There are two versions of the flag, one containing the national coat of arms and the other the words "DIOS UNION LIBERTAD" (Spanish: God, Union, Liberty). The one bearing the coat of arms is used by the government and state organizations. The other version is used for civil purposes. Both flags have a 3:5 aspect ratio.
From 1865 to 1912, a different flag was in use, with a field of alternating blue and white stripes and a red canton containing white stars.
The actual blue and white stripes in flag are based on the importance of añil exports, añil was commonly used as a source for indigo dye.