August 3 – National Flag Day in Venezuela

Posted on August 3, 2017

Flags are often very simple - just one to five colors, often in two or more horizontal or vertical stripes. Many include crosses of various sorts - up-and-down crosses, diagonal crosses, or both. Some include stars or crescents, or even complex figures such as Mexico's eagle-on-a-cactus or Swaziland's shield-and-spears.  

And of course, there is generally a story behind each nation's flag. The colors, stripes, stars, etc., generally stand for something.

Venezuela's primary-colored flag has an interesting story:

Flag designer Francisco de Miranda had an interesting discussion with German writer and philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. 

Goethe told him that he thought that Miranda's destiny was to "create in your land a place where primary colors are not distorted."

You may remember that yellow, blue, and red are called primary colors because all other colors of paint can be created from these three, plus white and black. 
Goethe said that the world is not made up of primary colors, but that human beings see the world in these three colors plus all the colors made from the infinite combinations of these colors. Somehow Goethe drew a parallel to a country starting out with a name and a flag and then becoming whatever it becomes - fulfilling its destiny.

The symbolism of the three colors has two explanations:

(1) The yellow stands for the wealth of the land, the red stands for courage, and the blue stands for independence from Spain.


(2) The gold of America is separated from bloody Spain by the deep blue sea.

Miranda designed the flag for an 1896 expedition; it was   first flown on March 12, 1806 - but in Haiti. (For more than a century, Flag Day was March 12.) The flag was first flown in Venezuela on August 3, 1806. (Since 2006 Flag Day has been August 3.)

The flag was adopted by the National Congress in 1811.

Soon after than, seven stars were added to represent the seven signers of the Venezuelan declaration of independence. Here are the variations of placement of the stars:
1817 - 1819

1830 - 1836

1836 - 1859
1859 - 1863

1863 - 1905
1905 - 1930
Variant of current flag, with coat of arms in corner

Plan ahead:

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