Flag of Guatemala
Adopted August 17, 1871 [1]
Designed by (unknown)
Proportions 5:8 [2]

The national flag of Guatemala consists of three equal vertical bands of light blue (hoist side), white, and light blue with the national emblem centred in the white band; the national emblem includes a green and red quetzal (the national bird) and a scroll bearing the inscription LIBERTAD 15 DE SEPTIEMBRE DE 1821 (the original date of independence from Spain) all superimposed on a pair of crossed Remington rifles and a pair of crossed swords and framed by a wreath.[3]

Guatemala, civil

Civil flag

The civil flag of Guatemala is the same as the national flag, but is not charged with the national emblem.


The flag uses blue-white-blue colour scheme, common for the Central American nations. Ultimately it's based on the flag of Argentina.

The white stripe between two blue stripes generally are interpreted as representation of the Central American isthmus between two oceans.

Also the white stands for purity, integrity, faith, obedience, firmness, vigilance, peace, and the nation; and the blue stands for justice, loyalty, kindness, strength, and the skies of Guatemala.[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 Guatemala became one of its five states. The flag of the federation and of its states was chosen to resemble the flag of Argentina. Thus, Guatemala adopted a simple flag of three horizontal stripes: blue, white, and blue. In 1838 the state emblem was added.

The federation dissolved in civil war between 1838 and 1840. Thus Guatemala hoisted a new flag on November 14, 1843, which included the volcanoes found in the coat of arms of Antigua Guatemala, the former capital of Guatemala, along with a rising sun and a quiver with arrows.

In 1851, when a conservative pro-Spanish faction took over the power the Spanish colours of red and yellow were added to the flag. On May 21, 1858, the scheme of the flag was rearranged.

When "Liberal Revolution" came in 1871 basic flag used by Guatemala today was introduced. The blue-white-blue stripes of the 1823 flag were set vertically in the in order to contrast it with the flags of El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Honduras. Different artistic variations were in use in the following decades, but on September 15, 1968, the present pattern was established, and a minor change was made on December 26, 1997.[5][6]


  1. Flag of Guatemala at Wikipedia
  2. Guatemala at Flags of the World
  3. Flag of Guatemala at CIA World Factbook
  4. Bandera de Guatemala at Spanish Wikipedia
  5. Guatemala, flag of. (2009). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved January 25, 2009, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online
  6. Guatemala - Historical Flags at Flags of the World
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