World Facts

Uruguay Flag

Facts, meaning, and history behind the flag of Uruguay.

The current flag of Uruguay was officially adopted on July 11, 1830.

The Sun of May has been used as a national symbol since the 19th century. The blue and white colors are modeled after the flag of Argentina, and the nine stripes represent the nine departments within the country.

Description of the Flag of Uruguay

The flag of Uruguay has six white and five alternating blue stripes and a white canton on the top hoist-side corner which bears a yellow sun with a human face referred to as the Sun of May. The color of the top and bottom stripes is white while the sun of May is delineated in black. The white canton bearing the sun has a width of 5 strips while the sun of May has 16 straight and wavy rays. Suarez Joaquin designed the current flag of Uruguay. Suarez's idea for the flag was inspired by the colors of Argentina and the design of the flag of the United States. Uruguay adopted their current flag on July 11, 1830, and it is one of the oldest flags in the world.

The Meaning of the Flag of Uruguay

The nine stripes on the flag represent the nine provinces that existed when Suarez was designing the banner. The ‘’Sun of May’’ symbol suggests the legend of the sun breaking through the clouds on May 25, 1810, when they gained their independence from Spain. The Sun of May has been the country’s national symbol since the 19th century.

The Sun of May was considered a favorite omen for the independence struggle of all the Spanish South American colonies. The national symbol was first used during a major public gathering in Buenos Aires on July 11, 1830. According to Diego Santillan, this national symbol is a figurative sun representing ‘’Inti’’, the god of the sun of the Inca empire. The ‘’of May’’ refers to the May revolution which was a seven days war which started on May 18, 1810, marking the start of the independence of some Spanish colonies. As a new government came into power, the sun always broke through the clouds which the locals perceived as a good omen.

The History of the Flag of Uruguay

As one of Rio de la Plata's (which was formed in 1816) provinces known as the Banda Oriental, the first flag used by Uruguay was the blue-white-blue striped banner which General Belgrano decreed in 1812. However, like all the other provinces, Banda oriental (which would later become Uruguay) designed their flag. The earliest flag of Uruguay dates back to January 13, 1815. The first banner of Uruguay had a red horizontal stripe in the middle of all the blue ones. The flag was later changed on August 25, 1812, to the equal stripes of red-white-blue.

After gaining independence from Brazil and Argentina, the new republic adopted their current flag which was a blend of the sun of May and the Argentine colors. From 1828 to 1830, the Uruguay flag had 18 blue and white stripes. The number of blue stripes was reduced to four on July 11, 1830. Instead of symbolizing the nine provinces of Uruguay with nine blue bands on the banner, Suarez used a total of nine white and red stripes on the new flag. Various government buildings still use some of these flags like the Treinta y Tres flag and the Artigas flag alongside their current flag.

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