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Colombia

República de Colombia, Republic of Colombia

Last modified: 2013-12-04 by zoltán horváth
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[Flag of  Colombia] (2:3)
image by Željko Heimer, 20 May 2001


Official Name: Republic of Colombia (República de Colombia)
Capital: Bogota (Santafé de Bogotá)
Location: South America
Government Type: Republic
Flag adopted: 26 November 1861
Coat of Arms adopted: 6 August 1955
ISO Code: CO


See also:

Other sites:


The National Flag

According to [pay00] - National flag (CSW/-S- (2:3)) - Regarding the yellow stripe, the Album approximation gives it as Pantone 135c. Some other sources also agree that the shade of Colombian yellow is different from the shade used by Ecuador and Venezuela (notably Shipmate Chart and [zna99]). However, converting the given Pantone to RGB gave by my software one colour that I'd call buff, much similar to the colour used in Album as the background, and certainly not very yellow. I chose this light yellow shade to represent the Colombian yellow. Hopefully this is not much mistaken, and anyway, it serves only to show the difference from the other two Nueavagranadan yellows.
Željko Heimer, 16 May 2001

I must say that some colours given in album 2000 seem quite strange. Pantone 135 is NOT yellow but it is buff and nothing else, you are right. Yellow shades in [zna99] are the same for all three states, blue is different.
Ralf Stelter, 17 May 2001

I agree, in next corr. it will be changed to Pantone 116C.
Armand du Payrat, 17 May 2001

On page 207 of [zna99] is so as Ralf Stelter say , but when taking a look at page 128, here blue is different, indeed, but yellows are distinctly different. However, Colombian is here darker then the other two. Also in Shipmate chart, now when I look at it in daylight, the Colombian yellow seems darker then the other two, but the difference is not so obvious.
Željko Heimer, 17 May 2001

In National flags and distinctive markings - Change Nr 1 [pay01] - Yellow shade changed on all flags (116c / C0-M15-Y95-K0 instead of 135c / C0-M20-Y60-K0)
Ivan Sache, 8 October 2001

The presidency of Colombia has issued a campaign to promote national unity against violence and for peace. The campaing exhorts colombians to hoist their flag permanently outside their homes, workplaces, cars, etc. All the info (not much, indeed) is at this site <www.presidencia.gov.co>.
Guillermo Tell Aveledo Coll, 24 April 2002

I found the CMYK codes for the Colombian flag. I don't know if whether they're official, but I found them on the Colombian President's office website, so they could be. Here they are
Yellow: C:0, M:10, Y:100, K:0
Blue: C:100, M:70, Y:0, K:0
Red: C:0, M:100, Y:90, K:0
Source: <www.presidencia.gov.co>.
Carlos A Leiva, 30 July 2002

Album [pay01] has slightly different values, given there as approximate:
Yellow: C:0 - M:15 - Y:95 - K:0
Blue: C:100 - M:70 - Y:0 - K:30
Red: C:0 - M:90 - Y:80 - K:0
Ivan Sache, 5 August 2002

Though indeed Colombia's flag has a "darker" shade of yellow than Ecuador and Venezuela it is slightly lighter than the one depicted in your page. If you ignore the "shadow" effects, the shade of yellow in the flags of the new rendition of the Coat of Arms (rather than a new coat of arms per se) is the proper shade.
Jaime Vengoechea, 6 January 2003

"Miranda gave at least two sources of inspiration for his flag. In a letter written to Count Semyon Vorontsov in 1792, Miranda stated that the colors were based on a theory of primary colors given to him by the German writer and philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Miranda described a late-night conversation he had with Goethe at a party in Weimar during the winter of 1785. Fascinated with Miranda's account of his exploits in the United States Revolutionary War and his travels throughout the Americas and Europe, Goethe told him that, "Your destiny is to create in your land a place where primary colors are not distorted.” He proceeded to clarify what he meant by this:
First he explained to me the way the iris transforms light into the three primary colors […] then he proved to me why yellow is the most warm, noble and closest to [white] light; why blue is that mix of excitement and serenity, a distance that evokes shadows; and why red is the exaltation of yellow and blue, the synthesis, the vanishing of light into shadow. It is not that the world is made of yellows, blues and reds; it is that in this manner, as if in an infinite combination of these three colors, we human beings see it. […] A country [Goethe concluded] starts out from a name and a flag, and it then becomes them, just as a man fulfils his destiny."
Daniel Aarhus, 23 July 2013

