Argentina, flag of

▪ Flag History

      horizontally striped celeste-white-celeste national flag, often including a central golden sun. Its width-to-length ratio varies: proportions of 1 to 2 and of 9 to 14 are commonly used on land, while the ratio 2 to 3 is used at sea.

      The blue cockades worn by patriots in May 1810, when the Spanish viceroy in Buenos Aires yielded authority to the local government, and the uniforms worn by Argentines in 1806, when the British attacked Buenos Aires, may have been the origin of the celeste-white-celeste horizontally striped flag first hoisted on February 12, 1812, by General Manuel Belgrano (Belgrano, Manuel). On July 9, 1816, Argentina, then part of the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata, proclaimed its independence from Spain. However, it was not until February 25, 1818, that the golden “Sun of May” was added to the centre of the flag in reference to the events of May 1810, when the sun supposedly shone through the clouds.

      At first there were struggles between those who wanted a strongly centralized Argentina and those who favoured broad autonomy for the individual provinces, many of which had flags of their own. Even when they acted as independent states, however, those provinces had few contacts with foreign powers, and the flag of Buenos Aires province generally represented the Argentine Confederation in the international sphere. Finally, in 1860 definitive unification firmly established the celeste-white-celeste as the sole flag for the whole country. The exact colour shade has never been determined. On August 16, 1985, permission was granted to private citizens to fly the version that incorporates the Sun of May in the centre, a right previously restricted to the government and military. The Argentine flag influenced the designs of the national flags of five Central American states (El Salvador (El Salvador, flag of), Guatemala (Guatemala, flag of), Honduras (Honduras, flag of), Costa Rica (Costa Rica, flag of), and Nicaragua (Nicaragua, flag of)), as well as that of neighbouring Uruguay (Uruguay, flag of).

Whitney Smith

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Universalium. 2010.

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