List of Puerto Rican flags

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Puerto Rican flag
Flag of Puerto Rico.svg
Other namesFlag of Puerto Rico, Monoestrella
1892 Flag version with light blue tone
Flag of Puerto Rico (Light blue).svg
1952-1995 flag version with dark blue tone
Flag of Puerto Rico (1952–1995).svg
DesignFive equal horizontal bands of red (top and bottom) alternating with white; a blue (tone of blue may vary) isosceles triangle based on the hoist side bears a large, white, five-pointed star in the center.

This is a list of the flags of Puerto Rico. These flags represent and symbolize Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rican people. The most commonly used flags of Puerto Rico are the current flag, which represents the people of the commonwealth of Puerto Rico; municipal flags, which represent the 78 municipalities of the archipelago; political flags, which represent the different political beliefs of the people; and sports flags, which identify Puerto Rico as the country represented by its athletics during competitions.

Each of the 78 municipalities of Puerto Rico has adopted flags which represent the municipality and its people, employing designs that oftentimes derive their symbolism from the municipality's coat of arms. Most of the political parties in Puerto Rico also have their own flags, which represent and symbolize the political ideals of its members. These political party flags are usually displayed in public during political rallies, meetings, or parades in a show of political strength and unity. Various sports associations in Puerto Rico have adopted flags which represent them and which are used during competitions and other sport events.

First flags used in Puerto Rico[edit]

Captain's Ensign of Columbus's Ships.

The introduction of a flag in Puerto Rico can be traced to when Christopher Columbus landed on the island's shore and with the flag appointed to him by the Spanish Crown claimed the island, which he named "San Juan Bautista", in the name of Spain. Columbus wrote in his logbook that on October 12, 1492, he used the Royal Flag, and that his captains used two flags which the Admiral carried in all the ships as Ensign, each white with a green cross in the middle and an 'F' and 'Y', both green and crowned with golden, open royal crowns, for Ferdinand II of Aragon and Ysabel (Isabel I).[1] The conquistadores under the command of Juan Ponce de León proceeded to conquer and settle the island. They carried as their military standard the "Spanish Expedition Flag". After the island was conquered and colonized, the flag of Spain was used in Puerto Rico, same as it was used in all of its other colonies.[2]

Once the Spanish armed forces established themselves on the island they began the construction of military fortifications such as La Fortaleza, Fort San Felipe del Morro, Fort San Cristóbal and San Gerónimo. The Spanish Army designed the "Burgundy Cross Flag" and adopted it as their standard. This flag flew wherever there was a Spanish military installation.[3]

The first flag of Puerto Rico[edit]

The original Lares revolutionary flag of 1868, also known as the "First Puerto Rican Flag" in Puerto Rico, on display in the UPR.

The independence movement in Puerto Rico gained momentum with the liberation successes of Simón Bolívar and José de San Martín in South America. In 1868, local independence leader Ramón Emeterio Betances urged Mariana Bracetti to knit a revolutionary flag using the flag of the Dominican Republic as an example, promoting the then popular ideal of uniting the three caribbean islands into an Antillean Confederation. The materials for the flag were provided by Eduvigis Beauchamp Sterling, named Treasurer of the revolution by Betances.[4] The flag was divided in the middle by a white Latin cross, the two lower corners were red and the two upper corners were blue with a white star in the upper left blue corner. According to Puerto Rican poet Luis Lloréns Torres the white cross on it stands for the yearning for homeland redemption; the red squares, the blood poured by the heroes of the rebellion and the white star in the blue solitude square, stands for liberty and freedom.[5] The "Revolutionary Flag of Lares" was used in the short-lived rebellion against Spain in what became known as El Grito de Lares (The Cry of Lares).[6] The flag was proclaimed the national flag of the "Republic of Puerto Rico" by Francisco Ramírez Medina, who was sworn in as Puerto Rico's first president, and placed on the high altar of the Catholic Church of Lares, thus becoming the first Puerto Rican Flag.[7] The original Lares flag was taken by a Spanish army officer as a war prize. Many years later it was returned and transferred to the Puerto Rican people. It is now exhibited in the University of Puerto Rico's Museum.[7]