Very interesting writing. I've heard and read the story behind Miranda's creation of the first tricolor flag of Venezuela (which would, in turn, be adopted by Colombia and Ecuador as their national colors). However I hadn't heard the full story, so I believe it should be added to the Venezuelan, Colombian and Ecuadorian pages respectively, as they all share the same flag.
Esteban Rivera, 04 August 2013


National Flag at the London 2012 Olympics

The protocol manual for the London 2012 Olympics (Flags and Anthems Manual London 2012 [loc12]) provides recommendations for national flag designs. Each NOC was sent an image of the flag, including the PMS shades, for their approval by LOCOG. Once this was obtained, LOCOG produced a 60 x 90 cm version of the flag for further approval. So, while these specs may not be the official, government, version of each flag, they are certainly what the NOC believed the flag to be.
For Colombia: PMS 116 yellow, 287 blue, 186 red. TThe vertical flag is simply the horizontal version turned 90 degrees anti-clockwise
Ian Sumner, 10 October 2012


Meaning of the Colors

Editorial Note: We present the most popular interpretations of the colours of the flag, but it is also our duty to make the difference between "official explanations", if any and general belief. There is, as a rule, no inherent meaning of colours except in rare cases where the exact meaning is mentioned in the legislation.

Two interpretatons:
1. The yellow symbolizes sovereignty and justice; the blue nobility, loyalty and vigilance; and the red valor, honor, generosity and victory achieved at the high cost of bloodshed.
2. Yellow: universal liberty; blue: the equality of all races and social classes before God and the law; Red: fraternity
Source: Alfred Znamierowski's World Encyclopedia of Flags, 1999.
Phil Nelson , 28 Febuary 2000

As a very popular Colombian kids song says....
YELLOW is our gold
BLUE is our vast seas (oceans)
and RED is the blood that gave us our freedom... (from Spain)
S.C, 6 December 2000


Legislation

The decrees 861 of 1934, issued by the national government feeling President of the Republic the Senior General Pedro Nel Ospina and the doctor Enrique Olaya Herrera respectively, contain dispositions over the flag and the national shield. To the continuation, transcribed is the pertinent part of the flag.

Decree No. 861 of 1934 (May 17)

Article 1-The Flag--flag and standard of the Republic of colombia, contains yellow, blue, and red, distributed en three horizontal bands, of which the yellow, placed in the upper part, will have the same width to the middle of the flag, and the other two in equal bands to the forth part of the total, having the blue in the center.

Article 2-The merchant flag of colombia will be in accordance with the established decree number 309 of 1980, three meters long by two wide; it will bring in the center a shield in an oval shape, in blue background, circled by a zone of red velvet of 5 centimeters wide, and a white star in the center, with 8 rays in 10 centimeters in diameter. The axes of the oval, inside the blue background, are of 40 centimeters the bigger, and the 30 the smaller.
Paragraph-This will be the flag that one puts in use in the boats of the colombian navy and in the accredited legations and Consulates outside of the country.

Article 3-The flag of war in use in the Army, will be 1.30 meters long, by 1.10 meters wide, for the standing army; the standard, for the mounted arms, will be a meter long by one meter wide. These flags will have in the center the shield of Arms of the Republic, marked in a circumference of red velvet of 5 centimeters wide and 40 centimeters in diameter in the exteriorpart, within which it will be written, in gold letters, the name of the body (corps) of troops for which it represents.

Decree No. 62 of 1934 (January 11)

208-The flag of war in use in the Army will be, after the law, 1.35 meterslong by 1.10 wide for the mounted arms (cavalry). These flags will have in the center a shield of Arms of the Republic, inside an oval of red wool-cloth, in which it will be written, in embroidered letters of gold, the name of the body (corps) of the troops or military divisions for which it represents.

209-The flag with shield will only be used for the armed corps of the Nation.

