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Mexico - National ensign

Civil ensign, merchant ensign / Bandera de la Marina Mercante

Last modified: 2005-12-24 by juan manuel gabino villascán
Keywords: mexico | ensign | merchant | insignia | marina mercante | arms | 1968 |
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[National Flag of Mexico]
[National Mexican Flag and Ensign]
by Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, August 31, 2001

See: See also:

National ensign

The Mexico National Ensign is the present-day National Flag according the Lesy sobre las características y el uso del Escudo, la Bandera e Himno Nacional, created by decree published in the DOF of August 17, 1968.
The articles 14 and 15 of that Law stated:

Article 14.- (...) Every single Mexican ship and aircraft shall carry the National Flag, and they shall used it according the corresponding laws and rules (...)

Article 15.- The National Flag shall be hoisted everyday on the "oficinas de población", customs, captainships of port (capitanías de puerto) and international airports.

This Law was abrogated and replaced by the currently in effect Ley sobre el Escudo, la Bandera y el Himno Nacionales, published on the DOF on February 23, 1984, to come into effect a day later: Feb. 24, 1984.
Though this law did not modified the National Flag and Coat of Arms features established by its predecessor, since it was promulgated to clarify some details about the National Anthem, several articles were arranged:

Article 15. (...) Every single Mexican aircraft and ship shall carry the National Flag and they shall use it according the corresponding laws and rules. (...)

Article 16. The National Flag shall be hoisted everyday on the buildings see of Powers of the Union, offices of the Migration Department, Customs, Capitanias de Puerto, International Airports; in the Diplomatic and Consular Representations abroad, and on the monumental hoist at the "Plaza de la Constitución" in the Republic's capital city.

Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, August 17, 2002.

National ensign: 1821-1823

[Variant of the Imperial Flag] [National ensign]
by Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, March 14, 2002

See: Mexico: Empire I (1821-1823)

National ensign: ca. 1840-1864/1865; 1897-1968

[Mexican civil ensign used in 1897-1968] 2:3 [Merchant marine ensign used in ca. 1840-1864/1865; 1897-1968] [National ensign no longer in use]
by Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, July 10, 2002

According the 1897 General Ordinance of the Navy, article ... , "The flag for use on the National Merchant Marine ships shall be the National one but without coat of arms".
Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, April 20, 2002

"The flag for use on the National Merchant Marine ships shall be the National one but without coat of arms".
(Article 1104, General Ordinance of the Navy -1912-).
Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, April 20, 2002

This was the Mexican Civil Ensign used until 1968, when by Decree a new flag with new arms should be used for all purposes.
However, a plain tricolor was used as National civil ensign since about 1840s. Although during the Second Empire (1864-1867) exact specifications were given to naval and military flags and ensigns, the first Republican government did so was the Porfirio Diaz's by means of a General Ordinance issued in 1897. Such Oridinance proportioned the National Ensign 2:3. Even the changes on the Arms, the Mexican Civil Ensign remained.
Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, July 20, 2002.

The question is often asked if the Mexican flag ever flies without the coat of arms on it. The short answer is no, not as a flag. It would, after all, not be the Mexican flag but the Italian one. However, the question is not as absurd as it might seem. Until 1968, the Mexican merchant flag was identical in design to the national flag of Italy, both were vertical tricolors of green white and red. (I won’t swear that the “official” proportions were the same, but in practice I doubt you would have been able to prove conclusively the nationality of an Italian ship versus a Mexican one by the proportions. There was another way, however.)

Until the end of WW II, the Italian flag always had the Savoy coat of arms in the center (without the crown: Merchant, with the crown: naval ensign) so there was no confusion at sea. After the war, the plain tricolor was adopted as the national flag, but in order to avoid confusion with the Mexican merchant flag, the new Italian coat of arms was placed in the center of the Italian merchant flag (again with no crown.)

In preparation for the 1968 summer Olympic games, Mexico rewrote its flag legislation not only by designing a new eagle / snake / cactus coat of arms but also by dropping officially the “plain” tricolor and adopted the flag with the arms as the one for all purposes.

I don’t know if the plain Mexican tricolor was used much after WWII, but I have an old woollen flag, about 2 feet by 3.5 feet, that is the plain green white red and it has "Mexico" written in script on the heading. I would estimate its vintage at 1900 to 1930’s.

According to [ped70], Mexico adopted the green-white-red tricolor in 1823, and Italy adopted these colors in 1848 (although the colours predate this year in the flag of Savoy in 1796 or 1797).

Nick Artimovich, 16 Mar 1998

National ensign: 1864/1865-1867

[Mexican civil ensign used during the Second Empire (1864-1867)] 1:2 [Merchant marine ensign used in 1864/1865-1867] [National ensign no longer in use]
by Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, July 10, 2002

Maximilian was made Emperor in 1864 but flag wasn't changed quickly. As far as I know only regulation for flags were issued in 1 November 1865: National flag and merchant ensign: green, white, red vertical flag without any device.
Nozomi Kariyasu, December 12, 1999.

National Ensign adopted during the Empire II (1863-1867) (Maximilian's Empire). The national flag and ensign were adopted by decree of June 18, 1865, but the ratio was official defined as 1:2 by decree of November 1, 1864.
Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, July 10, 2002