Looking for a picture of the old Spanish flag? The flag that was used in the days of the Empire and was hoisted high in practically every major city in South America? Our guide to the Spanish Empire flag gives you the information you want to know.
The flag of the Spanish empire has undergone many changes throughout history. The long list of rulers that passed by on the Spanish soils has all made their impact in designing the flag of the empire.
The country of Spain has an extremely rich history in terms of all the different nations that have had the chance to rule over it. From the Romans to the Visigoths to the Moors and then the final recouping of the Catholics under the rule of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella is how the history of Spain reveals itself. The flag of Spain has developed over the years along with the development of the concept of having a flag for a country. During the middle ages the National flag was not the true symbol of nationality. Rather that position was held by the Royal shield which was used to display the values that the king and his men stood for.
The following years saw the House of Habsburg taking over the throne of Spain. They were succeeded by Phillip II and during both these eras the main symbol of the Spanish empire was the Royal arms. Although many variations of the royal arms existed it was generally understood to be the symbol of Spain and the principles that it stood for. The first real attempt for creating a flag that would represent a unified Spain was made by Phillip V. During the 1700’s he changed the age old tradition by placing the cross of burgundy and a shield on a white fabric.
Spanish Empire Royal & Military Flags
The Spanish flags were divided into three groups during those times. The standard or royal flag as it was known was a crimsoned colored flag with embroidered royal arms along with the golden fleece and the necklace depicting the order of the Holy spirit. The military flag on the other hand was white in color with the cross of burgundy and the royal arms. The navy flag was again white and featured the coat of arms.
The present day flag of the Spanish empire originated during the rule of Charles III who made some modifications in the Royal arms by suppressing the necklace and maintaining the Golden Fleece. He also added a couple of other elements like the blue lines on gold along with the lilies. The intelligent mind of the king noticed that most European countries had predominantly white flags. This could cause great confusion on the water ways. Hence he called for a revamping of the flag in such a way so that it could be visible amongst other flags. The king selected the version that had the two red bands and the yellow wide one in the middle. This triband flag was strikingly different from the other triband flags present in Europe. The merchant marine flag and the civil ensign however consisted of five stripes rather than the three we find today.
The current flag of Spain finds itself defined in the constitution of 1978. Here the flag is formally divided into three bands only. The extra width of the middle yellow one is maintained. The Spanish coat of arms sits in the centre band of the Spanish flag as the symbol of the Spanish empire.