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Venezuela - Historical Flag (1930 - 2006)

Last modified: 2006-03-18 by dov gutterman
Keywords: venezuela |
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Pre-2006 National and State Flag
image by Željko Heimer, 18 August 2003

Pre-2006 "Civil" Flag
image by Željko Heimer, 18 August 2003

See also:

The Flag

In 1930, the National Congress rearranges the stars to its actual design: in a semi-circular order. Officialy, the stars have to be placed in a "arc" fashion, but there are no specifications about the arc other than the horizontal placing: centered. Also, there are many versions of the Venezuelan flag, using different shades of blue on the central band. On official buildings, military units and navy ships, the flag carries the arms on the corner, centered on the yellow band. The colors and the stars represent:
Yellow: Nobleness, love, power, and sovereignity (also, all the venezuelan wealth)
Blue: Loyalty, Justice and Perseverence (also the ocean that separates Venezuela from Spain, the Motherland)
Red: honor, bravery, strength and greatness (also, the blood of all who fought for Venezuela’s liberation)
The stars represent the 7 united provinces who signed the Independence Act, on July 5, 1811. This provinces were Caracas, Cumaná, Barcelona, Barinas, Margarita, Mérida & Trujillo.
Jorge V. Alonso-Iglesias

at <> (defunct) one finds:
"Our flag is made up of three horizontal stripes of equal width. Yellow stands for the richnesses of the territory, blue for the sea separating us from Spain and red for the blood shed by our patriots during the Independence [War].
Our national flag was brought by General Francisco de Miranda in his second expedition on March 12th, 1806 into "Vela de Coro" ; this is why the Flag Day is held on March 12th. It was recognised as national standard by Congress on July 15th, 1811 and was firstly hoisted as such on July 14th that year."
Santiago Dotor , 30 December 1998

Coro, which is the oldest city in the mainland of Venezuela, is directly on the shoreline. A lookout post was placed north of the city, and was named "La Vela de Coro", literally "The watch over Coro". The Spanish word "vela" can both mean sail and vigil. This later is the correct sense of this word, the place where the vigil, the watch, took place.
Ricardo Kowalski, 15 September 1999

Flags in Venezuela are made in a very informal, quite crafty way. As far as I know, There isn't any official guideline or chart for the construction of the national flag, so there are flags with smaller stars, narrower archs, longer stripes, different colours.In the current constitution, it says, about the flag, that this is the tricolori of yellow, blue and red.
Plain and simple. Not much further explanatios are set in the law of National Symbols.
Guillermo Tell, 5 November 1999

According to [pay00], the "plain" flag (YBR, 7 W stars, no Coat of Arms) is used as alternative civil flag and ensign.
Ivan Sache, 14 January 2001

National Flag of Venezuela, 1930 - Established on July 15th by disposition of the National Congress (as it must be), it incorporates the constellation of stars in arc of circle with the convexity upwards, perhaps, as remembrance of the crest that until that year enriched some reproductions of the Coat of Arms of the Republic. Still one stays effective in two variants: the one of Civil Use with its three colors and seven stars and the one of State Use, that adds the Venezuelan Shield of Arms in full color at the canton. Nevertheless, the Law of National Flag, Coat of Arms and Anthem effective from 1954 establishes in fact three Venezuelan flags: Tricolor without Stars and Coat of Arms, for Civil Use; Tricolor with Stars and Coat of Arms, for  State and Military use and the one of the Merchant Marine, which would only take Stars and that the Venezuelan Soul did hers for Civil Use actually making unthinkable the absence of the Stars.
Raul Orta, 9 May 2002