In 1873, following the abdication of Amadeus, Duke of Aosta, as King (1870–1873) and with Spain's change from Kingdom to Republic, the Spanish government issued a new colonial flag for Puerto Rico. The new flag, which was used until 1873, resembled the flag of Spain, with the difference that it had the coat of arms of Puerto Rico in the middle. Spain's flag once more flew over Puerto Rico with the restoration of the Spanish kingdom in 1873, until 1898 the year that the island became a possession of the United States under the terms of the Treaty of Paris (1898) in the aftermath of the Spanish–American War.[8]

Historical flags[edit]

The following are historical flags related to Puerto Rico:

Historical flags flown in Puerto Rico
Banner of arms crown of Castille Habsbourg style.svg
Flag of the Kingdom of Castile (1492)
Flag of Cross of Burgundy.svg
Burgundy Cross Flag (Spanish military flag)
Bandera de Costas.svg
Flag of Spain (1701-1793) in fortresses and castles
Flag of Lares (1868).svg
Lares revolutionary flag of 1868
PR Flag of 1873.jpg
Spanish Colonial Flag (1873–1875)
Flag of Spain (1785–1873, 1875–1931).svg
Flag of Spain (1793-1873, 1875–1898)
Bandera tercer batallon.jpg
Spanish American War flag
Flag of the Batallón Provisional No. 3 de Puerto Rico (3rd Provisional Battalion of Puerto Rico)
Flag of the First Spanish Republic.svg
Flag of Spain (1873-1874) First Spanish Republic
Flag of Puerto Rico (1895-1952).svg
Original Puerto Rican Flag design of 1892 according to some historians
Puerto Rican Flag in Space.jpg
Puerto Rican flag aboard the
Space Shuttle Discovery
March 15, 2009
Historical flags of the United States flown in Puerto Rico (1898 - 1959)
(from 1898 to 1952 the American flag was the only one permitted in Puerto Rico)
Flag of the United States (1896–1908).svg
45-star American flag,
the first U.S. flag flown in Puerto Rico
(1898 - 1908)
Flag of the United States (1908–1912).svg
46-star American flag
(1908 - 1912)
Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg
48-star American flag
(1912 - 1959)

Municipal flags of Puerto Rico[edit]

Each of the municipalities of Puerto Rico, including the islands of Culebra and Vieques, have adopted a flag which represents the region and its people. The colors and designs may vary. Some flags contain a coat of arms or images of an object associated with the region, such as a bird, animal, or crop. In the case of Lares, in 1952, the town Municipal Assembly adopted the "Revolutionary Flag of Lares" as their official flag.[9] The barrios of the municipality of Caguas also have their own flags.[10]

Many of the municipal flags of Puerto Rico pay tribute to the Cacíques of the Taíno tribes (the native Puerto Rican tribe) who ruled the island before the arrival of the Spaniards and who were the rulers of the land where the town now stands. The flag of Utuado for example has a Taino Sun in honor of the Supreme Taino Cacique Agüeybaná whose name means "The Great Sun".[11] Other flags, such as San Germán's, contain a mural crown. The crown pays tribute to Spain and the Spanish who settled the area.[12]

