salta, tendrá las siguientes características:

      1. El campo está formado por el poncho salteño de su color puesto en faja (horizontal).

      2. Tiene como esmaltes el gules (rojo) y dos bandas de sables (negro).

      3. Lleva como pieza de honor un escudo de azur (azul) fileteado de oro, con una espuela de plata abandonada de un sol de oro. Como ornamentos exteriores del escudo, el mismo está rodeado de veintitrés espuelas de oro.

      4. Las dimensiones que constan en el croquis anexo que forma parte de la presente, establecen las proporciones que deberán respetarse tanto en las medidas exteriores como interiores.

    Artículo 3º.- La Bandera de la provincia de Salta, deberá usarse dentro del territorio provincial en todos los organismos públicos provinciales o municipales y en todos los actos oficiales.

    La Bandera Oficial de la provincia de Salta, será izada en todos los actos oficiales en mástil separado de la Bandera Nacional, cuando se trate de un solo mástil se izará debajo de la Nacional.

    En las ceremonias oficiales la rendición de honores se cumplimentará exclusivamente para la enseña nacional.

    Concédese derecho a utilizar la bandera adoptada por la presente ley, a los particulares, entidades culturales y deportivas y organismos de carácter privado, en las condiciones establecidas en este artículo para los organismos públicos oficiales.

    Artículo 4º.- El Poder Ejecutivo implementará los medios para su confección, divulgación y utilización en todos los edificios y organismos públicos de la Provincia.

    Artículo 5º.- Comuníquese al Poder Ejecutivo.

    Salta, 05 de junio de 1997.

    Alejandro San Millán

    Promulgada como Ley de la Provincia el 14 de junio de 1997.

    Romero - Torino - Escudero.

Quoted by Jaume Ollé 1 Sep 2000 and Francisco Gregoric 04 Aug 2006

English Translation:

    LAW No. 6946:

    Promulgated by Decree No. 2663 on June 14, 1997. Sanctioned on June 05, 1997. Official Flag of the Province of Salta. Official Bulletin No. 15190. File Numbers 91-6662/96 and 91-7247/97.

    Article No. 1.- The Official Flag of the Province of Salta will be the one of the format, colors and characteristics established by this law.

    Article No. 2.- According to established in the last article, the Flag of the Province of Salta, will have the following characteristics:

      1. The field is made by the poncho of Salta per fees.

      2. Its colors are gules (red) and two stripes of sable (black).

      3. In the point of honor it has an azur (blue) coat of arms fimbriated in gold, with a silver spur with a golden sun. As external ornaments of the coat of arms, it is surrounded by twenty-three golden spurs.

      4. The dimensions that appear in the construction sheet next of this (law), establish the proportions that must be respected with the external well as with the internal measurements.

    Article No. 3.- The Flag of the Province of Salta, must be used inside the provincial territory in all the provincial and municipal public branches, as well as in all the official ceremonies.

    The Official Flag of the Province of Salta, will be hoisted in all the official ceremonies in a separate flag pole from the one for the National Flag; when one flag pole will be available, the flag will be hoisted below the National [flag].

    In official ceremonies, honors will be given only to the national flag.

    The flag could be used by citizens, cultural and sporting associations as well as private institutions, following the conditions established in this article for the official public branches.

    Article No. 4.- The Executive Power will take the measures for the manufacture, publication and use [of the flag] in all the buildings and public branches of the Province.

    Article No. 5.- Notify the Executive Power of the Government.

    Salta, June 05, 1997.

    Alejandro San Millán

    Promulgated as Provincial Law on June 14, 1997.

    Romero - Torino - Escudero.
Law translated by Francisco Gregoric and Gus Tracchia, 04 Aug 2006.

Construction sheet of the flag as attached with the text of the law

[Construction sheet of the Salta flag]
by Francisco Gregoric, based on information provided by Prof. María Cristina Fernández, 04 Aug 2006

According to the construction sheet next to the flag law, the flag is defined as 1 m × 1.41 m. The exact ratio is then of 100:141 (or it could be defined as approx. 5:7). The black stripes are 0.10 m wide, and are located 0.10 m from the edges. So the proportion should be

The central symbol (ellipse surrounded by 23 stars) is just defined by two dimensions [0.50 m × 0.43 m].

