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Puerto Rico

Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico

Last modified: 2006-02-18 by dov gutterman
Keywords: puerto rico | united states | america | cuba | star | stripes | hoist triangle | usa |
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[Flag of Puerto Rico]
image by Victor Quinones, 6 October 2000

Official Name: Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
Capital: San Juan
Location: Caribbean
Government Type: Commonwealth associated with USA
Flag adopted: 1952 (Designed: 22 December 1895)
Coat of Arms adopted: 1976 (First adopted: 9 March 1905)
ISO Code:

See also:

The Flag

From <>:
The National Flag is the highest expression of Nationality and pride for the Motherland. Back in 1511, Spain issues an official flag for Puerto Rico, based in the Coat of Arms authorized by the spanish monarchs.
On December 22, 1895, a group of 59 Puerto Ricans gather at "Chimney Corner Hall" in New York City and organizes a political group, attached to the Cuban Revolutionary Party to organize the Pro-Independence movement in Puerto Rico, still under Spanish ruling. According to the meeting acts, the flag " same as the cuban, but the color stripes are inverted..."
There are different theories regarding the origins of our flag, one of them names Manuel Besosa as the designer , in a letter written by his daughter she says, " father asked me to sew together some pieces of cloth, white, red and blue that he brought himself , this tiny flag had 5 alterned stripes, red and white, and a triangle with a five point star within it...".

This is the symbolism according to the 1895 meeting:

Red Stripes - The blood from the brave warriors.
White Stripes - Victory and peace after obtaining indepence.
Blue Triangle - Our sky and coastal waters.
White Lone Star - Our beautiful Island.

It wasn't but until 1952 that our Legislature approved the final symbolism of our flag:

Red Stripes - stands for the "blood" that nourishes the three branches of our government; Legislative, Executive and Judiciary.
White Stripes - represents individual liberty and the rights that keeps in perfect balance our form of government.
Blue Triangle
- stands for the "Republican Government", represented by the three branches.
White Lone Star - represents "The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico".
Dov Gutterman , 28 December 1998

There has been an issue during recent years regarding the blue tone of the triangle in the Puerto Rican flag. The 1895 original design used a sky blue, however when the flag was adopted officially by the Commonwealth in 1952 it featured a dark blue very similar to that of the US flag (which is the one depicted above). I dont know the exact reasons for that change but I suspect that the new commonwealth governement of the time did not want to use what had been a revolutionary independence flag. Nonetheless, with the celebration of the flag's 100 aniversary in 1995 the current pro- statehood administration decided to go back to the original sky blue tone. Still, there are many different tones of blue used around the island, even among those in public buildings. Most government buildings have switched to the sky blue but many still use the dark tone. Also, independence supporters like to use a very light blue tone while commonwealth and statehood supporters prefer darker tones. It has become possible to identify the status preference of people based on the flag that they use.
Victor Quinones, 24 March 2000

After this digression, the original PR flag was simply the Cuban flag with the colors reversed.  The blue was not dark but sky blue, as in the Cuban flag.  The PR flag was forbidden in the island from 1898 until 1952, but was flown in defiance by the black-shirted Cadet Corps of the Puerto Rico Nationalist Party.   After 1952, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico adopted the original flag based on the reverse-colored Cuban one, but changed the hue of blue to dark blue, matching the USA flag.
Esteban Jimenez, 3 November 2000

I suppose the shade of red was also darkened, as the US flag uses "Old Glory Red" and the cuban flag uses a medium shade.
António Martins, 7 November 2000

Since 1995 the oficial flag of Puerto Rico changed. Now the oficial one is the sky blue variant. The Dark blue variant was ofical Since 1952 to 1994 and the governor of Puerto Rico in 1995 signed a law that the oficial flag of Puerto Rico is the sky blue variant.
Nelson L. Román, 19 December 2004

Variants of the Flag

Dark Blue variant (Official 1952-1992)
image by Victor Quinones, 6 October 2000

"Sky" Blue variant (Official since 1995)
image by Victor Quinones, 6 October 2000

Light Blue variant
image by Victor Quinones, 6 October 2000

Concering the blue tone of the triangle in the Puerto Rican flag, here are the three commonly used variations in the island:
1) Dark Blue: Former official tone (until 1995), still substantially used by government and commerce and prefferred by pro- U.S. groups.
2) "Sky" Blue: Current official tone, used in most government buildings, substantial commercial use. Politically used mostly by pro commonwealth and statehood groups.
3) Light Blue: Preffered and widely used by pro- independence groups.
Victor Quinones, 6 October 2000

Do these two last versions has indeed a derker shade of red, as in the US flag, or do they use medium red, like in the flag of Cuba?
António Martins, 27 December 2000

See also: Puerto Rico - Political Flags

100 Years of the Flag

Puerto Rico's flag is 100 years old on 22 December. The NANDO News service on the net had a short report on the celebrations a few days ago. Some lines from the report:

"The flag was created in 1895, by the Puerto Rican section of the Cuban Revolutionary Party, which advocated independence for Puerto Rico and Cuba from Spanish rule." (...) "Its design is the same as the Cuban flag, but with the colors inverted. It has five horizontal stripes, alternating red and white, with a white star on a blue triangle in the extreme left." (...) "Before 1952, police arrested anyone displaying the flag on charges of insubordination against the United States. When Puerto Rico became a Commonwealth that year, the flag became the island's official emblem."

Jan Oskar Engene, 21 December 1995

Air National Guard

Puerto Rico does not have an Air Force but it does have an Air National Guard. I have not been able to find an illustration of any roundel for it on the web, but did find several sites selling decals for Puerto Rico Air National Guard markings, so they must have some sort of unique insignia.
Ned Smith, 19 April 1999

Puerto Rico is a non-incorporated territory of the United States, so it has no Armed Forces of her own. Our Air National Guard planes use the American roundel.
Blas Delgado Ortiz, 4 March 2000

"Coquí" Flag

There's something green on the Puerto Rican flags. For sure, photographer Gregory Bull was not focusing on the flags...
Here is the photo from <> titled: "People line the street waving Puerto Rican flags along Fifth Avenue in New York Sunday, June 8, 2003, during part of the Puerto Rican Day parade. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)".
Francisco Santos, 11 June 2003

It is the Puertorican "Coqui" (a frog) which is a Puertorican icon. Over this coquí is written: Puerto Rico.
Nelson Román, 11 June 2003