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República de Cuba, Republic of Cuba

Last modified: 2006-01-21 by dov gutterman
Keywords: cuba | caribbean | star | america |
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image by Željko Heimer, 3 June 2001

Official Name: Republic of Cuba (República de Cuba)
Capital: Havana
Location: Caribbean
Government Type: Communist State
Flag adopted: 20 May 1902
Flag Designer: Narciso López (1849)
Coat of Arms adopted: 24 April 1906
ISO Code: CU

See also:

Other sites:

The Flag

The official version of the Cuban government about the meaning of the shapes and colors of the cuban flag says that the blue stripes refer to the three old divisions of the island, the two white to the strength of the independentist ideal, the red triangle stands for equality, fraternity and freedom as well as for the blood split in the strugle for independence and the lone star symbolizes the absolute freedom among the peoples
M.V. Blanes , 19 Febuary 2000

Wasn't it so, that the star in the Cuban flag, at least at start, was meant to become one of the stars in the Stars and Stripes ? The Cubans wanted to belong to the US at that time (late 19th Century).
Elias Granqvist, 23 June 2000

Crampton's 'World of Flags', 1990, has: "The white star (La Estrella Solitaria) represented a new state to be added to the USA. The red, white, and blue also referred deliberately to the Stars and Stripes." (p. 32)
Eve Devereux, in: 'Flags, the illustrated Identifier to flags of the world', 1994, has: "The ironic similarity between the "Lone Star" flag of Cuba and the Stars and Stripes of its arch enemy, the USA, is far from coincidental. The design can be traced to 1849 and General Narciso López (d. 1851), a Venezuelan filibuster who, living in the USA, was anxious to liberate Cuba from the Spanish and claim it for his adopted country - hence the single star, to be added to the others." (p. 10)
Jarig Bakker, 23 June 2000

From Album 2000 [pay00] - National Flag (CSW/CSW (1:2)) - Five striped blue-white-blue-white-blue flag with red trangle at hoist with a white star in it.
Željko Heimer, 3 June 2001

As for the Cuban flag, I have seen many in South Florida and one on a Cuban freighter in Toronto harbor. The one on the freighter used a dark blue. The ones I've seen here use a medium to medium-dark shade. Never have I seen a Cuban flag in light blue.
Al Kirsch, 3 July 2001

According to Whitney Smith, there is no official specification of the shade of blue of the Cuban flag. In Album des Pavillons 2000, I give as approx code numbers 186c and 280c.
Armand du Payrat, 4 January 2002

I would like to point out that the true color of the Cuban flag is turquoise blue and not the ocean blue you show in your site.The reason why the color is almost always ocean blue is purely, or impurely, commercial:   the flag manufacturers, possibly non-Cuban, found it cheaper to produce one instead of the other. When seen in its true color, which represents our sky, the beauty of the Cuban flag can leave one breathless. Although you do give the precise measurements, your description is not truly the "official" one:  " Three light blue stripes, later changed to ocean blue".  Changed?  By whom?
R. García Bárcena, 6 May 2002

My parents visited Cuba last month and bought a flag at the airport of Havana. The colour of the blue field is indeed "ocean blue" as shown on our website. The probability that the flag they bought was manufactured in a foreign country is extremely low. I have also photos taken in Havana by my mother, showing the Cuban national flag vertically displayed among revolutionary mottos painted on a wall in Havana, and here again the flag is "ocean blue".
Ivan Sache, 6 May 2002

Could it be that this tourqouise blue is the old blue, as shown in the old Cuban presidential flag, and the ocean blue we now have is the more modern blue?
Manuel L. Quezon, 7 May 2002

If so, it was a rather transient blue, since Flaggenbuch already made a clear distinction between the blue shades of the national and Presidential flags. By the way, the current Presidential flag is still turquoise blue.
Ivan Sache, 7 May 2002

I believe "azul turqui o azul marino" should be translated to "turquoise blue or navy blue". I've translated "azul marino" to navy blue which is more accurate than ocean blue.  It refers to the same color using different names.  The different shades of blue is problably due to flagmakers using the turq. blue as indicated by their color charts rather than dark turq. blue (navy blue) that is intended.
Marcos Obregon, 30 July 2002

La bandera de Cuba is prescribed in the Constitution as follows:
Capítulo I - Fundamentos Politicos, Sociales y Economicos del Estado
Art. 2. Los símbolos nacionales son los que han presidido por más de cien años las luchas cubanas por la independencia, por los derechos del pueblo y por el progreso social: la bandera de la estrella solitaria; el himno de Bayamo; el escudo de la palma real.
[Text from Georgetown University's Political Data Base of the Americas <>]
Chapter I - Political, Social and Economic Principles of the State
Art. 2. The national symbols are those which have presided over hundred years in the Cuban struggles for independence, the rights of the people and social progress: The lone star flag; The Bayamo anthem; The royal palm shield.
[After the translation given by P. Vagnat & J. Poels in Constitutions - What they tell us about national flags and coat of arms]
The text quoted above comes from the Constitution of 24 February 1976. When the Constitution was amended  in 1992, that text remained unchanged but was moved down to Art. 4.
Ivan Sache, 17 March 2003