These figures should be considered as the dimensions of the external virtual ellipse that surrounds the 23 stars.

Therefore, the exact dimensions of the light blue ellipse, the six pointed silver star, the sun and the small 23 stars are not given in the construction sheet of the law.

All the dimensions defined in the flag law are just for an indoors flag.
Francisco Gregoric, 04 Aug 2006

Variations of the flag

The flag law defines the characteristics for the flag, however the central symbol is defined just in general terms, therefore different variants and details could co-exist.

Faceless sun flag

[Printed Province of Salta flag] 100:141
by Francisco Gregoric, 05 Aug 2006

Although the sun should have a face like the sun of the Provincial Coat of Arms and the sun of the Argentine National Flag, some outdoors printed flags of Salta have been made with a faceless sun.

In these outdoors flags, the central six pointed star is white instead of the silver embroidered star shown on the indoors flags.
Francisco Gregoric, 05 Aug 2006

Incorrect Salta flags

Sometimes flags with narrower black stripes could be seen. However these are wrong designs since the width of the black stripes is clearly defined by the construction sheet of the flag law, and the flag should be

Another wrong unofficial version that it is found in some flags is that they have a different ratio from the one defined by the legislation. The construction sheet of the flag law just defines one possible dimension and official ratio as 1 m wide × 1.41 m long.

Therefore, if making a flag bigger or smaller flag, the same ratio should be kept.

However longer flags of 3:5 ratio for example, could be seen.
Francisco Gregoric, 05 Aug 2006

Photos: Other sites: Other sources:
  • [???05] María Cristina Fernández (2005): La Bandera de la Provincia de Salta: La Historia, la Geografía y la Cultura, una significativa conjunción" (paper presented in the ICV 21 Vexilobaires 2005)
  • [pzz02] Alberto Rubén Perazzo (2002): Nuestras Banderas - Vexilología Argentina (second edition)
  • Personal comunication with Rodolfo Aredes and María Cristina Fernández

The colors of the flag in taxis

The cabs of the City of Salta are painted with the colors of the provincial flag. The central symbol appears in the front of the car, and the black stripes in the sides.
Francisco Gregoric, 05 Aug 2006

Photos: Other sources:
  • [???05] María Cristina Fernández (2005): La Bandera de la Provincia de Salta: La Historia, la Geografía y la Cultura, una significativa conjunción" (paper presented in the ICV 21 Vexilobaires 2005)
  • Personal comunication with María Cristina Fernández

Provincial Flag’s Day, Song and Monument

Flag’s Day

By Provincial Law No 7368, the 8 of October has been established as Salta Flag’s Day. This day was chosen because on October 8, 1814, the Province of Salta was created by order of Gervasio Antonio de Posadas, then the Supreme Director (President) of the United Provinces of the River Plate (Argentina).

Before, Salta had been a part of Tucumán Province. When Salta was established as an autonomous province its territory included also other areas that nowadays are part of Argentina and Bolivia, like Jujuy, Tarija and Santa María.
Francisco Gregoric, based on information provided by Rodolfo Aredes, 06 Aug 2006

    LEY Nº 7368

    Promulgada por Dcto. Nº 1964 del 29/09/05. Sancionada el 22/09/05. Institúyese como Día de la Bandera de la provincia de Salta el 08 de Octubre. B.O. Nº 17.228. Expte. Nº 91-15.630/05.

    Artículo 1º.- Instituir como Día de la Bandera de la provincia de Salta el 08 de Octubre.

    Artículo 2º.- Invítase a los particulares, entidades culturales y deportivas, y organismos de carácter no gubernamental a enarbolar la Bandera Provincial de Salta en la fecha indicada en el artículo anterior.

