Flag of Spain

Flag of Spain
Country Spain
Population 47,519,628 (2023)
Area (Km²) 498,800 (2023)
Сontinent Europe
Emoji 🇪🇸
  hex rgb
#AA151B 170, 21, 27
#F1BF00 241, 191, 0

The flag of Spain consists of three horizontal stripes, two red and one yellow, on which the national emblem is placed. The yellow stripe is twice as wide as the red one. The flag has more than 175 years of history. From a naval flag, it became a commercial flag, and then the flag of the whole country. Not all flags in the world have a name, so the Spanish flag has another feature. The name "rojigualda" is a word formed by the combination of "roja" and "gualda", which means red and yellow.

What does the flag of Spain mean?

The colors of the flag have several possible meanings. Some people believe that: 

  • red symbolizes the blood shed by the Spaniards in defense of their nation;
  • yellow - gold and wealth of the empire.

Others say that:

  • red symbolizes the bravery of the Spanish people;
  • yellow - their generosity.

Still others say that:

  • red is the color of fire;
  • yellow is the color of sunlight.

Together, these colors reflect the nation's tumultuous but resilient history and its constant search for identity and unity. For centuries, the Spanish flag has flown as a powerful symbol of identity and history. Its red and yellow colors represent the determination, courage, and wealth of a country that has gone through times of triumph and defiance.

Symbolism of the Spanish coat of arms

Spanish coat of arms

The coat of arms of the flag has changed throughout history, in line with political and dynastic changes. The modern coat of arms consists of the following elements:

  • The emblem of Castile is a golden castle with three towers on three blue windows;
  • The coat of arms of Leon is a crowned purple lion;
  • Aragorn's emblem - a symbol of knightly victory. Four vertical red stripes on a yellow background;
  • The coat of arms of Navarre is a golden chain in the form of a shield with an emerald in the center on a red background;
  • Granada mark - the lower part of the mark depicts a pomegranate symbolizing Granada. The city is located on a hill that resembles a pomegranate fruit in its shape;
  • Coat of arms of the Anjou dynasty - is located in the center of the shield and looks like three golden lilies on a blue background. The coat of arms originates from the French royal family of Bourbon and is called "fleur de lys", which means "lily flower" in French;
  • The Royal Crown of Spain symbolizes the constitutional monarchy and unity of the state;
  • The columns on both sides of the coat of arms represent the rocky shores of Gibraltar, which until the fifteenth century were considered the end of the land and the boundary of the boundless sea. Christopher Columbus' expedition demonstrated the existence of life beyond the ocean. That is why the inscription on the columns "PLVS VLTRA" is the official motto of Spain and translates as "Beyond".

Spain is the first in the number of blue flags

Spain has the largest number of beaches that have received the Blue Flag award. This is an award that indicates that beaches meet the requirements of quality standards. Spain is one of the countries with the longest coastline, which reaches about 4,900 km, and with islands, all 8,000 km, so it is not surprising that with so many beaches, Spain has the most blue flags.

Blue Flag

Criteria for receiving the blue flag include water quality, availability of information boards, environmental education activities, environmental management of beaches, and availability of lifeguards and safe access. This mark is an indicator of environmental standards and beach accessibility. 

In 2023, 628 Spanish beaches received the Blue Flag award and were ranked first in this category by the International Blue Flag Jury. Greece is a little behind with 596 awards and Turkey takes bronze with 551 flags. By the way, Turkey is ahead of France, which previously held the third position, but is currently ranked fifth with 403 awards. The evaluation criteria are changing and becoming stricter, which is why there are shifts in positions. At the same time, Spain still holds the lead. Closing the ranking of the largest number of awards, we should also mention Italy and Portugal, which have 457 and 394 awards, respectively. Other countries have significantly fewer blue flag beaches - 100 or less. All information is taken from an open source “Blue Flag”.

History of the Spanish flag

Before the introduction of the rojigualda (the current flag), the flag representing the whole of Spain was the Burgundy Cross, which dates back to 1506, when the marriage between Philip the Beautiful and Joan I of Castile was celebrated. This flag had a white background and a red St. Andrew's Cross. The Burgundy Cross remained the national flag of Spain until 1793 and continued to be used as the flag of the empire until 1898.

The current Spanish flag is derived from the naval flag used in the 18th century, during the reign of Charles III. The king announced a competition to choose a new design that would be more visible at sea, and the winner was the design submitted by Antonio Valdes y Fernández Bazán, Minister of the Navy. The flag consisted of two red stripes and a yellow stripe with the coats of arms of Castile and Leon, Granada, Aragon, Navarre, and the Two Sicilies.

History of the Spanish flag

In the 19th century, Spain went through a series of political and social changes. One of the most significant moments occurred during the First Spanish Republic (1873-1874), when an attempt was made to replace the rojigualda. However, it survived these changes and remained a symbol of the Spanish nation.

During the Civil War (1936-1939), Franco's army used the rojigualda as the official flag, adding an eagle after the victory. During Franco's dictatorship (1938-1975), the flag underwent changes in the form of the coat of arms and remained in use even after his death in 1975, during the first years of democratic transformation in Spain, with some changes, until 1981.

History of the Spanish flag

The modern version of the Spanish flag was approved by the 1978 Constitution, which marked the return to democracy in Spain after decades of dictatorship. It consists of three horizontal stripes: red, yellow (twice as wide as the other two) and red. On the yellow stripe is the national coat of arms. This coat of arms includes the royal seal between two crowned columns known as the Pillars of Hercules, with the inscription "Plus Ultra". The exact location and proportions of the coat of arms on the flag were later defined in a 1981 law.