210-The national flags that are raised in the barracks, public buildings, merchant ships, fortresses, etc. will be able to have more or less the same dimensions and won't have the shield.
Vincent , 25 October 1997

The Decree No. 1967 of August 15, 1991, which is the latest legislation on the use of the Flag, Coat of Arms and National Anthem is online at the Colombian Ministry of Communications website.
E.R, 18 June 2007

Searching through the local Yellow Pages, in the last page of the 2013 Edition, a reference appears regarding the national symbols. Then, they mention the official measurements for the Colombian flag: 1.80 m long by 1.4 m wide.
Esteban Rivera, 01 April 2013


Use of Flags

In Colombia, people (private citizens) are supossed to fly or show (i.e. from the window) the national flag on national holidays, so it is safe to suppose that a lot of private citizens own flags.  Recently, several campaigns had tried to promote the use of the flag anytime, so you can actually walk down a residential street and see flags flying from the doorposts.
The flag is supposed to be the national flag:  The Y-B-R horizontal tricolor with yellow 1/2 in height, without any defacements and any length (customary it should be 2:3 but there is nothing in the law spacifying the lenght of the national tricolor; the law is clear on the civil ensign).  However, flying the state flag by private citizens is not uncummon (the state flag is the one with the Coat of Arms on a white circle, bordered in red, when is not the presidential flag or it stands for a military unit, the inscription on the red border is usually "REPUBLICA / DE COLOMBIA").
The law says that only the president and the military units may fly flags with CoA, but as far as I know, nobody is enforcing the law preventing private citizens to use such flags.  I even dare to say that most small flags, those designed to "fly" on a pole standing over a table in, say, a school classroom, have the Coat of Arms on it.
And, of course, everytime the national soccer team plays, and mainly when it wins (and some time for other sport events) you will see the Colombian flag everywhere.  Including those colombian flags with the name of the country in white over the blue stripe, or defaced with the logo of the Colombian Football Federation, or even defaced with the logo of certain beer brand.
Carlos Thompson, 24 March 2003

After observation I am sure that the only flag that flies on land (on poles or on buildings) in Colombia is the plain Y-B-R 2:1:1 horizontal tricolor.  Flags with the Coat of Arms (on a white circle, fringed red, with a legend on the border) are reserved for indoor use (and usually fringed), and almost all indoor flags do use the Coat of Arms, not only those of the President and the Military.
Carlos Thompson, 9 January 2004

Both common Ecuadorians and Colombians use their flags with and without the arms on a daily basis.
Even though norms (laws or decrees) describe the “proper” use of “civil” and “war flags”, there is little knowledge, let alone compliance, with those norms outside police and military related institutions in both countries.
Interestingly enough, Colombian National Police units wear the flag without arms in their uniforms. Ecuador´s Army Soldiers, at least near the common border, wear their flag with arms on their field uniforms. Colombian Army soldiers do not employ flags of any kind in their field uniforms, at least within Colombia (too colorful for camouflage).
Many civil institutions (Universities, Labor Unions, Private enterprises, etc…)  in both Colombia and Ecuador do employ a Flag with a arms in their ceremonies, albeit it should employed only as a War Flag.
Inquiring in Ecuador on the subject of the regulation for the use of the arms, the common assumption was that there was a rule somewhere that ordered the use of the arms in every flag, but no one, not even army officers seemed to remember when or which kind of norm so ruled.
In the Colombian case, the latest rule, often unobserved even in the presidential palace, is the decree 1967 of 1991, by president Cesar Gaviria. It can be found here (in Spanish).
Note that the current administration disregards this decree without having ruled it out, as can be found here.    
Nicolás Velásquez, 9 May 2009

Flag with Coat of Arms


Flag with 1955 Coat of Arms
image by Željko Heimer, 20 May 2001

Yesterday, I saw in TV news the US secretary Colin Powell (in Bogota???) speaking in front of two flags, US national and Colombian state (?) flag: it was identical to the presidential flag (white circle with CoA and red margin with yellow inscription, possibly "REP..." in the in upper edge and "COLO..." in the lower one). However, I see no reason to use presidential flag as a symbol of nation during this kind of ceremony. So - isn't it the true state flag of Colombia?
Jan Zrzavy, 6 December 2002

