Flag of Puerto Rico

Flag of Puerto Rico
Country Puerto Rico
Population 3,222,779
Area (Km²) 13,791
Сontinent North America
Emoji 🇵🇷
  hex rgb
#E92228 233, 34, 40
#FFFFFF 255, 255, 255
#3A5EAB 58, 94, 171

The flag of Puerto Rico is the official symbol of the territory of the United States, consisting of five horizontal stripes of alternating red and white, with a blue isosceles triangle on the left, in which is a white five-pointed star.

The flag of Cuba has a completely identical shape to the flag of Puerto Rico and differs only in the use of colors and proportions. If you imagine a children's coloring book, the only difference would be the length of the Cuban flag. Otherwise, they are the same: 5 stripes, a triangle at the pole with a five-pointed star, even the list of colors: red, blue, white, except that the shade of red and blue is different. The main difference is that Cuba's flag has a red triangle with a white star and blue and white stripes, while Puerto Rico's flag has a blue triangle with a white star and red and white stripes. They even share a common history of creation - the Cuban flag can be said to have inspired Puerto Rico, as it was created during the Cuban War of Independence from Spain in 1868, while Puerto Rico also sought to free itself from colonial Spanish rule and created its first flag in 1868, and a flag similar to the modern one was created in 1895.

Meaning of the flag of Puerto Rico

  • Stripes: The flag has three red and two white horizontal stripes. The alternating red and white colors symbolize the blood shed by the patriots and the peace they fought for. The red stripes represent the courage, bravery, and sacrifice of the people, and the white stripes represent the purity of the Puerto Ricans' intentions and aspirations for a just society;
  • Triangle: The blue color of the triangle symbolizes the sky and ocean surrounding Puerto Rico, reflecting the island's geographical location. It is also a symbol of hope, faith, and commitment. The triangular shape represents the three branches of government - executive, legislative and judicial. It emphasizes the importance of separation of powers and democratic governance;
  • Star: Is a symbol of unity and pride for Puerto Ricans. The star also indicates light, guidance and hope for the people of Puerto Rico. The five corners of the star can be interpreted as symbols of five important principles: freedom, rights, equality, justice and democracy.

History of the Puerto Rican flag

On November 19, 1493, Christopher Columbus discovered the island and proclaimed it part of the Spanish Empire. During the Spanish rule, the official symbol on the island was the Spanish flag, which consisted of red and yellow colors and the coat of arms in the center. It was a symbol of imperial power aimed at strengthening Catholicism, the Spanish language and culture on the island.
Spanish rule influenced the development of Puerto Rico, including its economy, social structure, and culture. Despite this, discontent and a desire for autonomy grew among the population. Under the influence of revolutionary movements in Latin America and the Caribbean, Puerto Ricans began to form their national identity, which would later be reflected in their own flag. 

History of the Puerto Rican flag

In 1868, an uprising known as the Grito de Lares took place, which was the first significant step in the struggle for independence from Spanish rule. The rebels, inspired by independence movements in other parts of Latin America, created their own flag of resistance. The flag of Grito de Lares consisted of a white cross that divided the flag into four parts: two blue squares at the top and two red squares at the bottom. In the upper left blue square was a white five-pointed star. This flag became a symbol of the revolution, the thirst for freedom and independence of Puerto Ricans. Although the uprising was quickly suppressed by the Spanish authorities, the Grito de Lares flag left a deep mark on the national consciousness and continued to inspire subsequent generations of fighters for Puerto Rican autonomy and sovereignty. However, the Spanish flag remained the official flag until 1898.
In 1898, the short-lived Spanish-American War broke out, which had a significant impact on world politics and the colonial possessions of both countries. The war began due to rising tensions over the war for Cuba's independence from Spain, as well as the incident with the USS Maine, which exploded in Havana Harbor. Although the exact cause of the explosion was not established and Spain's involvement was not proven, this disaster became the catalyst for the United States to declare war on Spain under the slogan “Remember the Maine, to hell with Spain!”.
The war lasted only a few months and ended in a convincing victory for the United States. The main battles took place in Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Guam. After the defeat, Spain was forced to sign the Treaty of Paris in 1898, according to which it gave up its colonial possessions in the Caribbean and the Pacific. As a result of this treaty, the United States gained control over Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines. The war was a turning point for both countries: Spain lost the remnants of its former empire, and the United States took a step towards becoming a world power with colonial possessions.

The flag of Puerto Rico during American rule

At that time, the US flag had not yet acquired its final modern look with 50 stars, which appeared on the flag only in 1960, so the flag of Puerto Rico changed several times from 1898 to 1959:

  • The first American flag - 45 stars (1898 - 1908);
  • 46 stars (1908 - 1912);
  • 48 stars (1912 - 1959).

On July 24, 1952, an important event for Puerto Rico took place - the adoption of a new Constitution, which granted the island the status of a “freely associated state” within the United States of America. This status, known as “Estado Libre Asociado” (ELA), provided Puerto Rico with a measure of autonomy, allowing it to have its own government, legislation, and constitution, although the island remained under U.S. sovereignty. The adoption of this Constitution contributed to the recognition of the Puerto Rican flag as the official state symbol. The event of 1952 marked the beginning of a new era for Puerto Rico - autonomy with economic and military ties to the United States, and Puerto Rican citizens were granted American citizenship with the right to social and economic benefits.

The evolution of the flag of Puerto Rico

However, this flag was not created in 1952, but only officially recognized. Puerto Rico's own flag was designed in 1895 by revolutionaries and nationalists who advocated the island's independence from Spain. Among them were such prominent figures as Francisco Matos Pascal, Mariano Bravo and other members of the Puerto Rican national movement. The design of the flag was carefully thought out: the red and white stripes symbolized the blood shed in the struggle and the peace sought by Puerto Ricans. The blue triangle on the left side of the flag represented the ocean and sky surrounding the island, and the white star in the center of the triangle symbolized the independence and unity of Puerto Rico. In August 1995, the government issued a decree on the use of the flag, which defined the colors to be used, but again did not clearly define the shades. Therefore, the dark blue color was changed to blue. At the moment, this is the final version of the flag that is still in use today. In 2022, there was an unsuccessful attempt to approve the current royal blue as the official flag color.