Last modified: 2013-11-21 by zoltán horváth
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image by eljko Heimer, 11 February 2007
Official Name: Republic of Cuba (República
Government Type: Communist State
Flag adopted: 20 May 1902
Flag Designer: Narciso López (1849)
Coat of Arms adopted: 24 April 1906
ISO Code: CU
The official version of the Cuban government about the meaning
of the shapes and colors of the cuban flag says that the blue
stripes refer to the three old divisions of the island, the two
white to the strength of the independentist ideal, the red
triangle stands for equality, fraternity and freedom as well as
for the blood split in the strugle for independence and the lone
star symbolizes the absolute freedom among the peoples
M.V. Blanes , 19 Febuary 2000
Wasn't it so, that the star in the Cuban flag, at least at
start, was meant to become one of the stars in the Stars and Stripes ? The Cubans wanted to
belong to the US at that time (late 19th Century).
Elias Granqvist, 23 June 2000
Crampton's 'World of Flags', 1990, has: "The white star (La
Estrella Solitaria) represented a new state to be added to
the USA. The red, white, and blue also referred deliberately to
the Stars and Stripes." (p. 32)
Eve Devereux, in: 'Flags, the illustrated Identifier to flags of the world', 1994, has: "The ironic similarity between the "Lone Star" flag of Cuba and the Stars and Stripes of its arch enemy, the USA, is far from coincidental. The design can be traced to 1849 and General Narciso López (d. 1851), a Venezuelan filibuster who, living in the USA, was anxious to liberate Cuba from the Spanish and claim it for his adopted country - hence the single star, to be added to the others." (p. 10)
Jarig Bakker, 23 June 2000
From Album 2000 [pay00] -
National Flag (CSW/CSW (1:2)) - Five striped
blue-white-blue-white-blue flag with red trangle at hoist with a
white star in it.
eljko Heimer, 3 June 2001
As for the Cuban flag, I have seen many in South Florida and
one on a Cuban freighter in Toronto harbor. The one on the
freighter used a dark blue. The ones I've seen here use a medium
to medium-dark shade. Never have I seen a Cuban flag in light
Al Kirsch, 3 July 2001
According to Whitney Smith, there is no official specification
of the shade of blue of the Cuban flag. In Album des Pavillons
2000, I give as approx code numbers 186c and 280c.
Armand du Payrat, 4 January 2002
I would like to point out that the true color of the Cuban
flag is turquoise blue and not the ocean blue you show in your
site.The reason why the color is almost always ocean blue is
purely, or impurely, commercial: the flag
manufacturers, possibly non-Cuban, found it cheaper to produce
one instead of the other. When seen in its true color, which
represents our sky, the beauty of the Cuban flag can leave one
breathless. Although you do give the precise measurements, your
description is not truly the "official" one:
" Three light blue stripes, later changed to ocean
blue". Changed? By whom?
R. García Bárcena, 6 May 2002
My parents visited Cuba last month and bought a flag at the
airport of Havana. The colour of the blue field is indeed
"ocean blue" as shown on our website. The probability
that the flag they bought was manufactured in a foreign country
is extremely low. I have also photos taken in Havana by my
mother, showing the Cuban national flag vertically displayed
among revolutionary mottos painted on a wall in Havana, and here
again the flag is "ocean blue".
Ivan Sache, 6 May 2002
Could it be that this tourqouise blue is the old blue, as
shown in the old Cuban presidential flag, and the ocean blue we
now have is the more modern blue?
Manuel L. Quezon, 7 May 2002
If so, it was a rather transient blue, since Flaggenbuch
already made a clear distinction between the blue shades of the
national and Presidential flags. By the way, the current
Presidential flag is still turquoise blue.
Ivan Sache, 7 May 2002
I believe "azul turqui o azul marino" should be
translated to "turquoise blue or navy blue". I've
translated "azul marino" to navy blue which is more
accurate than ocean blue. It refers to the same color using
different names. The different shades of blue is problably
due to flagmakers using the turq. blue as indicated by their
color charts rather than dark turq. blue (navy blue) that is
Marcos Obregon, 30 July 2002
La bandera de Cuba is prescribed in the Constitution as
Capítulo I - Fundamentos Politicos, Sociales y Economicos del Estado
Art. 2. Los símbolos nacionales son los que han presidido por más de cien años las luchas cubanas por la independencia, por los derechos del pueblo y por el progreso social: la bandera de la estrella solitaria; el himno de Bayamo; el escudo de la palma real.
[Text from Georgetown University's Political Data Base of the Americas <www.georgetown.edu>]
Chapter I - Political, Social and Economic Principles of the State
Art. 2. The national symbols are those which have presided over hundred years in the Cuban struggles for independence, the rights of the people and social progress: The lone star flag; The Bayamo anthem; The royal palm shield.
[After the translation given by P. Vagnat & J. Poels in Constitutions - What they tell us about national flags and coat of arms [vap00].]
The text quoted above comes from the Constitution of 24 February 1976. When the Constitution was amended in 1992, that text remained unchanged but was moved down to Art. 4.
