Each country, nation or territory feels identified through a flag, and that flag is always related to the events that have occurred there. This is a brief review of the history of the Mexican flag , the reason for its colors and the meaning behind the elements of its shield.
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1. History of the flag of Mexico
2. What do the colors of the flag of Mexico
mean 3. What does the shield of the flag of Mexico mean
Brief history of the flag of Mexico
Like almost all flags in the world, the emblem Mexico has its own history, and this one is particularly interesting.
1. Silhouette of Guadalupe
It is believed that the first official banner that gave identity to Mexico was the one exhibited by the priest Miguel Hidalgoto start the War of Independence, a cloth showing the silhouette of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Some scholars affirm that he ripped the oil from a sanctuary, when his army entered the town of Atotonilco. It is considered the first great national symbol, although it has little to do with the tricolor that we know today.
Banner of the Virgin of Guadalupe. | Pinterest.
2. Flag of Morelos
The first vestiges of the current symbology are found in the Flag of Morelos. It owes its name to the insurgent general Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon, also known as “Servant of the Nation”, who identified his own with this banner. It shows for the first time the crowned eagle on a nopal (a type of cactus), a symbol that we will delve into later.
Morelos flag. | Pinterest.
The following message also appears in Latin: “Oculis et unguibus aeque victrix”, which can be translated as “with eyes and claws equally victorious” , referring to the nation or to the Virgin of Guadalupe. Under the chest of the eagle you can also read “unum”, whose meaning is “union”.
3. Flag of the Trigarante Army
This was the first flag that introduced the national colors , although in diagonal stripes and accompanied by stars. It was designed after the Plan de Iguala in March 1821, before General Agustin de Iturbide proposed the current national model. Around a central crown could be read the following: “religion independence and union: infantry regime”.
4. National Flags
The name given to the current flag is the Fourth National Flag , as established in the Law on the coat of arms, the flag and the national anthem published in the middle of the CC century. The shield that it exhibits is the work of the architects Pedro Moctezuma Diaz Infante and Francisco Eppens Heleguera, who introduced several changes in the symbols that appear.
Fourth National Flag of Mexico. | Wikimedia Commons.
The Fourth National Flag derives from the flag established in 1821after the consummation of independence. It was Agustin de Iturbide who arranged for the colored stripes to be vertical and to add a crowned imperial eagle, as a symbol of the empire that was born after the end of the War of Independence. Subsequently, numerous changes have been introduced in its symbology, in part due to the Mexican Revolution, although the tricolor stripe has always been maintained.
What do the colors of the Mexican flag mean?
Before reviewing each of the elements that make up the shield, we will discuss what the colors of the Mexican flag mean and what they mean: green, white and red. As we have pointed out, these colors could already be seen on the flag of the Army of the Three Guarantees, also called the Army of the Three Guarantees, but what exactly do they mean?
Green is the color of hope . In this case, the hope of the ideals of the insurgent army, whose main objective was to achieve independence from the Mexican state.
2. The white
The white is the purity of the Catholic religion , the only religion recognized by the Army triguarante. That was one of the reasons for the Catholic Church’s support for Iturbide’s coronation.
Red has more warlike connotations. It represents the warrior impulse of the national army or the spilled blood of national heroes . If we take into account the inscription of the triguarante flag, red can also represent the union between the kingdoms of Spain and Mexico.
What does the coat of arms of the Mexican flag mean?
One of the most curious things about the Mexican flag is that it brings together symbols of three very different civilizations . On the one hand, we find symbols related to pre-Hispanic culture, to extol the cultural identity of Mexico. On the other hand, nuances of the Spanish imperial culture can be appreciated. Finally, elements of Mexican liberalism are included (basically the colors of the flag).
Details of the Mexican shield. | Wikimedia Commons.
1. Royal Eagle
The predominant element in the Mexican national coat of arms is the royal eagle, oriented to the right in the modern flag. As in many other insignia in the world, the Mexica eagle is a symbol of strength and power, but in turn refers to the solar symbol used by Aztec civilizations. In 1960, the ornithologist Martin del Campo maintained that, in reality, it is a type of falcon that is very common in Mexico, known as the bearded vulture (Caracara cheriwey).
In the jaws of the imperial eagle we can see a rattlesnake. Some claim that the snake represents the enemies of the Mexican people , but we cannot forget that the snake is an animal very present in pre-Hispanic mythology. Curiously, a Mayan myth affirms that the eagle brought the blood of the serpent that, mixed with the corn, gave rise to the substance with which the gods made man.
3. Lake Texcoco
The main elements of the shield emerge from Lake Texcoco. At present, much of the surface has dried up, but it was an important point in the northwest of the Valley of Mexico. It represents the origin of the Mexica civilization and of life in general.
4. Islet on the lake
This islet is the place where Copil’s heart was buried after challenging the god of war. According to a Mexica legend, in that dry and inhospitable place (called the foundation stone or Tetl stone ) the nopal that appears on the flag sprouted. Interestingly, the representation of the foundation stone has always been accompanied by three stripes. Can you guess what color?
5. Flowered prickly pear branch
The nopal is also known as prickly pear or higuera. The Mayans adopted the nopal as one of their most emblematic symbols. This cactus bears a fruit that gives off a reddish-colored liquid that quenches thirst, which is why it is compared in pre-Hispanic culture with the human heart, and more specifically, with the heart of the sacrificed.
6. Laurel and oak
branches Both branches form a semicircle that is joined by a ribbon with three stripes. The branches are a symbol inherited from European imperialism and represent strength (oak) and victory (laurel) .
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Chavez, G., & Ramon, J. (2004). Symbolism of the national flag of Mexico. Law and Culture, (13), 129-143.
Florescano, E. (2014). The Mexican flag: brief history of its formation and symbolism. Fund of Economic Culture.
Official Journal of the Federation. (1984). Law on the coat of arms, the flag and the national anthem. 1-14.
Gonzalez Block, Miguel A., The iztaccuauhtli and the Mexican eagle ¿Cuauhtli or royal eagle
, Arqueologia Mexicana no. 70, p. 60-65.