    Artículo 3º.- El Ministerio de Educación incorporará a partir de la promulgación de la presente Ley en los planes de estudio de los distintos niveles educativos la información y difusión de lo establecido en el artículo 1º.

    Artículo 4º.- Comuníquese al Poder Ejecutivo.

    Salta, 22 de setiembre de 2005.

    Dr. Manuel Santiago Godoy

    Promulgada como Ley de la Provincia el 29 de setiembre de 2005.

    ROMERO - Medina.

English Translation:

    LAW No. 7368

    Promulgated by Decree No. 1964 of September 29, 2005. Sanctioned on September 22, 2005. October 08 will be instituted as Province of Salta’s Flag Day. Official Bulletin No. 17228. Expedient No. 91-15630/05.

    Article No. 1.- October 08 will be instituted as Province of Salta’s Flag day.

    Article No. 2.-Citizens, cultural and sporting associations as well as branches of a non-government character are invited to hoist the Provincial Flag of Salta on the date indicated in the previous article.

    Article No. 3.- Based on what Article No. 1 establishes, The Ministry of Education will provide information and incorporate plans to implement the points elaborated, onto all school levels.

    Article No. 4.- Notify the Executive Power.

    Salta, September 22, 2005.

    Dr. Manuel Santiago Godoy

    Promulgated as Provincial Law on September 29, 2005.

    ROMERO - Medina.

Law translated by Francisco Gregoric and Gus Tracchia, 06 Aug 2006

On October 8, 2005 Salta Flag’s Day was celebrated for the first time. The governor of the Province Juan Carlos Romero alongside several provincial and national authorities, police, security and armed forces members were present in the ceremony.

More than 700 students from local schools took the oath to the provincial flag, and two schools received a provincial flag each.

Finally the new song “Bandera Salteña” was sung by several local singers.
Francisco Gregoric, 06 Aug 2006

Provincial Flag Song

According to the electronic newspaper "Salta al dia", 29 June 2005, the Secretary of Culture, appointed by the Governor of the Province, has launched a contest for the flag song of the province ("Canción a la Bandera de la Provincia"). The article seems to state that the lyrics of the song ("el texto literario") is the object of the context, not yet the music.

The contest is open to all the natives of the Province of Salta, wherever they live. The proposals will be recieved from 27 June to 13 July and the jury will deliberate from 14 to 19 July. The winner will be awarded 1,500 $, a plaque and a diploma.
Ivan Sache, 30 Jun 2005

On July 20, 2005 the government of Salta announced that after studying the proposals the jury decided that none of them reached the level wanted, and the contest was declared void. So, it was decided to ask again for new proposals to song writers.

Finally a song named “Bandera Salteña”, with music by Eduardo Falú, one of the most important folklorist composers of Argentina, and lyrics by Hugo Roberto Ovalle was chosen. During the celebration of Salta Flag’s Day on October 8, 2005, it was sung by the famous singers from Salta Juan Carlos Saravia and “Chango” Nieto, with the Chorus Arsis.
Francisco Gregoric, 06 Aug 2006

Provincial Flag Monument

A monument dedicated to the provincial flag was inaugurated in Salta City on July 6, 2005 by governor Juan Carlos Romero. According to information published in the Salta al Día digital newspaper and the INFOBAE newspaper, the monument is located in the Incas Avenue, next to the Civic Center Grand Bourg.

It was designed by architects Gustavo Meyer and Javier Zamarián who won a contest made by the provincial government. The monument is made of materials that could resist weather and vandalism.

The monument recalls the Pachamama (Mother Earth in Quechua Religion). It has central circular main plaza surrounded by 23 sculptures that recall each departments of the Province. The central square could be used in public meetings or ceremonies. It has the colors of the provincial flag of Salta. The monument also has vegetation spaces plus ramps and bridges allowing the visitor to reach the central area.
Francisco Gregoric, 06 Aug 2006

Other sites: Other sources:
  • Personal comunication with Rodolfo Aredes

Provincial Coat of Arms

[Province of Salta Coat of Arms]
by Francisco Gregoric, 06 Aug 2006

The provincial coat of arms of Salta was adopted by Law No. 2027 on September 21, 1946.

