Eagle Flag of Mexico Explained

Ever wondered why there’s an eagle on the Mexican flag? Want to know what the eagle on the flag means? Our guide to the flag of Mexico gives you the facts & information you’ll want to know.

The current Mexican flag has been officially in use since 1968, although the origins of the general three colored design go back as far as 1821. The flag of Mexico has three vertical stripes on it; green, white and red.

The Eagle in the Mexican Flag

In the middle of the Mexican flag between the green and red stripes is a picture of an eagle holding a snake in its mouth hand right claw. The Left claw of the eagle is resting upon a cactus plant which in turn is situated in a lake. In order to understand the meaning of this image we have delve briefly into the history of Mexico and the Aztec people in particular. The Aztecs were the original inhabitants of Mexico native to the land before the Europeans came to settle there. According to Aztec legend, the people were commanded to build a city wherever they saw an eagle clutching a snake. According to legend his is in fact what they saw in Mexico City which is why they built the capital city there.

Origins of the Eagle Flag of Mexico

The origins of the official establishment of the Mexican flag complete with the eagle dates back to the Olympic games of 1968 held in Mexico city. Before 1968 the Mexican flag was often used without the Eagle picture in the middle, however this presented a problem as it looked too similar to the Italian flag which uses exactly the same colors in the same order. To prevent confusion the Mexican government ordered that henceforth the flag of Mexico should have the eagle emblem on it.

Symbolism of the Mexican Flag

The symbolism of the three colors of the Mexican flag is also best explained in light of Mexican history. Originally a colony of Spain, Mexico finally gained it’s independence in the 19th century. The color green was chosen for the flag to represent independence from Spain. The color red was originally intended to represent unity with Europe which was still in many ways the cultural motherland of many of the Mexican elite classes. The color white is said to be representative of the purity of the Catholic religion which predominated in Mexico.  Nowadays, there is no official reason given for the choosing of these colors on the Mexican flag, mainly because there original reasons now seem so outdated and irrelevant to most Mexicans.