Jan's post led me to this page with extensive extracts from Colombia's flag and coat of arms laws <www.businesscol.com>.  It doesn't clear up the issue of the possible state flag, but does contradict what we have on the Coat of Arms
Joe McMillan, 6 December 2002

Regarding the use of the coat of arms in the flag, presidential decreeb #1967 of 1991 -you can find it in this link: <www.presidencia.gov.co> - settled this long-standing issue, by limiting the use of the coat of arms to only two flags: -The President's flag -War flags. Now, in Mr. Powell's visit he was inside the presidential palace, and there the use of the president's flag is atmitted. The National Flag is without coat of arms as is correctly stated in your page.
Jaime Vengoechea, 6 January 2003

There is a photo of a flag at today's NY Times after the rescue of the FARC hostages. It contrasts with what we have in that the seal extends only halfway into the blue stripe. The inscription on this flag reads simply "REPUBLICA DE COLOMBIA".
Albert S. Kirsch, 4 July 2008

The BBC television programme 'Reporters' which was shown on the BBC News channel in the U.K. on 1 November 2009 included an interview with the Colombian Foreign Minister, and the flag behind him looked identical to the flag which Al reported. Is this perhaps a de facto Government-use flag?
André Coutanche, 3 November 2009

This flag above has the 1955 Coat of Arms instead of the Coat of Arms currently in use.
The different versions of the flag with the Coat of Arms are:
1) Heraldic version No. 1 - Coat of Arms version interpreted correctly, according to the Decrees that created it and modified it according to Heraldic norms. See wikipedia and <www.clublancita.mil.co/?idcategoria=201653> (Official Army website for kids)
2) Heraldic version No. 2 - Coat of Arms with blue seas and green isthmus, in general use and generally accepted as the current Coat of Arms. See wikipedia.
3) Government institutions version No 1 - Coat of Arms used by the Presidency of the Republic. This is the one featured Colombia - Coat of Arms. See wikipedia and Official Presidency of the Republic website.
4) Government institutions version No 2 - Coat of Arms used by government entities between 1950 and 1960 (alternating, after 1955, with the one 1955 coat of arms). This is not anymore in use, although some entities do use it, maybe erroneously because of the lack of heraldic knowledge. See wikipediaand Consulate of Colombia in Miami official website.
5) Government institutions version No 3 - Coat of Arms used by the Chamber of Representatives (Lower House of the Colombian Parliament). This is not anymore in use, since all the government entities now use the one used by the Presidency. See wikipedia and <www.camara.gov.co>.
6) Government institutions version No 4 - Coat of Arms used by the Senate of the Republic (Upper House of the Colombian Parliament). Until very recently they used a Coat of Arms different from the previous five (see Colombia - Senate Flag ), but now they have adopted (as the other government institutions have and should) the one in use by the Presidency.
7) Proposal - There was actually a proposal between 2007 and 2008 of changing several elements of the Coat of Arms, in order to be more accurate with the current situation of the country, for example replacing the Isthmus of Panamá for the Archipelago of San Andres and Providencia, but a lot of controversy arose from it, without any formal conclusion. The image of the proposal is at wikipedia.
So the current Coat of Arms of Colombia is the Heraldic Version No. 2 but the one more generally accepted and usually used by Government institutions and sometimes by civilian populatin (specially in electronic format) is the one used by the Presidency of the Republic.
E.R., , 3 November 2009

Flag with Coat of Arms - Variant


image located by Esteban Rivera, 12 May 2013

On April 22, 2013 during a speech of the current President of Colombia, a Colombian flag was featured showing the Coat of Arms but with no circular fringe around it and without any inscription.
Esteban Rivera, 12 May 2013

See also: Colombia - Presidential Flag

Flag with Smaller Coat of Arms


image by Eugene Ipavec, 11 April 2006

I saw the website from the Colombian government agency called Proexport, which is an agency to promote exports and foreign direct investment. The image is the traditional Colombian tricolor flag with the usual coat of arms, but the coat of arms is on a smaller scale.
E.R., 11 April 2006

I estimate the coat of arms disc diameter at 1/4 height instead of the usual 2/5.
Eugene Ipavec, 11 April 2006

