The Flag of Mexico
The Flag of Mexico is a vertical tricolor of green, white, and red with the national coat of arms charged in the center of the white stripe. While the meaning of the colors has changed over time, these three colors were adopted by Mexico following independence from Spain during the country’s War of Independence. The current flag was adopted in 1968, but the overall design has been used since 1821 when the First National Flag was created. The current law of national symbols that governs the use of the national flag has been in place since 1984.
Throughout history, the flag has changed eight times, as the design of the coat of arms and the length-width ratios of the flag have been modified. However, the coat of arms has had the same features throughout: an eagle, holding a serpent in its talon, is perched on top of a prickly pear cactus; the cactus is situated on a rock that rises above a lake. The coat of arms is derived from an Aztec legend that their gods told them to build a city where they spot an eagle and a serpent, which is now Mexico City. The current national flag, the Fourth National Flag, is also used as the Mexican naval ensign by ships registered in Mexico.
Meaning of the Colors
The colors of the flag originated from the banner of the Army of the Three Guarantees, which lasted from 1821 until 1823. Originally, the colors had the following meanings.
- Green: Independencia (independence from Spain)
- White: Religión (religion, the Roman Catholic faith)
- Red: Unión (union between the Europeans and Americans)
Flag of the Three Guarantees
However, the meaning of the colors changed because of the secularization of the country, which was spearheaded by President Benito Juárez. The new color meanings are as follows:
- Green: Hope
- White: Unity
- Red: Blood of the national heroes
The World Encyclopedia of Flags, a book written by Alfred Znamierowski, also gives the following meaning to the colors of the flag:
- Green: Hope
- White: Purity
- Red: Religion
Since Article 3 of the Flag Law does not give an official symbolism to the colors, other meanings may be given to them. Other groups have used the national colors as part of their own logos or symbols. For example, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) political party has adopted the national colors as part of their logo. Another political party, the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), also had the national colors as part of their logo, but changed them in the 1990s after a controversy surrounding impartiality issues, while the PRI did not. Several states, such as Querétaro and Hidalgo have incorporated either elements of the national flag, or even the entire flag, into their coat of arms.