Ivan Sache, 17 March 2003
On the red triangle in the flag, this is very similar to the
"typical" Cuban country dress of a red kerchief worn
around the neck, which forms a triangle over the back a white
cotton or linnen shirt. Adding the blue stripes to this very
common image would create the flag.
The Cuban national bird, the tocororo, sports red, white, and blue plumage.
Hiram Diaz, 11 January 2005
According to <www.nacion.cult.cu>,
The Cubans call their flag the Lone Star Flag - just as the Texans call their flag!
Miles Li, 21 October 2006
The Law on the Flag gives a detailed description of the flag:
Law 42 on National Symbols issued by the National Assembly of the People´s Power in 1983 and published in Gaceta Oficial de la República de Cuba, December 1983: "[...] its shape is rectangular, twice length than width, composed by five horizontal stripes having all the same width, three deep blue and two white, placed alternatively. A red equilateral triangle, one of its vertical edges occupying the whole height of the flag and constituting its fixed edge. The triangle bears in its center a five-pointed white star, within an imaginary circle, whose diameter is the third of the flag´s height, having one of its points towards the free upper edge of the flag."
Source: Symbols of the Cuban nation website.
The same source gives colour recommendations, according to the Pantone system
RGB 002A8F CB1515
Pantone Coated Key # 2765 CVC Key # 186 CVC
Pantone Process Key # 179-1 Key # 75-1
Pantone ProSim Key # 2765 CVP Key # 1805 CVP
Pantone Uncoated Key # 2748 CVU Key # 179 CVU
Focol Tone Key # 7027 Key # 7017 HKSK - Key # 15 K
Toyo Color Finder - Key # 0098pc
Trumatch Key # 38-a5 Key # 6-a3
Ivan Sache, 11 February 2007
Woodson Rainey asked:
"I am comparing the flag of Cuba with the flag of Puerto Rico On this site. The flag of Cuba has a blue field that is clearly an equilateral triangle. The flag of Puerto Rica has a blue field that appears to be isosceles with the two base angles greater than 60 degrees and extending into the banner by a dimension equal to 4 stripes.
Is this true or is this a printing/drawing illusion?"
No it isn't a printing illusion, however (and strangely enough), if made according to legislation both flags should actually have the same equilateral triangle at their hoist (the flag of Cuba according to Law No.42 or 1983 and that of Puerto Rico by Act No. 1 of 1952). Despite this, the Puerto Rican legislation is apparently ignored in practice, with the apex of the triangle only extending the centre point of the flag.
Christopher Southworth, 15 July 2009
The protocol manual for the
London 2012 Olympics
(Flags and Anthems Manual
London 2012 [loc12]) provides recommendations
for national flag designs. Each
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
believed the flag to be.
For Cuba: PMS 485c red, 301c blue. The vertical flag is simply the horizontal version turned 90 degrees clockwise.
Ian Sumner, 10 October 2012
From Barraclough and Crampton: Flags Of the World (1981) [brc81]: "A Venezuelan general,
Narciso López, made in 1848 the first serious attempt to help
Cuba break away from Spanish rule. He carried 'La Estrella
Solitaria' -'The Lone Star'-banner, Cuba's present flag. (While
he was having important meetings on the revolution, his wife
embroidered it). His attempt was not successful; only in 1902
Cuba became an independent republic and López's flag was adopted
as the official flag. The three blue stripes are the symbols of
the original three provinces. The triangle is a masonic symbol,
here signifying liberty, equality and fraternity. The red color
is for the blood sacrificed by the Cuban patriots.
Jarig Bakker, 29 October 1998
"The year was 1849. It was a steamy hot day in New York City
and General Narciso López, of Venezuelan origin, had joined the
fight for Cuba's independence. Exhausted from planning all that
was entailed in bringing Revolution to Cuba, he sat a local park,
and quickly fell asleep. He was concerned about the pending
arrival in Cuba. He felt a flag was necessary to add patriotic
fervor to the endeavor. When he awoke in the park, the colors of
the splendorous sky allowed him to envision the would-be flag.
Full of emotion, he went to his friend, a poet and soon-to-be
patriot, Miguel Teurbe Tolón, who incorporated Narciso's ideas
and designed the flag which was later sewn by Emilia Teurbe
And so it was: Three light blue stripes, later changed to ocean blue, representing Cuba's three sections at the time, Western, Central and Eastern. The two white stripes representing the purity and justice of the patriotic liberators' motives. While the lone white star within the equilateral red traingle represents the unity of our people upon the blood spilled by our revolutionary heroes. "
Dov Gutterman, 9 January 1999
When Cuba became independent from Spain on May 20, 1902, Céspedes Flag was officially designated
the flag of the city of his birth: Bayamo, Oriente, and the flag
which Venezuelan-born, Cuban patriot, Narciso López flew in the
city of Cárdenas on May 19, 1850, was officially designated the
Cuban national flag. In honor of Cespedes and the bravery of the
residents of Bayamo, who during the 10 Year War burned the
prosperous city to the ground and moved to the forrest rather
than surrender it to the Spaniards, Bayamo was proclaimed a
"National Monument" and from then on would have its
name proceeded by the initials M.N. for "Monumento
Nacional." Since Cuba gained independence from Spain, the
flag of Bayamo is displayed alongside the Cuban national flag at
official ceremonies and events.
