There are over 30 flags that sport blue and white and nearly 20 other flags incorporate a sun. Combine the colors and the sun and you’re left with two competitors: Uruguay and Argentina. But which one has the sun in the middle?
Argentina’s flag is the winner, as it has three horizontal stripes in blue, white, and blue, with a golden sun in the center.
Let’s learn a bit about where this design came from and how the flag is used today.
The History of Argentina’s Flag
This flag, officially called the national flag of the Argentine Republic, was created by Manual Belgrano in the early 19th century, when Argentina was in the midst of the War of Independence.
The original design included the three bands but no sun. It was first raised in Rosario, Argentina, in 1812 as a symbol of the war. The flag remained a war flag for a few years and was not incorporated as the national flag until the Congress of Tucuman in 1816.
In 1818, the sun was added to the center of the flag. The Argentine flag that shows the sun is called the Official Ceremonial Flag. You may still see the flag without the sun, called the Ornamental Flag.
The Design of the Argentine Flag
This flag is officially found in a 9:14 proportion. It has three horizontal stripes alternating between light blue, white, and light blue again. The belief is that these colors represent the sky and clouds; however, historians believe it comes from Argentina’s previous loyalty to the House of Bourbon, a European dynasty.
The central sun has 32 sunbeams, 16 straight and 16 wavy. It is golden yellow with an inexpressive face.
The Meaning Behind the Flag
The sun on the flag is called the Sun of May and represents the Incan god of the sun. The design of this sun was copied from the engraving of the first Argentine coin of 1813.
The word May refers to the month because the May Revolution that initiated Argentina’s independence occurred from May 18 to 25 in 1810.
This same sun is shown on Uruguay’s flag, as they also sought independence from the Spanish Empire at the same time as Argentina.
The Argentine Flag’s Influence
The Argentine flag has been used as an example for the flag of the first independent state in Central America, as well as for the United Provinces of Central America. While the latter union has since dissolved, we can still see Argentina’s influence of blue and white stripes on the Guatemalan, Honduran, El Salvadorian, and Nicaraguan flags.
Anthems and Pledges to the Flag
There are various anthems and pledges to the Argentine flag, including the Aurora (sunrise), Saludo a la bandera (salutation to the flag), and Mi Bandera (my flag) anthems. Pledges include two variants, plus a third for military and police.
Argentines celebrate Flag Day on June 20th. The pledge is read by school directors across the country and some towns have city officials take the pledge publicly.