The "Law of National Flag, Shield and Anthem" effective since 1954 is the only legal instrument which regulates the matter in my all Country, in agreement it establishes the Constitution in force since 1999. Article 2º of the mentioned Law establishes three national flags, that is to say:
1. A field divided in three horizontal and equal stripes: yellow, blue and red that correspond to the Civil Flag and Ensign;
2. The previous design to which adds seven five-pinted and white stars in arc of circle with the convexity upward and the Venezuelan Coat of Arms on the canton, that constitutes the State and War Flag and Ensign;
3. The design described on numeral "1" which adds only the seven stars in the same disposiciòn already described, that even though it was established originally for the merchant marine concludes consolidated by popular will like Civil Flag and Ensign replacing in fact the indicated on the corresponding text.
However, the prevailing situation on my Homeland has unquestionably generated a renovation and exaltation of the Venezolanity in all its most genuine expressions. Even though the Law determines a character distinction, the National Soul has assumed indifferently the National Flag (with Stars) and the National Pavillion (with Stars and Coat of Arms) like Emblem of Identity. Even more, taking as axis the design of the National flag diverse variants has been generated responding the predominant feelings, which we have come compiling to share them with you opportunely.
As far as the "finial", the Venezuelan "Ceremonial Military Protocol and Regulation" in force establishes that the spear to which of leans the National Pabellòn will carry a "Moharra" with the Venezuelan Coat of Arms in relief within a contour that simulates a spear-point. In another cases, any type of "conventional" finials has been used: from spheres, to streamlined flower or spear-points; even, there are masts which lacks them. Nevertheless, the more spread custom has been to raise or to fix the National flag on spears or mast finished off on spear-points, doing an informal analogy with those of the "llaneros" (plain men) that integrated the Patriotic Forces during the Venezuelan  War of Independence.
Raul Orta, 6 January 2003

According to Album 2000 Corr 3 [pay03]:
- National Flag (CSW/CSW (2:3)) - Horizontal tricolour of yellow over blue over red with the coat of arms in the canton in yellow stripe and sever white five-pointed stars in a arc in the middle of the blue stripe. The exact position of the coat of arms and especially the stars is never more detailed defined, so there is no point in trying to establish a construction sheet. A notable two versions of the stars are in use - both apparently as good as the other - those with stars pointing upwards and those with stars pointsing "outwards". The Album showes the latter, and mentions the other in a footnotes. (see: 7 Stars). The consturction of the stars that I used is one possibility, hopefully acceptable: diameter of the imagined circle on which the centers of the stars are located equals 5/9 of the hoist and is centered at the midpoint of the edge between blue and red stripes. The stars I made with diameter 6/90, and I have put their centers every 24 degrees along the imagined circle. This makes the outermost stars to be rotated 72 degrees, i.e. to point upwards again. The other version I made with the imagined circle with diameter 8/9 of the hoist contered in the center of the red stripe. Stars (also 6/90) are now arranged in 20 degrees along the circumference, but all pointing upwards. I hope that those with better knowlage on actual flags in use could confirm that this are indeed acceptable versions, more or less what is beling used .
- Alternative Civil Flag and Ensign (C--/C-- (2:3)) - Yellow-blue-red tricolour with severn white fivepointed stars in a arnc in a blue stripe.
This is, as Mr. Orta pointed out de jure the merchant flag (or civil ensign), but it is for long now also used as de facto civil flag and also as an alternative state flag. As for the state and war flag, the exact disposition and size of stars is not determined and variations are used. The Album showes the one with "orientated" stars, but notes also that with all upright stars.
Original Album 2000 [pay00] show the same apart of the variant in stars noted only in footnote.
Album 95 [pay] show the "National Flag and War Ensign" (and flag without Coat of Arms as merchant ensign). Dimensions are given as 0.9 x 1.35 m with star diameter 0.07 m, Coat of Arms 0.2x0.18 m. For the war ensign dimensions are given as 0.8 x 1.08 m.. The first is 2:3, though I am not sure from where the exact numbers are taken. The size of stars and Coat of Arms are of particular interest, since it seems that the particular regulation is not known by the Venezuelan vexillologist (or probably this is a regulation specific for some, say, military purpose and not applicable otherwise). The war ensign of size 80x108 cm makes ratio of 20:27. This is quite squarish, and maybe this refers to the naval colours or some other ceremonial type flag and not the ensign used on the ships. I certainly hope this numbers get cleared eventually.

