Emblems of Colombia - Flag, Coat of Arms, National Anthem, Symbols


Current Flag
November 26, 1861

Colombia's flag was created on March 12, 1807 by Francisco Miranda, an important figure leading up to the fight for independence.  The yellow, blue and red striped flag flew for the first time on his schooner, Leandro. 

Miranda, along with Lino de Clemente and Jose Sata, presented it at the Congress of Venezuela in 1811, where it was adopted as the nation’s flag.   Later on, in 1834, Francisco de Paula Santander ordered that the flag be modified so that the stripes ran vertically instead of horizontally.   In 1861, President Tomás Cipriano de Mosquera issued a decree ordering that eight stars should be placed on the blue stripe to represent the eight provinces that make up the Estados Unidos de Colombia (United States of Colombia) and that the yellow stripe should be placed in the middle.   In addition, he ordered that the stripes should return to their horizontal position, as in the original flag.   In 1909, Simon Bolivar ordered that Miranda’s original design should be reinstated as the flag of Colombia.

Current Flag
The national governments of Presidents General Pedro Nel Ospina and Dr. Enrique Olaya Herrera issued decrees on the design of the flag and  its colours, including their significance.   They also decided how the flag should be modified for difference uses, amongst others, as a presidential and army standard.  In addition, they mandated the form of the National Coat of Arms.

"The flag and banner of the Republic of Colombia is composed of red, blue, and yellow colours in three horizontal stripes, of which the yellow one, placed in the upper part, has a width equal to half the flag, and the other two stripes each have a width equal to one quarter of the total, with the blue one in the middle". 

Meaning of the Colours
There are many interpretations of Francisco Miranda’s choice of colours in 1806 for the nation’s flag. 
Franciso Antonio Zea provided the first interpretation of the order of the stripes and the meaning of their colours, which he presented at the Congress of Angosturas in 1819.    He stated that the three stripes had to have three different colours: the upper one, yellow, symbolized the people who wanted and loved the confederacy;  the second one, blue, showed the separation from Spain by the immensity of the ocean and the third one, red,  represented the bloodshed of the patriots who were killed in the fight for independence. 

Some historians believe that the red and yellow colours were taken from the Spanish flag and the blue one represented the colour of the sea that separated the new territory from Spain. 

Other historians think that the colours symbolize the Code of Arms that Spain gave to Christopher Columbus.  The background of the four sections into which the Spanish Code of Arms is divided, corresponds exactly to the colours chosen by Miranda. 
The placement of the stripes and their size were modified throughout the years until 1934, the year in which  President Enrique Olaya Herrera established the present flag.

The current meaning of the colours:
The yellow colour symbolizes the immense natural wealth of Colombia; the blue symbolizes the sky and the seas; and the red represents the bloodshed of our slain heroes. 



(From the Presidency of Colombia)
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The Coat of Arms was introduced on May 9th,1834. 

The coat of arms is in the shape of a shield (Swiss form) and is 6 parts wide by 8 parts high. It is divided into three distinct horizontal sections.

The upper section, on a blue field, has in its centre an open gold pomegranate with red grains inside, a golden stem and leaves.
On each side of the pomegranate there is a recumbent golden cornucopia, the one on the left pouring coins toward the pomegranate, and the one on the right full of tropical fruits.

The pomegranate (granada) denotes the name of the country at the time the coat of arms was introduced (La Nueva Granada) and the cornucopias symbolize the wealth of the land, its minerals and the rich soils of the tropical zone.

The middle section shows a Phrygian cap (the symbol of freedom) on a platinum field (a Colombian precious metal). 

The lower section shows the Panamanian Isthmus separating the two adjacent silver seas, with a black ship, sails unfurled, on each of them.  The Isthmus no longer belongs to Colombia. 

The condor, representing freedom, perches at the top of the coat of arms.  Hanging from its beak is a laurel wreath, intertwined with a golden waved ribbon tied to the emblem. The words "Libertad y Orden" (Freedom and Order) are written in black on the ribbon.

Four tilted lances rise from the sides of the coat of arms, two on the right and two on the left, from which hang four Colombian flags which surround the emblem. The flags are bound together at the bottom tip of the shield.

The National Anthem of the Republic of Colombia was first sung in public on November 11, 1887 in a small theatre at the Cathedral Public School.Its official inauguration took place the following month, on December 6,1887, at the Graduation Hall in front of the Palace of San Carlos. Doctor Rafael Núñez, President of the Republic, attended this ceremony, as well as military, ecclesiastical and civil authorities,  ministers and members  of the Diplomatic Corps.
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