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Chilean Flag History

Today's Chile flag is the product of an interesting history and has gone through many revisions.

Chile FlagLong ago when Chile still struggled for its independence, the government of José Miguel Carrera called for the creation of a national flag, the first one for this country.

History tells us that on July 4th, 1812 the flag was raised for the first time during a banquet celebrating the independence of the United States (this event having a great influence on the locals' struggle for independence). The banquet was held by the United States Consul, Joel Robert Poinsett.

A little time after, on the 30th of September of that same year, the seal and flag of the Old County (Patria Vieja) were adopted.

The banner represented the three powers of the State: Majesty, Law, and Strength. Nevertheless, this flag didn't survive the Old Country (Patria Vieja) and in May of 1814 upon the signing of the Treaty of Lircay, Coronel Francisco de la Lastra, enemy of Carrera, commanded that the flag be taken down and replaced by the Spanish flag.

It was last used in the glorious battle of Rancagua, 1-2 of October 1814, that started the reconquest. During this period, Chile didn't have a flag.

The Liberator Army (El Ejército Libertador), organized in Argentina, fought at the battle of Chacabuco under the sister nation's flag.

This episode, happening on the February 12th 1817, signified the end of the realist control and the beginning of the new Country (La Patria Nueva). Afterwards the Spanish flag was no longer used.

Chile FlagAfter the triumph of Chacabuco, on the 18th of October 1817, a new banner was adopted called the "flag of the transition". This flag had three stripes: blue, white, and red. The red replaced the yellow from the flag of 1812.

Its design is attributed to Juan Gregorio Las Heras. These colors had their origin in the verses of Alonso de Ercilla that say: "por los pechos, al sesgo, atravesadas, bandas azules, blancas y encargadas", attributed to the warrior traits of the Mapuches during the Conquest (la Conquista).

The red symbolizes the heroes' blood shed on the field of battle; the white, the snow of the Andes range; and the blue: the clean Chilean sky.

Just like the Old Country's (La Patria Vieja) flag, this flag was not made official and soon disappeared. Among other reasons, because if was confused with Holland's flag.

Today's Chile flag was conceived by José Ignacio Zenteno and designed by Antonio Arcos, although some afirm that is was Gregorio de Andía y Varela who drew it. It was declared the official flag on October 18, 1817 during Bernardo O'Higgins' government:

chilean flag

Source: Revista Icarito


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