On the red triangle in the flag, this is very similar to the "typical" Cuban country dress of a red kerchief worn around the neck, which forms a triangle over the back a white cotton or linnen shirt. Adding the blue stripes to this very common image would create the flag.  
The Cuban national bird, the tocororo, sports red, white, and blue plumage.
Hiram Diaz, 11 January 2005

History of the Flag

From Barraclough and Crampton: Flags Of the World (1981) [brc81]: "A Venezuelan general, Narciso López, made in 1848 the first serious attempt to help Cuba break away from Spanish rule. He carried 'La Estrella Solitaria' -'The Lone Star'-banner, Cuba's present flag. (While he was having important meetings on the revolution, his wife embroidered it). His attempt was not successful; only in 1902 Cuba became an independent republic and López's flag was adopted as the official flag. The three blue stripes are the symbols of the original three provinces. The triangle is a masonic symbol, here signifying liberty, equality and fraternity. The red color is for the blood sacrificed by the Cuban patriots.
Jarig Bakker, 29 October 1998

From <>: "The year was 1849. It was a steamy hot day in New York City and General Narciso López, of Venezuelan origin, had joined the fight for Cuba's independence. Exhausted from planning all that was entailed in bringing Revolution to Cuba, he sat a local park, and quickly fell asleep. He was concerned about the pending arrival in Cuba. He felt a flag was necessary to add patriotic fervor to the endeavor. When he awoke in the park, the colors of the splendorous sky allowed him to envision the would-be flag. Full of emotion, he went to his friend, a poet and soon-to-be patriot, Miguel Teurbe Tolon, who incorporated Narciso's ideas and designed the flag which was later sewn by Emilia Teurbe Tolon.
And so it was: Three light blue stripes, later changed to ocean blue, representing Cuba's three sections at the time, Western, Central and Eastern. The two white stripes representing the purity and justice of the patriotic liberators' motives. While the lone white star within the equilateral red traingle represents the unity of our people upon the blood spilled by our revolutionary heroes. "
Dov Gutterman, 9 January 1999

When Cuba became independent from Spain on May 20, 1902, Céspedes Flag was officially designated the flag of the city of his birth: Bayamo, Oriente, and the flag which Venezuelan-born, Cuban patriot, Narciso López flew in the city of Cárdenas on May 19, 1850, was officially designated the Cuban national flag. In honor of Cespedes and the bravery of the residents of Bayamo, who during the 10 Year War burned the prosperous city to the ground and moved to the forrest rather than surrender it to the Spaniards, Bayamo was proclaimed a "National Monument" and from then on would have its name proceeded by the initials M.N. for "Monumento Nacional." Since Cuba gained independence from Spain, the flag of Bayamo is displayed alongside the Cuban national flag at official ceremonies and events.
Dr. Eladio José Armesto, 1 April 2002

Construction Sheet

image by Željko Heimer, 3 June 2001

The construction details are given beside the figure at Album 2000 [pay00], giving width of each stripe as 2, the length of the flag, therefore, as 20. The star is inscribed in a circle of diameter 3. Not indicated on the figure (not to overcomplicate it) is that the triangle is equilateral (this shown on my image by giving each angle 60 degrees) and the center of the circle circumscribing the star being in the center of gravity of the triangle (therefore in the crossing of bisectors of the angles).
Željko Heimer, 3 June 2001

The 1939 Flaggenbuch gives a very detailed spec, but places the star within an imaginary circle equalling 1/3 of flag width, as opposed to the 3/10 given in the Album
Christopher Southworth, 16 March 2004

Vertical Flag

image by Željko Heimer, 27 June 2002

Apparently, the cuban parliament just changed the country's constitution in order to make the socialist regime untouchable by the legislators. This was an information given today on our TV, and the brief report showed images of the cuban parliament in La Havana. There where two flags in display, both vertical, and both attached to the wall behind the honour tribune, where major officials seat. These flags where on both sides of the Cuban CoA, which was in the center of the wall. To the right of the CoA (viewer's left) there was the cuban flag, in a vertical variation (I didn't notice if the star was rotated or not, though) and to the other side, there was vertical Céspedes Flag.
Jorge Candeias, 27 June 2002

The image found by Ned also shows how the cuban national flag appears when displayed vertically. Not surprisingly, it's also a simple rotation of the horizontal flag, therefore without the rotation of the star that could be hypothesized for that situation.
Jorge Candeias, 28 June 2002

My parents went to Cuba this summer and took several pictures of vertical Cuban flags used as mural decoration which confirmed your answer. There is also a famous black and white photography of a Revolution meeting given by the Three Commanders, which shows the upper part of a vertical flag with non-rotated star. The photography was taken by Raul Corrales, and the postcard showing it is entitled: "Tres Comandantes (Fidel, Camilo, Che). Cuba 1959." The Three Commanders are Fidel Castro, Camilo Cienfuegos, and Ernesto "Che" Guevara, respectively..
Ivan Sache, 7 July and 13 August 2002