It has an oval shape like several Argentine provincial coats of arms. The color is light blue.

The six-pointed silver star recalls a star-shaped medal given to General Martín Miguel de Güemes after the victory of the Battle of Humahuaca in 1817 over the Spanish royalist army. The 32 rays sun with face stands for the efforts made by Salta during the Independence War.

Both laurel branches without any fruits symbolize the victories of Salta’s Armies. These branches are hold together by a light blue ribbon, like the one that appeared in the medal given to Güemes.
Francisco Gregoric, 06 Aug 2006

Other sources:
  • [???05] María Cristina Fernández (2005): La Bandera de la Provincia de Salta: La Historia, la Geografía y la Cultura, una significativa conjunción" (paper presented in the ICV 21 Vexilobaires 2005)

Historical flags of Salta

Flag of 1813

After some defeats on 1812 and beginning of 1813, the Army of the North commanded by General Manuel Belgrano, achieved three important victories: the battles of Las Piedras, Tucumán and Salta. Shortly after that, on May 25th, 1813, the cities of Salta and Jujuy celebrated the third anniversary of the May Revolution. General Manuel Belgrano was in Jujuy and as a present, gave a new flag to the city in order to replace the royalist standard used until then in parades during special ceremonies and occasions.

In the City of Salta, something similar happened. A new standard was raised that day to replace the royalist one. However this standard (or flag) was not apparently a gift by General Belgrano as in the case of Jujuy, but a new one made by the people of Salta themselves.

This new standard is described by the Governor-Mayor Feliciano Chiclana in a letter preserved at the Archivo General de la Nación (General National Archives) of Buenos Aires. That letter was sent on June 6, 1813, to the Executive Power of the United Provinces in Buenos Aires.

Chiclana writes:

"A las doce del día se enarboló por el Regidor Decano el Pendón de la Patria entre el festivo estruendo de salvas y repiques y generales aclamaciones con que los fieles hijos de este suelo hacían sensibles las tiernas emociones que les ocasionaba la insignia sagrada de nuestra libertad. Es el nuevo estandarte de color celeste y blanco con cordones, borlas y rapacejo del mismo color: por un costado se ven las armas del Estado, que son el árbol y gorra de la libertad sostenidas en dos brazos unidos, y rodeados de dos guirnaldas; por la parte superior un sol naciente, con esta inscripción en toda la circunferencia: SOBERANA ASAMBLEA GRAL. CONSTITUYENTE de las PROVINCIAS UNIDAS del RIO de la PLATA. Por el otro lado se advierten las Armas de la Ciudad que las forman un eminente cerro vestido de árboles que la hermosean, y dos caudalosos Ríos, que le bañan: en la cumbre se ve un indio en acción de disparar una saeta al español, que está al pie, y aunque hasta aquí en otros egemplares correspondía éste al amago de aquel; para este caso se reformó de modo que el español aparece tendido a presencia del indio, Alrdededor de estas armas y de todo el estandarte le hermosean por ambas fazes un lucido texido de oro y plata."

English translation:

"At twelve of the day [midday] the banner of the Motherland was raised by the Manager Dean (Regidor Decano) between the festive gun salutes and bell tolling and general acclamations of the faithful children of this soil [who] made sensible the sweet emotions that this holy ensign of our liberties gave them. It is the new standard of sky blue and white colors, with cords, tassels and fringe of the same color: in ONE side the arms of the State can be seen, which is of two united arms holding the tree [pole] and cap of Liberty, and surrounded by two wreaths; in the upper part a raising sun, with the following inscription in all the circumference: ASAMBLEA GRAL. CONSTITUYENTE de las PROVINCIAS UNIDAS del RIO de la PLATA. (Sovereign General Assembly of the United Provinces of the River Plate). On the other side the Coat of Arms of the City could be seen. [They are] made by an eminent hill dressed with tree that make it beautiful, and two full-flowing rivers, that bathe it: in the top an Indian can be seen [doing] the action of firing an arrow to a Spaniard, who is at the base, and even though until here in other models the later responded the thread made by the former; for this case it was changed, so the Spaniard appears lied down in presence of the Indian. Surrounding this arms and all the standards both sides are made more beautiful by a lucid fabric of gold and silver."