I would say that this is not an official flag, even if used by an state isntitution. In Colombia very few people care to follow legal rules about flags, and it is not uncommon to see even policemen with the national flag upside down in their uniforms.
In this case, I suppose a publicist just put an smaller coat of armas into the flag, maybe because he thought it would look
nicer.
Nicolas Velásquez, 11 April 2006

Flag with Inscription


image by Francisco Gregoric, 28 Febuary 2003

The description of this flag of the Colombians in Ecuador was made by Jaime Vengoechea from Bogota, Colombia. He says this flag is used in Football (Soccer) Stadiums in Ecuador, and the Colombian Community of Ecuador uses it too.Jaime also told us that taxi drivers in Bogota sometimes use the same kind of flag.
Francisco Gregoric, 28 Febuary 2003

Yes, indeed I described this flag but I want to warn you about it's use:
1. Some Colombians in Ecuador use it, specially in the context of soccer games between Colombia and Ecuador, where of course a matter of proportions won't help people tell who you support.
2. It could also be seen during the last world cup, where if you recall Colombia did not compete but Ecuador did.
3. The taxi dirver version would be a hand-held flag of I guess 20 by 10 cm.
4. None of these uses are official
5. And it is not a widesprad use.
Francisco is probably aware of the practice in Argentina of writing messages on the white stripe, that range form "Marado sos dios" to things no one understands. Some flagmaker in Colombia propbably thought it would be worthwhile to make this sort of flag industrially.
We should be careful about labelling this the "flag of colombians in Ecuador" nor of the "Colombain Community in Ecuador" , since its use is far from widespread, and I think most colombians in Ecuador would not feel identified with such a flag. The true nature of this flag is one used abroad, particularilly in Ecuador, usually in a context where there woudln't be clarity as to what nation that flag is to represent. And as little flags to put on the window of the taxi. And various other spontaneous uses.
Jaime Vengoechea, 2 March 2003

The commercial use of the flag has been very common with the Colombian flag in football matches.  For some time, a brewery has been sponsoring the Colombian Football Team and in the stadiums they give people Colombian flags with the logo of one of their beer trade marks, so when people is flying the flag to hail the team they are, at the same time, advertizing the brewery.
Carlos Thompson, 2 March 2003

Vertical Flag


image by Eugene Ipavec and Željko Heimer, 25 August 2005

Photos that were taken during Colombia's Independence Day parade on July 20th, 2005 in Bogotá, the country's capital, show the Colombian flag on a vertical manner.
E.R., 25 August 2005


image by Eugene Ipavec and Željko Heimer, 19 August 2008

Flag spotted on 6 June 2008 at Eldorado Airport, Bogota. It was hanged on an hangar and I believe that it belongs to one of two Air Force units: CAMAN or CATAM that are located in this airport.
E.R., 19 August 2008

Flag with Cravat


image by Eugene Ipavec, 4 March 2006

Here is version of the Colombian official flag with cravat on the top of the of the flag pole.
Source: Picture taken from the Colombian newspaper El Tiempo on January 26, 2006.
E.R., 4 March 2006

Flag with Coat of Arms and Motto

I spotted today on the official website of the General Command of Military Forces website, the Colombian flag with coat of arms and motto. The motto is LIBERTAD Y ORDEN (Liberty and Order) in golden capital letters on the bottom fringe of the outter circle surrounding the coat of arms. The photo was taken on October 23, 2009, in the city of Cartagena
E.R., 26 October 2009


The Cockade


image by Eugene Ipavec, 6 January 2006

This is the Colombian tricolor, cockade version.. I've seen it at special parades. The design is similar to the cockade of the Cartagena State (1811-184). The only differences is the color composition.
Source: Photo at Ministry of National Defense official website.
E.R., 6 January 2006


Flag Macaw

The parrot Ara macao (in English: macaw; in French: ara) is known in Colombia as guacamaya bandera. The epithet bandera  recalls that the bird has the same colours as the national flag.   However, on the images of the macaw I have found, the colours seem to be arranged, from top to bottom, as red-yellow-blue instead of yellow-blue-red in the flag. Well, it is not said that the bird "wears" the national flag!   I guess the same name can be used in neighbouring Ecuador and Venezuela.   Here is image as an example.
Source: Guide du Routard <www.routard.com>.
Ivan Sache, 26 December 2004