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History of the paraguayan national flag

Last modified: 2006-01-21 by antonio martins
Keywords: seal | phrygian cap | different reverse | treasury | lion | star: 5 points (yellow) | republica de paraguay | paz y justicia | peace and justice | tree: 2 trunks (twisted ) | francia (dr.) | palm | olive branch |
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Chronology of flag changes

dates obverse reverse ratio
-1811.06 blue flag ?
1811.06-1812 Provisional tricolors ?
1812-1826 Emblem: arms of the capital city, Asunción Emblem: arms of the King of Spain ?
1826-1842 Dr. Francia’s blue flag ?
1842-1954(?) Emblem: Yellow 5-pointed star with rays surrounded by wreath. Outside the wreath the country’s full name (Republica del Paraguay) in black. All that on a white disk with a border in the national colors. Emblem: Lion in natural colors to the left (heraldically) sitting on a piece of grass in front of a pole with a Jacobinian cap. Light blue background. Behind the pole the motto «paz y justicia», above the country’s full name, both written in black. All that again on a white disk with a border in the national colors. 333:500
1954(?)-1988 1:2
1988-1990 3:5
1990- Emblem: Yellow star on small blue disk, no more rays. Outside the wreath the name is written in yellow on a red ring. Everything still on a white disk, now with a black border. Emblem: Lion to the right, sitting in the air, white background. Above the lion the motto «paz y justicia» in yellow on a red ribbon, The name has disappeared. Everything still on a white disk, black border.
emblem descriptions by Harald Müller

Avaliable data:

  • National flag is shown in Flaggenbuch (1939) [neu39] with proportion 333:500 (approx. 2:3)
  • Pedersen [ped71b] and Smith [smi75b] show it as ca. 1:2.
  • DK Pocket Book [udk97] shows it 1:2 but the companion text says 3:5 DK Pocket Book seems to use an outdated image, with the “complex” emblems, and hesitate on the correct proportion.
  • Album des Pavillons [pay] says and shows 3:5. Album des Pavillons (recapitulative edition of 1995) also shows the “simplified” emblems of both sides of the flag, exactly as described above.
A putative chronology can be established with the help of the yearly supplements of Encyclopaedia Universalis [eun], which are mainly based on Album des Pavillons [pay] and have a notice for each country:
  • 1993: 1:2, “complex” emblem. Notice: «1811, modified 1842»
  • 1994: 1:2, “simplified” emblem. Notice: «1811, modified 1842, modified 1988»
  • 1998: 3:5, “simplified” emblem. Notice unchanged.
It seems that traditionally change in proportion is not considered as a “modification” worth being mentioned.

From the data I infer that the 1988 modification was the change in the emblem (it could not have been anything else), only noticed during the edition of the 1994 supplement of [eun] and also reported by Harald Müller at the same period (probably coming from Album des Pavillons [pay]). The change in proportions is not easy to date since it appears in 1995 in Album but was only incorporated in the 1998 supplement of [eun].

Another chronologic unresolved question is: when did the proportion move from 333:500 to 1:2 Is there any correlation to be found with the dates of reign of Alfredo Stroessner on the country (1954-1989)? It could match the change from 333:500 to 1:2 and then to 3:5, but not the change in the emblem.

Ivan Sache, 20 Oct 1999