Flags of the municipalities of Puerto Rico
Flag of Adjuntas, Puerto Rico.svg Aguada flag.png Aguadilla flag.jpg Flag of Aguas Buenas.svg AibonitoFlag.jpg Flag of Añasco.svg
Adjuntas Aguada Aguadilla Aguas Buenas Aibonito Añasco
Flag of Arecibo (Puerto Rico).png Flag of Arroyo.jpg Flag of Barceloneta, Puerto Rico.svg Flag of Barranquitas.svg Flag of Bayamon.svg Flag of Cabo Rojo.svg
Arecibo Arroyo Barceloneta Barranquitas Bayamón Cabo Rojo
Bandera de Caguas, Puerto Rico.svg CamuyFlag.svg Flag of Canovanas.jpg Flag of Cataño, Puerto Rico.svg Flag of Carolina.jpg Flag puertorico cayey.jpg
Caguas Camuy Canóvanas Cataño Carolina Cayey
CeibaFlag.svg Flag of Ciales.svg CidraFlag.jpg Flag of Coamo.svg Flag of Comerio.svg Corozal.svg
Ceiba Ciales Cidra Coamo Comerio Corozal
Flag of Culebra (Puerto Rico).svg DoradoFlag.svg Flag of Fajardo.svg Flag of Florida, Puerto Rico.svg Flag of Guanica.svg GuayamaFlag.jpg
Culebra Dorado Fajardo Florida Guánica Guayama
Flag of Guayanilla.svg Flag of Guaynabo.svg Flag of Gurabo.svg Flag of Hatillo, Puerto Rico.svg HormiguerosFlag.svg Flag of Humacao.svg
Guayanilla Guaynabo Gurabo Hatillo Hormigueros Humacao
Flag of Isabela.svg Flag of Jayuya.svg Juana Diaz Flag.jpg File-Bandera de Juncos, PR.gif LajasFlag.jpg Flag of Lares (1956).svg
Isabela Jayuya Juana Díaz Juncos Lajas Lares
LasMarias.svg LasPiedrasFlag.svg BanderadeLoiza.jpg LuquilloFlag.jpg Flag of Manatí.svg Flag of Maricao.svg
Las Marias Las Piedras Loíza Luquillo Manatí Maricao
MaunaboFlag.jpg Mayaguez-flag.svg Flag of Moca.svg MorovisFlag.jpg NaguaboFlag.jpg Flag of Naranjito, Puerto Rico.svg
Maunabo Mayagüez Moca Morovis Naguabo Naranjito
OrocovisFlag.jpg Flag of Patillas.jpg Bandera-peñuelas.svg Ponce2.gif Quebradillasflag.jpg RinconFlag.jpg
Orocovis Patillas Peñuelas Ponce Quebradillas Rincón
RioGrandeFlag.jpg SabanaGrande.jpg Flag of Salinas, Puerto Rico.svg SanGermanFlag.jpg Flag of San Juan, Puerto Rico.svg Flag of San Lorenzo.svg
Rio Grande Sabana Grande Salinas San Germán San Juan San Lorenzo
San Sebastián flag.JPG Flag of Santa Isabel.svg Flag of Toa Alta.svg Flag of Toa Baja, Puerto Rico.svg TrujilloAltoFlag.jpg UtuadoFlag.jpg
San Sebastián Santa Isabel Toa Alta Toa Baja Trujillo Alto Utuado
VegaAltaFlag.jpg VegaBajaFlag.jpg Vieques Flag.svg Flag of Villalba.svg Flag of Yabucoa.svg YaucoFlag.jpg
Vega Alta Vega Baja Vieques Villalba Yabucoa Yauco

Political flags[edit]

Cadets of the Republic, commanded by Raimundo Díaz Pacheco, with both the Nationalst and Puerto Rican flags

