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List of Puerto Rican flags

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Puerto Rican flag
Flag of Puerto Rico.svg
NamesFlag of Puerto Rico, (Monoestrella)

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 New Spain.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 and 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)
US flag 46 stars.svg
46-star American flag
(1908 - 1912)
US flag 48 stars.svg
48-star American flag
(1912 - 1959)

Municipal flags[edit]

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.[9] 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 a blue palm tree 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.[10] 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.[11] 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 Ppdflag.jpg
Puerto Rican Nationalist Party
(Partido Nacionalista Puertorriqueño)
founded 1922
Popular Democratic Party of Puerto Rico
(Partido Popular Democrático de Puerto Rico)
founded 1937
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.[12] 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. ^ "FBI Files"; "Puerto Rico Nationalist Party"; SJ 100-3; Vol. 23; pages 104-134. Archived 2013-11-01 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Political Flags of Puerto Rico, Flags of the World, Retrieved Feb. 25, 2009
  11. ^ Political Flags of Puerto Rico, "DC's Political Report", D.C. Finegold-Sachs, Retrieved Feb. 25, 2009
  12. ^ Flag at the Olympic Games in London 1948, Flags of the World, Retrieved Feb. 25, 2009

Primary sources[edit]

External links[edit]