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Civil Ensign 1785-1927 (Spain)

Bandera Mercante

Last modified: 2005-11-19 by santiago dotor
Keywords: ensign: civil | stripes: 2 (red) | stripes: 5 (yellow-red) |
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[Civil Ensign 1785-1927 (Spain)] 2:3 | stripes 1+1+2+1+1
by Željko Heimer
Flag adopted 1785, abolished 1927

See also:


The Spanish civil ensign from 1785 to shortly before 1931 was a yellow field with narrow red stripes near the top and bottom. It was essentially five stripes of yellow, red, yellow, red, yellow in proportions 1:1:2:1:1.

Nick Artimovich, 10 April 1996

In 1785 King Charles III decided it was time to replace the current war ensign, white with the Spanish coat-of-arms, for a new, distinct ensign which could not easily be mistaken with those of other countries (mainly Bourbon-ruled ones as France, Parma, Tuscany or Two Sicilies but also the British white ensign). As a result there was a contest (...) Red, yellow, white and blue were preferred to other colours. (...) It is probable that cost of the material, ease of production and long distance reconnaisance capability played a role as important, if not much more, than tradition. (...) One of the proposals (...) was selected —though without the coat-of-arms— to become the new (...) civil ensign.


  • Calvo and Grávalos 1983 [cag83]
  • Fernández Gaytán 1985 [fgy85]

Santiago Dotor, 8 July 1999

National Geographic 1917 shows a jack in the yellow-red-yellow-red-yellow 1+1+2+1+1 pattern, thus equal to the merchant flag shown above.

Željko Heimer, 6 August 2001

This is a mistake in National Geographic 1917 since until 1945 the naval jack was the same as the war ensign and merchant ships had no jack.

Luis Miguel Arias, 15 July 2003