Flag of Costa Rica
Costa Rica
Adopted November 12, 1848 [1]
Designed by Pacífica Fernández
Proportions 3:5 [2]

The national flag of Costa Rica (referred to as bandera) consists of five horizontal bands of blue (top), white, red (double width), white, and blue.

Costa Rica (state)

State flag

The state flag (referred to as pabellón nacional) is the same as the national flag, but is charged with the state emblem in a white elliptical disk on the hoist side of the red band; above the state emblem a light blue ribbon contains the words, AMERICA CENTRAL, and just below it near the top of the coat of arms is a white ribbon with the words, REPUBLICA COSTA RICA. The current state flag was adopted on November 27, 1906.[3]

November 12 is celebrated in Costa Rica as the Day of the National Flag (Día del Pabellón Nacional).


The flag uses blue-white-blue colour scheme, common for the Central American nations. Ultimately it's based on the flag of Argentina, one of the earliest Spanish colonies to proclaim independence. The white stripe between two blue stripes generally are interpreted as representation of the Central American isthmus between two oceans. The red stripe was added in 1848 when in response to events in France, it was decided to incorporate the French colours into the national flag.

Officially the colours are interpreted as follows:

  • The blue colour stands for the sky, opportunities, idealism and perseverance.
  • The white colour stands for peace, wisdom and happiness.
  • The red colour stands for the blood spilt by martyrs in defence of the country, as well as the warmth and generosity of the people.[4]


From the 16th century through 1821 Central America formed the Captaincy General of Guatemala, sometimes known also as the Kingdom of Guatemala. Officially, the Captaincy was part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain and therefore under the rule of the Spanish viceroy in Mexico City.

On September 15, 1821, Mexico (including Guatemala) proclaimed its independence from Spain. For short time the Spanish Captain General remained leader of independent Guatemala. On January 5, 1822, the Captaincy General was annexed by the First Mexican Empire.

On July 1, 1823, the congress of Central America declared absolute independence from Spain, Mexico, and any other foreign nation, and a Republican system of government was established. In 1823 the Federal Republic of Central America was formed, and Costa Rica became one of its five states.

The federation broke up in 1838 but Costa Rica did proclaim its independence till 1848 and Costa Rican flags remained based on the Central American banner, although the 1840–42 version reversed the stripes to white-blue-white.

On September 29, 1848, a distinctive new design was created at the suggestion of Pacífica Fernández Oreamuno, wife of President José María Castro Madriz. An admirer of France (the scene of revolution in 1848), she recommended the addition of a red stripe to the flag. Placed in the centre and double the width of the other stripes, this new stripe was to symbolize the “civilization of the century” and the sun casting on Costa Rica the “first rays of its true independence.” This basic flag has continued in use since that time. However, the coat of arms that appears on the flag used by the government was altered slightly in 1906 and 1934 and, most recently, on October 21, 1964.[5]


  1. Flag of Costa Rica at Wikipedia
  2. Costa Rica at Flagsof the World
  3. Flag of Costa Rica at CIA World Factbook
  4. Bandera de Costa Rica at Spanish Wikipedia
  5. Costa Rica, flag of. (2009). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved January 28, 2009, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online
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