The flag of Spain, as it is defined in the Spanish Constitution of 1978, consists of three horizontal stripes: red, yellow and red, the yellow stripe being twice the size of each red stripe. Traditionally, the middle stripe was defined by the more archaic term of gualda, and hence the popular name rojigualda (red-weld). I find it to be one of the most interesting flags out there. I love the brightness of the colors.
The origin of the current flag of Spain is the naval ensign of 1783, under Charles III of Spain. It was chosen by Charles III himself among 12 different flags designed by Antonio Valdés y Bazán. The flag remained marine for much of the next 50 years, flying over coastal fortresses, marine barracks and other naval property. During the Peninsular War the flag could also be found on marine regiments fighting inland. Not until 1820 was the first Spanish land unit (The La Princesa Regiment) provided with one and it was not until 1843 that Queen Isabella of Spain would make the flag official. Throughout the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, the color scheme of the flag remained intact, with the exception of the Second Republic period (1931–1939); the only changes centered on the coat of arms. (Which is my favorite part of this flag)
The King of Spain uses a flag known as the Royal Standard. The Royal Standard of Spain consists of a dark blue square with the Coat of Arms of the King in the center. It is usually flown at the King's official residence, the Palacio de la Zarzuela, other Spanish royal sites, displayed on his official car as small flags, and has a military use. The Royal Guidon is regulated by Title II, Rule 1, of Royal Decree 1511/1977. It is identical to the Royal Standard except that the Royal Guidon has a Gold fringe. It is made of silk’s taffeta. The size of the guidon is 80 x 80 cm. It is the personal command ensign or positional flag of the monarch, and is carried nearby him.
The heir of the crown, the Prince of Asturias, has his own standard and guidon. The Standard of the Prince of Asturias is regulated by Royal Decree 284/2001 that modified the Title II of Spanish Royal Decree 1511/1977. The Standard of the Prince of Asturias consists of a light blue (the color of the flag of Asturias) square flag with the coat of arms of the Prince of Asturias in the center. The Guidon is identical to the Standard except that the Royal Guidon has a gold fringe. It is also made of silk taffeta. The size of the guidon is the same.
While the concept of a national flag did not exist in the Middle Ages, the symbol of Spain was the Royal Shield. It was frequently made up of other different flags, full of images and symbols that represented all the values that the troops or the King defended.
In 1760 Charles III modified the shield of the Royal arms, suppressing the necklace of the Holy Spirit, maintained the Golden Fleece and added two new quarters, corresponding to the House of Farnese (six blue lilies on gold) and Medici (blue disc with three lilies of gold and five red discs, all on gold). The military flag or Coronela of Spanish regiments was, during the Bourbon years, the Cross of Burgundy with different additions in each military unit depending on their territorial origin, commander, etc. When Charles III became King of Spain, he observed that most of the countries in Europe used flags which were predominantly white and, since they were frequently at war with each other, lamentable confusions occurred at sea, it being difficult to determine if a sighted ship were enemy until practically the last moment. For this reason, he ordered to his Minister of the Navy to present several models of flags to him, having to be visible from great distances. The Minister selected twelve sketches which were shown to the king. The flag that was chosen as war ensign is the direct ancestor of the current flag. It was a triband red-yellow-red, of which the yellow band was twice the width of the red bands, a unique feature that distinguished the Spanish tribanded flag from other tribanded European flags. The flag chosen as civil ensign or for Merchant Marine use, meanwhile, consisted of five stripes of yellow-red-yellow-red-yellow, in proportions 1:1:2:1:1.
Source: Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Spain
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