State symbols include the flag, coat of arms, and national anthem. Great importance is attached to the formation of the image and the selection of colors for the flag. They reflect the politics of the country or historical events related to the formation of the state and the acquisition of independence. Signs are used on the coat of arms or emblem, symbolically indicating the occupation of the inhabitants of the country, their religious and cultural beliefs.
This is what a modern flag of Guatemala looks like:
History of the flag
Guatemala was part of the United Provinces of Central America and until 1838 used a flag with three horizontal stripes, the outer ones blue and the center one white.
After 1838, Guatemala seceded from the federation and received a new flag.
The color scheme did not differ from the previous one, but there was a coat of arms in the center of the flag.
The new coat of arms contained a centered circle with the inscription “State of Guatemala and Federations of the Center” along the outer edge. Also depicted were flowers in symmetrical horns of plenty, at the bottom were a bow and arrow, a trumpet, and a lictus bundle. In the center was a picture of five volcanoes and sea water. On top of the entire composition was a quiver of arrows. The flag lasted until 1843, when, after the dissolution of the federation, the coat of arms was changed again.
It was now a picture of volcanoes and the sun above them, as well as olive branches and arrowheads in the quiver. The inscription changed its meaning; now it was a reminder of the acquisition of independence – “Guatemala in Central America. September 15, 1821.” The background colors did not change until 1851, at which time the coat of arms from the national flag also disappeared.
The national Spanish colors: red and yellow took their place on the canvas, and after 1858 the size of the horizontal stripes changed.
The background of the flag was divided into three equal parts, with the upper part containing bands of blue, white, and red, starting from the top. In the center was a yellow stripe, and the lower part was a mirror image of the upper tricolor. It was not until 1871, when a successful coup attempt was made, that the flag of Guatemala took on its modern appearance. However, the flag was officially adopted on February 28, 1885.
The official flag of Guatemala is a rectangular fabric with sides in a ratio of 5:8. The main background is divided into three equal parts: the sides are painted blue and the central stripe is white. In the center, within the white stripe, is the emblem of the state. The emblem depicts two olive branches, located symmetrically on the left and right.
In the center of a peculiar wreath placed crossed arms. The weapons are a pair of swords and rifles. On top of their intersection is an ancient scroll that bears an important historical date for Guatemala. On top of the scroll sits a bird with its beak turned to the left and its long tail down to the base of the wreath.
The flag of Guatemala has two colors as the background: blue and white in a 2:1 ratio. In the emblem you can see green, brown and yellow colors.
Meaning of colors and flag symbol
The main colors of the flag of Guatemala are blue and white. Blue is a symbol of fair treatment and compliance with the law, and white is a symbol of purity and honesty. The branches of the olive tree signify victory and glory. The weapons in the center of the emblem are Remington rifles, symbolizing the willingness of Guatemalans to defend themselves in case of attack.
Next to the weapons are crossed swords that signify honor of the people, independence and justice. The scroll on top of the weapon bears the inscription “LIBERTAD 15 DE SEPTIEMBRE DE 1821”, the date September 15, 1821 commemorates the acquisition of Central American sovereignty from Spain.
The bird seated on the scroll is a quesal (quetzal), a symbol of freedom and sovereignty. The quetzal is quite rare and very beautiful bird, it has a long tail and a green coloring of feathers. It lives in mountain forest areas and is protected by the state.
Before the conquest of the land, the quesal was considered a sacred bird, whose feathers were used to decorate portraits and headdresses.
Some elements of the coat of arms were changed, adding or on the contrary removing insignificant details. The ends of the saber and green branches used to be tied with ribbons colored in the colors of the national flag. At the same time, the bird’s head on the emblem was turned to the right. The national symbols of Guatemala took its final form in 1968.
It is noteworthy that the coat of arms was created by an engraver-artist from Switzerland. Jean-Baptiste Frener lived in Guatemala from 1854 until the end of his days. The image was first used as a decorative composition that adorned a palace in the capital. The image was placed on the building to celebrate the Liberals’ rise to power in 1871. The victors liked the emblem and began to use it as a state symbol.
General information about Guatemala