Throughout Puerto Rico's political history various parties have designed and displayed flags representing their ideals. Political flags in Puerto Rico are usually displayed in public during rallies, meetings, or parades in show of political strength and unity. The Puerto Rican Nationalist Party flag has a white Calatrava Cross, also known as the Cross potent on the middle of a black background. The Cross of Calatrava was first used by the Crusaders of Calatrava and later by the French revolutionists. The black background symbolized the mourning of the Puerto Rican Nation in colonial captivity.[13] It was usually displayed by the Cadets of the Republic, also known as the Black Shirts (Camisa Negras) because of their black shirt and white trousers uniform. On occasions the Nationalists would also carry the Puerto Rican flag with the light blue triangle, which was outlawed from 1898 to 1952. The three main political parties of Puerto Rico are the New Progressive Party, which favors statehood and whose flag has what might resemble a blue palm tree inside a round cornered square in the middle with a white background; the Popular Democratic Party of Puerto Rico, flag has a red image of what is supposed to resemble a Puerto Rican jíbaro (farmer) in the middle with a white background; and the Puerto Rican Independence Party, whose flag has a white cross symbolizing Christianity and purity, on a green background which symbolizes hope.[14] Founded in 2003, the flag of the Puerto Ricans for Puerto Rico Party has a light brown colored "coqui" as its symbol with the words "Por Puerto Rico" (For Puerto Rico) in the middle. Another political flag is that of the Boricua Popular Army, also known as Los Macheteros an underground pro-independence group which believes and has often resorted to the use of violence.[15] This ensign displays a green machete and a red star imposed on a black background.

Political Flags of Puerto Rico
Flag of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party.svg
Puerto Rican Nationalist Party
(Partido Nacionalista Puertorriqueño)
founded 1922
Pip Flag.png PNP flag.svg
Puerto Rican Independence Party
(Partido Independentista Puertorriqueño)
founded 1946
New Progressive Party of Puerto Rico
(Partido Nuevo Progresista de Puerto Rico)
founded 1967

Sports flags[edit]

The standard representative symbol carried by Puerto Ricans at international sports events, such as the Olympics, Pan American Games, Central American and Caribbean Games, and the World Cup of Baseball, is the Flag of Puerto Rico. However, various sports associations have adopted flags which are also used during sports events. Prior to the adoption of the Puerto Rican flag, athletes from the archipelago competed under both the United States flag and a special white banner containing a variation of the seal and the words "Puerto Rico" present above it.[16] The symbolism in this ensign includes a green background that represents the main island's vegetation, the Lamb of God symbolizing Jesus of Nazareth, and a book with the seven seals where the lamb sits, in reference to the Book of Revelation.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Enchanted Learning, Zoom Explorers, Retrieved Feb. 25, 2009
  2. ^ Christopher Columbus' Flags 1492, Flags of the World, Retrieved Feb. 25, 2009
  3. ^ Spanish Burgundy Flag, University of Georgia, Retrieved Feb. 25, 2009
  4. ^ "Beauchamp family". Archived from the original on 2016-06-04. Retrieved 2012-01-24.
  5. ^ Lares
  6. ^ Peres Moris, José, Historia de la Insurrección de Lares, 1871 (in Spanish), Library of Congress, Retrieved Feb. 25, 2009
  7. ^ a b The First Puerto Rican Flag
  8. ^ Popular Expression and National Identity in Puerto Rico: The Struggle for Self, Community, and Nation, by Lillian Guerra; Pg. 200; Publisher: University Press of Florida; 1st edition (June 30, 1998); ISBN 0-8130-1594-4; ISBN 978-0-8130-1594-1
  9. ^ Banderade Lares
  10. ^ Barrios" Flags - Overview, Flags of the World, Retrieved Feb. 25, 2009
  11. ^ Flag of Utuado (in Spanish), City of Utuado, Feb. 26, 2009
  12. ^ San German, Flags of the World, Retrieved Feb. 27, 2009
  13. ^ "FBI Files"; "Puerto Rico Nationalist Party"; SJ 100-3; Vol. 23; pages 104-134. Archived 2013-11-01 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ Political Flags of Puerto Rico, Flags of the World, Retrieved Feb. 25, 2009
  15. ^ Political Flags of Puerto Rico, "DC's Political Report", D.C. Finegold-Sachs, Retrieved Feb. 25, 2009
  16. ^ Flag at the Olympic Games in London 1948, Flags of the World, Retrieved Feb. 25, 2009

Primary sources[edit]

External links[edit]