It is often found in the vexillological literature that the current Venezuelan flag is from 1954 - however, the merchant ensign was not changed since 1930! In 1954 there was only a minor change in the Coat of Arms inscription. Prior to 1930 the merchant flag had different arrangement of stars in the blue stripe (since 1905: seven in a circle, since 1863: one plus six encircling it). We have many contradicting reports, one following other.
Željko Heimer, 18 and 28 August 2003

The law which regulates the matter is effective since 1954. In this law is establishes in fact three flags:
- The State and War Flag, called "Official Flag" or "National Pavillion" : Horizontal tricolor yellow, blue and red  with a constellation of seven five-poiinted and white stars disposed on the center of the blue stripe and the Coat of Arms of the Republic at the canton on the yellow stripe;
- The Merchant Flag: equal to the previous one without the Coat of Arms on the canton that actually is adopted in fact by all the Nation as Civil Flag:
- The Civil Flag: without shield and stars, derogated in fact because to the Venezuelan people is unthinkable see their flag without stars.
Raul Orta, 18 August 2003

Politikens Flagbook, 2000, gives 1954 for the flag, and 1953 for the Coat of Arms.
Pedersen [ped73] - Alverdens Flag i Farver, 1973, states most recently the Coat of Arms was established in 1930 and 1953, though the origin is the Coat of Arms of 1836. The State and Military flag and Ensign got its present design in 1953. I presume its description mentions the Coat of Arms without describing it, which means the design changes whenever the Coat of Arms does. The Civil Ensign was officially adopted 19 Febuary 1954, though the flag goes back to 1806. Since 1863 there are seven stars. Since 1830 the stars are placed in an arc. However, the 1970 edition does not yet mention what happened in 1953/4, and states that the National flag and Civil Ensign was last established in 1930, as were the Coat of Arms and the Military Ensign (etc.). This would suggest some form of ruling has controled the design of these symbols over the years, but official adoption of the flag wasn't until 1954.
Smith - FTTAAATW [smi75c] has the stars first appearing in 1817, and becoming a permanent part of the flag in 1859. He too give 19 Febuary 1954 as the official adoption date.
Crampton - The world of Flags, 1990 [cra90f], finally describes the following sequence:
- 4 August 1806: Miranda raises for the first time a Y-B-R tricolour on Colombian soil.
- 5 Juli 1811: Venezuela gains independence from Spain, and under that same tricolour.
- A few days later the yellow is increased, and a panel in the hoist was added with an allegorical scene. [Everybody seems to describe this flag-change as the yellow getting twice as large. Does that mean the flag ratio changed?]
- 7 August 1819: Venezuela and Columbia joined to form Greater Colombia, under this same flag.
- 26 July 1822: Ecquador joins Greater Colombia, with the flag acquiring three blue stars in the yellow, instead of the panel.
- 30 April 1830: Venezuela seceded, replacing the stars with a Coat of Arms in the center.
- 20 April 1836: The stripes reverted to equal width.
- 25 Febuary 1859: seven stars were added in the canton.
- 29 July 1859: The stars became white and were placed in the center; 6 stars encircling a central one.
- 15 July 1930: The stars are placed in an arc.
- 1942 stars are omitted alltogether. [!]
- 1954 stars reoccur.
Znamierovski - The World Encyclopedia of Flags, 2002 [zna02] , states the flag was first hoisted, on Colmbian soil, on 4 August 1806; that when Venezuela declared independence this flag became its flag on 5 July 1811; and that the state flag etc. was adopted on 17 Februari 1954, and that the civil ensign is without the arms.
This leaves me with the fllowig questions:
- Was the flag raised for the first time 4 August 1806, as Znamierowski has it, or was it previously hoisted elsewhere, as Crampton allows?
- Did Venezuela adopt its first flag on 5 July 1811, or did it merely fly Miranda's flag until it had had time to adopt one of its own?
- Was the panel along all of the hoist, or just the yellow?
- Why does Pedersen claim the stars were placed in an arc in 1830? (Presumably, he is mistaken one century. [Does that mean the 1930 change was to celebrate a century of independence?])
- Was there a different number of stars between 1859 and 1863? Or what other change did occur in the later year?
- Were the stars really/officially removed from 1942 onward, or was this a different type of flag occuring more often for some reasoon.
- What /did/ they adopt on 17 and 19 February 1954?
[As usual there's something to complicate the issue further: Siegel - Die Flagge, 1912, pictures two Merchant Ensigns:
- Venezuela: Handelsflagge 1858, which is an almost square tri-colour, R-W-B with a shallow, tongued split, with on the white stripe a yellow six-pointed star close to the fly.
- Venezuela: Handelsflagge, which is the Y-B-R tricolour, with in this case seven stars in a ring-configuration.]
- What is this flag of 1858?
- At what date was that configuration of stars adopted/established?
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 21 August 2003

