Flag of the Second Spanish Republic

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Second Spanish Republic
Flag of Spain (1931 - 1939).svg
Name Tricolor
Proportion 3:5
Adopted 27 April 1931
Flag of the Second Spanish Republic (plain).svg
Variant flag of Second Spanish Republic
Name Bandera de la marina mercante (Civil Ensign)
Proportion 3:5
Flag of the Second Spanish Republic (military).svg
Variant flag of Second Spanish Republic
Name Bandera militar (Military Flag)
Proportion 2:3

The flag of the Second Spanish Republic, known in Spanish as la tricolor,[1] was the official flag of Spain between 1931 and 1939 and the flag of the Spanish Republican government in exile until 1977.


The Spanish republican flag began to be used on April 27, 1931, thirteen days after municipal elections results led to the abolition of the monarchy and the proclamation of the Second Spanish Republic.

This same flag had been previously displayed by certain Republican groups as an alternative to the red-and-yellow flag that was identified with the Bourbon monarchy in Spain. As a result of this previous use, the young republic proclaimed in 1931 eagerly adopted this symbol.[2]

The Republican flag was adopted on April 27 and presented to the army of the nation on May 6 with the following words:[3] "The national uprising against tyranny, victorious since April 14, has hoisted a flag that is invested by means of the feelings of the people with the double representation of the hope of freedom and of its irreversible triumph."

El alzamiento nacional contra la tiranía, victorioso desde el 14 de abril, ha enarbolado una enseña investida por el sentir del pueblo con la doble representación de una esperanza de libertad y de su triunfo irrevocable.

The Republican flag was formed by three horizontal bands of the same width, red, yellow, and murrey (mulberry-coloured). The National Flag would have the Spanish Republican coat of arms at the centre (quarterly of Castile, Leon, Aragon and Navarre, enté en point for Granada, ensigned by a mural crown, between the two Pillars of Hercules). This coat of arms originated in 1868 and had been used then by the Provisional Government and later by the First Spanish Republic. The civil ensign or merchant flag would be a simple tricolour without the coat of arms. There was also a military version of the flag with proportion 2:3.

The flag of the Second Spanish Republic was also used by the Spanish Maquis between the end of the Spanish Civil War and the early 1960s, and later by the Spanish National Liberation Front (FELN). Versions of this flag were used in the 1970s by the radical anti-Francoist groups Revolutionary Antifascist Patriotic Front (FRAP) and First of October Anti-Fascist Resistance Groups (GRAPO).

The Republican flag is now widely used by trade unions[4] and left-wing political organizations, such as United Left,[5] the Marxist-Leninist Party (RC) and some factions of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party. It is also used by republican platforms.[6][7]


Arms of the Kingdom of León
Flag of the comuneros

The Spanish Republican flag has three colors: red, yellow, and purple, .[8]

The third color, purple (Spanish: morado), represents Castile and León, recalling the Pendón Morado, the ancient armorial banner of Castile, while the red and yellow symbolize the territories of the former Crown of Aragon.[9] These three colors symbolized a new era for Spain in which no part of Spain was excluded and every Spaniard would be represented.[2]


Morado (a generic term for purple or violet) was previously a familiar color throughout Spain as one of the liturgical colors used periodically in priests' vestments and hangings in the many churches of the country. It had also been used in antiquity as the heraldic color of the Kingdom of Castile. The Kingdom of León coat of arms bore a purple lion rampant and the flag reputed to have been used at the Revolt of the Comuneros had a yellow castle on a purple background. This color, however, is prone to alterations or fading with time and use, often resulting in one of the varieties of crimson or maroon.

As it is an unusual colour for a flag, in practice the morado color of the lower band could be violet, purple (purpure) or even lilac, according to the available materials and dyes in each location.[10]


Spanish monarchists resented the morado of the new tricolor and a famous soleá was composed at the time when the flag began to be used. These verses indirectly also expressed unhappiness with the reforms introduced by the republican government:[11]

Me está jodiendo el morao,
que está junto al amarillo,
debajo del colorao.

I am bothered by the morado,
that is next to the yellow,
below the red.

Since the restoration of the monarchy in the last quarter of the 20th century, there are authors that openly contradict former Spanish historians by proclaiming that the Castilian Pendón Morado never existed, or that it was actually red.[12] The controversy is part of a predictable attempt to discredit the flag of the Second Spanish Republic by claiming that its colors are a mistake. Still, sound historical documents prove that murrey-colored banners were formerly used in Castile and Leon.[13]

Until recently the official badge of the Real Madrid C.F. had a purple band based either on the Castilian or on the Spanish republican colors that was added after the proclamation of the Second Spanish Republic in 1931.[14][15] The color of the band was changed from morado to navy blue in 2001 without sufficient explanation.[16]

Depictions, derivatives and variants[edit]

Civil use[edit]

Military use[edit]

Present-day use[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]