Perhaps there is no more easily identifiable symbol for a country than its flag. Continuing with our series of entrances dedicated to Costa Rica’s national symbols we thought it will be good to talk about our flags trough out history. As many other countries Costa Rica has had several flags. And so we are going to star our run down in 1823 two years after our independence from Spain.
1823 First country flag and United Provinces of Central America.
Two years after the independence (1821) a new country needs a flag. Facing with the uncertainty of the newly acquire independence. The former Spanish provinces of the Capitania General de Guatemala chose to affiliate to Mexico and there for using the flag of the Mexican Empire as the flag for their countries. However the very first Costarican flag appeared in 1823 after the affiliation with the Mexican empire failed.
The flag consisted of a white blackground with a six pointed star in the middle. Each point representing one our of our provinces. (Guanacaste would not be part of Costa Rica until the next year 1824) The flag had a short life from the 6th of June 1823 to the 4th of March 1824.
At the same time the five countries in the region form the United Provinces of Central America retaining the administration limits of the old Capitanía General de Guatemala. During this time the countries also used an unify flag for the United States of Central America. The flag was compose by three same size horizontal bars. The middle one white and the other two light blue. In the center of the flag a Coat of arms representing the federate states.
Costa Rica’s particular flag during the era of the United Provinces of Central América added the Costarican coat of arms below in the third bar below the United Provinces coat. With the words. “Free State of Costa Rica”
1824. Federal Republic of Central America
Also in 1824 the United Provinces of Central America, changed the name of the supra state entity to The Federal Republic of Central America. The Federal Republic was a reorganization so little changes were made and changes mostly focused on the coat of arms.
Costa Rica coat of arms remain the same. The Federal Republic lasted until 1848. Costa Rica was usually left alone and forgotten of the matters of the Federal Republic. The Federation kept much of the political organization establish during the colony. The political and economic centers stayed in Guatemala, San Salvador and Leon. Costa Rica as during the colony was usually left alone to deal with its own matters. In 1838 Costa Rica left the Federation.
1840-1842 The Free State of Costa Rica
This conditions of little regards towards Costa Rica started moves towards full autonomy years before the disintegration of the Federal Republic. And so in 1838 ten years before the collapse of the Federal Republic, Costa Rica became a separate country. In 1840 Costa Rica swap the colors used by the Federation and the countries on it. Making the to exterior bars white and the middle one light blue and putting and new coat of arms with the legend “State of Costa Rica” This flag lasted from 1840 until 1842.
1842-1847 General Francisco Morazan
In 1842 Francisco Morazan and Honduran general and former president of the Federation took power over Costa Rica naming himself supreme leader of the country. Morazan who always looked to establish the Federation as a regional power change the Costarican flag back to that of the Federation. Morazan was depose and shoot that same year. How ever the flag would not change until 1848.
1848 The first Republic to present day.
In 1848 Costa Rica establish itself as a Democratic Republic. Written its first constitution. Establishing the new flag which colors and dimensions last until today. The flag has five horizontal bars. The middle one two times the size of the other ones. The middle bar is red and place between two white bars after which a two blue bars follow. The design of the flag is inspired on the flag of France and it is said that was propose by Pacifica Fernandez wife of the first president of Costa Rica. Jose María Castro Madriz.
A new coat of arms was added. This time showing to ships a three mountains, two oceans and the sun. Also for the military forces. A cannon was added and two olive branches represented the republic.
In 1906 the coat of arms change and was removed from the flag leaving the flag we known and love today. The Tricolor. Blue, white and red of our dear Costa Rica.