Venezuelan pages in Smith 1982 [smi82] (the FAAATW book in Croatian translation) show the variation of the flag with stars upright, the civil ensign without the Coat of Arms and the state and war flag and esnign with the Coat of Arms, bit in ratio 2:3, with date of adoption given by the civile ensign 19 February 1954 (strictly speaking, this is incorrect as the civil ensign in this form was adopted in 1930 and was not changed in 1954, not even slightly). Smith 1975 [smi75c] is practically the same as [smi82] regarding
Crampton's [cra90f] shows the same flag with Coat of Arms.
In the 1939 Flaggenbuch [neu92] there are nothing surprising either, however captions reveal that some dignitaries used different flags back then. Therefore it is useful to quote the captions (translated):
- War and State Flag (Ensign), Standard of the President of teh State "G.M.", Flag of the War Minister "F.M." (president of the state and war minister we may probably translate more "fluently" as president of the republic and minister of defence, to use the modern terminology) - The flag is the usual nationa flag with the Coat of Arms (with stars pointing "outwards").
- Merchant Ensign, National Flag for Privates (or if you wish "civil flag and ensign"). The Coat of Arms-less flag.
Željko Heimer, 29 August 2003

No official shades have been issued with regard to either the stripes or the arms, and no recommendations for the arms are given in any official source.  However, the UK Flag Institute give yellow PMS 109C, blue PMS 280C and red 032C, BR20: Yellow, red PMS 186C and blue PMS 280C, and the Album des Pavillons yellow 116C, blue 286C and red 186C.
Christopher Southworth, 4 Maech 2005

7 Stars

Circular and straight up stars allignment (see below)
images by Željko Heimer, 18 August 2003

In the national Venezolan flag the stars are for (hoist to fly): Caracas, Cumana, Barinas, Barcelona, Margarita, Mérida and Trujillo. The seven provinces revolted against Spain colonial rule.
Jaume Olle , 14 February 1997

in last "Vexillacta" (a belgian vexillolgical review), a note about the venezuelian flag states that the 7 stars are disposed so as to have a point orientated towards the exterior of the imaginary circle of stars.
Armand Noel du Payrat , 20 December 1999

according to the Law of National Symbols they could be arranged like that, as it did not specify, and we could also (and usualy) find the version of the flag depicted above: the point of th stars pointing straight up. As I've been paying attention to any venezuelan flags I see on the street (and there are many: we are on a national duel due to the mudslides and floods which we suffered last week), and have noticed both variants used in very similar proportions. My count: 35 (straight up) to 33 (circular allignment).
Guillermo Aveledo , 20 December 1999

The real national flag have the stars in arc, but standing over their two "legs", and not following the arc.
Pablo Acosta Ri'os, 15 June 2000

WRONG Flag with Black Stars (1950)

by Raul Orta and Ivan Sache, 12 June 2004

Gouda's Roem, a margarine factory, issued in c. 1950 a several flag albums; text: R. J. J. Heirman (ex-teacher); drawings: Leonard Truk. Editor: van Dijk's Mengbedrijven, Gouda.
From the albums here is a Venezuela's flag with Coat of Arms in the canton and a bow of seven black stars.
Jarig Bakker, 14 August 2001

In fact and according to our reliable sources, the Venezuelan Vexillological History registers solely blue stars on the yellow stripe and white stars on the blue stripe: black stars on the blue stripe would be little visible even relatively close...
So, it is one is only a peculiar flag that probably is product of a press error.
Raul Orta, 9 July 2002

Venezuelan Flag with black stars (1950): it appears on some flags albums sponsored by Gouda's Roem company, a margarine factory, with texts of Mr. R.J.J. Heirman (ex--teacher) and illustrations of Mr. Leonard Truk, published by Dijk's Mengbedrijven, Gouda, Netherlands. Unpublished in the Venezuelan Vexillological History, seems to us a peculiar interpretation that probably it is product of a press error; mainly, considering which the black stars on the blue strip would be little visible even relatively close.
Raul Orta, 8 June 2004