Translated by Francisco Gregoric and Gus Tracchia, 2 Jun 2006

Just by following the description is not possible to be completely sure of the exact shape and design of this standard or flag, because nothing is written about number or design of stripes. Some possibilities could be guessed: maybe, it could have been a horizontal two stripes bicolor flag of light blue and white. Several horizontal two stripes flags were used in those times. Or maybe it could have been a horizontal three stripes flag with the same configuration than the present day Argentine flag. And finally, another possibility is a design similar to the flag of Jujuy raised the same day, that was white, but the sky blue was present in the coat of arms.

There is not doubt that this standard or flag of Salta had two coats of arms. On one side the Sovereign General Assembly coat of arms (present day Argentine Coat of Arms), and on the other side a variant of the coat of arms of the City of Salta.

This second coat of arms described was a variation of the City of Salta traditional coat of arms. During the Spanish colonial times that coat of arms was made with a Spaniard conqueror fighting and defeating an Indian. But in this variant used by patriots in 1813, the Indian is winning the battle over the Spaniard.

[A variation of this design is still used as coat of arms of the City of Salta. Nowadays all the elements appear but the Indian at the top of the hill. The hill with trees, river and the Spaniard are present. It also has a dog.]

According to this description the standard had pieces of gold and silver. Apparently it was an embroidered standard (or at last some parts of it were embroidered), while the flag used the same day May 25, 1813 in the city of Jujuy was painted.

This text by Feliciano Chiclana is the only description known of this standard. There is just a second document written some days earlier that mentions that the flag value was 100 Pesos.

According to this lack of information, it could be said that apparently this flag may not have stayed for a long time. Maybe it could have been lost, hidden or destroyed during one of the several Spanish royalist invasions to Salta during the 1810s.

This flag raised in Salta on May 25, 1813 is one of the biggest vexillological misteries in Argentina’s History.
Francisco Gregoric, 07 Aug 2006

Other sites: Sources:
  • [cLm62] Luis Oscar Colmenares (1962): Las banderas de Salta y Jujuy
  • [cvl44] Dardo Corvalán Mendilaharsu (1944): Los Símbolos Patrios - Bandera - Escudo - Himno Nacional
  • Personal comunication with Rodolfo Aredes and María Cristina Fernández

A provincial flag of Salta used during Rosas and Urquiza times?

[Salta flag used during Rosas and Urquiza times?]
by António Martins, 11 Dec 2004

According to David Prando’s article in Banderas 79 [pdo01], Salta Province had its own flag in the 19 Century. Exact dates are not known, but the flag was created before 1836, and it was still in use in 1849. The images from Prando show two coats of arms where the flag is pictured, [in both images the flag is] swallow tailed.
Jaume Ollé, 12 June 2002

[Editor’s note: According to the article quoted, this flag may have been used sometime between 1829 and 1862 during the times of Juan Manuel de Rosas, and Justo José de Urquiza]

  • [pdo01] David Prando (2001): La bandera de Salta durante las épocas de Rosas y Urquiza [published in Banderas No.79, June 2001]

I am a History teacher from Salta Province. I can say that the 19 Century provincial flag of Salta you show, never existed. There was not any provincial flag in 1820-1849.

This flag you show appeared just as a drawing in a seal used for short time in the times of [Juan Manuel de] Rosas Argentine Confederation. In that seal, the flag appeared next to the Argentine national flag. But this flag was not a provincial flag. It was just a cavalry guidon called banderola de caballería in Spanish. It was used in long spears carried by cavalry soldiers. In Argentina these cavalry guidons usually had this shape.

Today, in cavalry military and gaucho parades it is still usual to see them carrying spears with guidons.
Juan José Saravia, 26 July 2006