Costa Rica is a country filled with amazing people, decorated with a colorful culture and a rich history. And part of that history is their flag. If you find yourself in the country in September, you’ll probably find the flag everywhere.
From houses and parks to government offices, the flag can be seen as throughout the whole month, the country celebrates its independence from Spain, which they got on September 15, 1821.
The flag stands as a visual symbol of the country’s natural beauty, rich history, and ideologies and is actually a great way to begin learning about the country.
The Costa Rican flag is a more than just a collection of lines and colors, it is a glimpse into the past and present of the country, and in this article, we take a deep look into what the flag of Costa Rica stands for. Read on to find out more.
What Does the Flag of Costa Rica Represent?
The flag represents what the country of Costa Rica is all about. Despite its seemingly simple design, the flag stands to show Costa Rica’s love of nature, independence, and society. That is why all the colors on the flag symbolize something much deeper. This also stands true with all the flag’s variants.
The flag has undergone changes over the years, which also represent shifts in the country’s mindset and ideology. You may encounter some variants that include the Costa Rican coat of arms, but more on that later.
A Brief History Of The Flag of Costa Rica
Since the country was colonized by the Spanish empire for a significant period of time, they didn’t have their own national flag for a significant period of time.
For most of its colonial history, Costa Rica was under the captaincy of Guatemala, which was an autonomous entity within the Spanish Empire. It was because of this the country used the variants of the flags used by the Spanish Empire at the time.
The country was given independence in 1823 and was part of the Federal Republic of Central America which existed from 1823 to 1841. During this period, the country used the flag of the Federal Republic of Central America, which was a blue and white striped flag.
The only distinction was that the center of the flag bore Costa Rica’s coat of arms. When the Federal Republic was officially dissolved in 1841, Costa Rica made more variations to the flag which brought it closer to the one we’re familiar with today.
The current design seen on the flag came to fruition in 1848. It was designed by Pacifica Fernandez, the wife of the then-president, Jose Maria Castro Madriz. It was inspired by the 1848 French Revolution in which the French Second Republic was created. Fernandez adopted the tri-color scheme of the French flag and made it into the current design of the country’s flag.
What Do The Colors of Costa Rica Flag Mean?
The flag consists of three colors: blue, white, and red. Each of these tones has a profound meaning that serves as a reminder of the country’s past, while also being a vision of the country’s present and future.
The blue on the flag sits on top and at the bottom, and it represents the blue skies that hang above the country. These skies serve as a shield and also represent perseverance, idealism, and intellectual thinking.
The red tones on the flag is a symbol for the love, warmth, and generosity of the people of Costa Rica. It is also the biggest color on the flag, being the color of a stripe larger than both the blue and white stripes. The color also stands for the blood that was shed by the heroes of the country throughout history.
The white stripes on the flag are a symbol of wisdom, peace, and happiness.
The Coat Of Arms
The reason you might encounter a version of the flag with the country’s coat of arms is that there are technically two Costa Rican flags. This is because, in English, there is only one word for flag.
However, in Spanish, there are two. These words are “Bandera Nacional” and “Pabellon Nacional”. The “Pabellon Nacional” is the version of the striped flag with the country’s coat of arms in the center.
The current coat of arms of Costa Rica shares a history with its flag as it has undergone a lot of changes throughout the years. It changed five separate times before coming close to the version we see on the flag now. The current version of the coat of arms is similar to the fifth iteration of the shield, which contained the merchant boats, coffee beans, and mountains.
The first thing one will probably notice on the coat of arms is the golden beans that surround the scene. These are actually coffee beans, which is something that Costa Rica is very well known for.
The coffee beans are found on the blazon of the shield. Inside the emblem, you’ll find three mountains, which are simply representations of the three different mountain ridges that span across the whole country. Below the mountains is a green valley, which represents the Central Valley, a plateau in Central Costa Rica.
The emblem also represents Costa Rica’s geographical location. The island is in the middle of two oceans: the Pacific and the Atlantic. That is why both these oceans are present in the coat of arms and can be seen on either side of the mountains.
There is a merchant boat on either side of the island, which is a way of referencing the two commercial ports of Costa Rica which represent both their past and present. On the left side of the emblem, one can also notice a rising sun, which is a symbol of hope for the Costa Rican people and a message to always be looking forward and progressing.
So there you have it. An overview of the Costa Rican flag. Of course, since the country has such a rich history, it would be impossible to tackle all of it in one day. But learning about the flag is a great start. It is a visual representation of the Republic of Costa Rica. It stands for their culture, their people, their past, and their bright future.