Dr. Eladio José Armesto, 1 April 2002
Translated from "Historia de la isla de Cuba " by
Carlos Márquez Sterling, Manuel Márquez Sterling - History -
1975 - Page 77: "Narciso Lopez, the poet Miguel Teurbe
Tolón, José Aniceto Iznaga Borrell, his nephew José Maria
Sanchez Iznaga, Cirilo Villaverde and Juan Manuel Macias, drew up
the flag of Cuba which is now the official flag: 2 white
stripes, three blue, a red triangle and a solitary
star. With this flag they vowed to fight to the death
till Cuba was independent. (1848)
Jorge A. Iznaga y Diez, 6 September 2009
The "Prensa Latina" agency, 18 August 2010, reports that Emilia Teurbe Tolón,
born in 1828 in Matanzas, died in August 1902 in Madrid (Spain). An extensive
search performed through the cemetaries of Madrid allowed in April 2010 the
identification of Emilia Teurbe Tolón's tomb in the Nuestra Señora de La
Almudena cemetary. After exhumation and transfer of the remains, Emilia Teurbe
Tolón shall be buried on 23 August in the Colón necropolis, La Havana.
The flag embroidered by Emilia Teurbe Tolón is kept in the Revolution Museum, La Havana.
More on Emilia Teurbe Tolón and the quest for her remains.
Ivan Sache, 22 August 2010
image by eljko Heimer, 11 February 2007
The construction details are given beside the figure at Album
2000 [pay00], giving width of
each stripe as 2, the length of the flag, therefore, as 20. The
star is inscribed in a circle of diameter 3. Not indicated on the
figure (not to overcomplicate it) is that the triangle is
equilateral (this shown on my image by giving each angle 60
degrees) and the center of the circle circumscribing the star
being in the center of gravity of the triangle (therefore in the
crossing of bisectors of the angles).
eljko Heimer, 3 June 2001
The 1939 Flaggenbuch [gfb39]
gives a very detailed spec, but places the star within an
imaginary circle equalling 1/3 of flag width, as opposed to the
3/10 given in the Album
Christopher Southworth, 16 March 2004
However, according to the info at Symbols of
the Cuban nation website it seems that the 1939 Flaggenbuch
is right while the 2000 Album is errorneous (or at least
eljko Heimer, 11 February 2007
image by eljko Heimer, 27 June 2002
Apparently, the cuban parliament just changed the country's
constitution in order to make the socialist regime untouchable by
the legislators. This was an information given today on our TV,
and the brief report showed images of the cuban parliament in La
Havana. There where two flags in display, both vertical, and both
attached to the wall behind the honour tribune, where major
officials seat. These flags where on both sides of the Cuban CoA,
which was in the center of the wall. To the right of the CoA
(viewer's left) there was the cuban flag, in a vertical variation
(I didn't notice if the star was rotated or not, though) and to
the other side, there was vertical Céspedes
Jorge Candeias, 27 June 2002
The image found by Ned also shows how the cuban national flag
appears when displayed vertically. Not surprisingly, it's also a
simple rotation of the horizontal flag, therefore without the
rotation of the star that could be hypothesized for that
Jorge Candeias, 28 June 2002
My parents went to Cuba this summer and took several pictures
of vertical Cuban flags used as mural decoration which confirmed
your answer. There is also a famous black and white photography
of a Revolution meeting given by the Three Commanders, which
shows the upper part of a vertical flag with non-rotated star.
The photography was taken by Raul Corrales, and the postcard
showing it is entitled: "Tres Comandantes (Fidel, Camilo,
Che). Cuba 1959." The Three Commanders are Fidel Castro,
Camilo Cienfuegos, and Ernesto "Che" Guevara,
Ivan Sache, 7 July and 13 August 2002
Rebelde", 27 January 2007, reports that a huge Cuban
national flag completely covers the balcony of the Pharmacy
Museum of Matanzas, the town known as the Cuban Athens and where
the Cuban flag was hoisted for the first time, in 1850.
The flag is 15.5 m x 1.5 m, and each stripe is made of a single piece of fabric. The flag was made by Dr. Maria María Dolores Figueroa, the first woman to be chemist in Matanzas and wife of Ernesto Triolet, owner of the building. The flag was shown on the balcony for the first time on 20 May 1902 (the day the flag was adopted); since then, it has been shown every year (therefore for 105 years) on 28 January (the Cuban national day). According to the Director of the Museum, Marcia Brito, the flag is shown only one day per year for the sake of conservation.
Ivan Sache, 11 February 2007
Could you help me with identification of this Cuban flag? It is a simple
five-striped blue and white flag, with the national arms
Stan, 26 October 2009
Since it appears to have attachments along both left and
right, instead just along a hoist edge, is it a flag at all?
Perhaps it is a one-off podium or wall hanging, or some similar
type of decoration.
Ned Smith, 27 October 2009