World Facts

What Do The Colors And Symbols Of The National Flag Of Spain Mean?

The design of the current national flag of Spain traces its origin to the naval ensign of 1785 under Charles III of Spain.

The Constitution of Spain provides for the existence of the national flag and describes its design and features. The flag has a horizontal rectangular design with a triband of two colors; red and yellow. The three bands are arranged as follows; the red stripe at the top, a yellow stripe in the middle, and a red stripe at the bottom. The middle yellow stripe is twice the width of each red stripe. Spain’s coat of arms is off-centered towards the flag’s hoist. The coat of arms is a fusion of six coat or arms and feature a gold castle set on a red background, a red-crowned lion set on a white background, vertically-running red and yellow stripes, a golden chain link, a pomegranate flower and the fleur-de-lis (flower of the lily) at the center. The coat of arms is set on two crowned Pillars of Hercules with a banner covering both pillars and inscription, “Plus Ultra” written on the banner. On top of the coat of arms is a large red and gold crown.

The design of the current flag was based on the 1785 naval ensign of the Kingdom of Spain, ruled then by Charles III. The coat of arms was developed in the 18th century during the reign of King Charles and during the period when Spain had started its widespread exploration of the Americas through Christopher Columbus.

The Meaning Of The Colors Of The National Flag Of Spain

Over Spain’s long history, numerous legends have come with explanation of the meaning of the choice of colors on the National Flag. One such legend states that the red and yellow colors of the flag were chosen to honor the popular Spanish tradition of bullfighting where the red color was chosen to represent the blood spilled by the bulls while yellow represents the sand in the bull-fighting arena. Another legend claims that the yellow color was chosen to represent the sun while the red color was to represent the bloodshed by the Spanish people. However, the accurate explanation behind the choice of colors can be found with a historic 18th-century Spanish naval ensign. The red and yellow colors of the naval ensign were chosen for being the primary colors on the coat of arms of King Ferdinand II.

The Meaning Of Symbols Of The National Flag Of Spain

The coat of arms set on the national flag is a combination of six different coats of arms, representing the six kingdoms which make up Spain. The red castle represents the Kingdom of Castile, and the red lion represents the Kingdom of Leon, the vertically-running red and yellow stripes represent the kingdom of Aragon, the golden chain link represents the kingdom of Navarre. The pomegranate flower at the bottom represents the kingdom of Granada, and the Flower of the Lily (fleur-de-lis) represents the House of Bourbon. The two Pillars of Hercules symbolize the Straits of Gibraltar and on top of the two pillars are two crowns, an imperial crown, and a royal crown. The royal crown symbolized the King of Spain while the imperial crown symbolized the Holy Roman Emperor with King Charles serving in both capacities in the late 18th century. The inscription on the red banner wrapping the two pillars “Plus Ultra” translates to “more beyond” which represented the then newly discovered American territories after the voyages of Christopher Columbus.

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