Ecuador’s Flag

Ecuador's flag consists of three horizontal stripes of yellow, blue, and red, with Ecuador's coat of arms in the center.
The Ecuadorian flag consists of three horizontal stripes and a coat of arms in the center. The color scheme was first adopted by the country in September 1860, and the coat of arms was added in 1900. The flag is very similar to Colombia’s, differentiated only by the coat of arms.

The current design of the Ecuador national flag is the result of years of varying designs. From top to bottom the national flag consists of three stripes of yellow, blue, and red, with the yellow stripe being the same width as the blue and red stripes combined. Each of the stripes has a different meaning: yellow symbolizes the fertility of Ecuador’s land, as well as the gold deposits found in the country; the blue stripe stands for the country’s coast and ocean resources as well as constant blue skies; and the red represents the blood of the men who sacrificed their lives in Ecuador’s fight for independence. The design of the Ecuador coat of arms is a shield with a condor – the national bird – sitting on top.

The condor represents protection against foreign attack due to its size and reputation in Latin American folklore. The shield has at its center an image of the snowy peaks of Mount Chimborazo, the highest peak in Ecuador. There is also a steamboat, which depicts the first steamboat to be sailed in Latin America, which traveled along Ecuador’s Guayas River. Throughout its history, there have existed many variations of the Ecuadorian flag. During the era of the Spanish Empire, the Cruz de Borgoña (Cross of Burgundy) was used from 1534 until 1820 as a general flag for the Spanish colonial empire.

During the first rebellion for independence between 1809 and 1812, the Flag of the Quiteñan Revolution was used. IT was a copy of the Cross of Burgundy, but with the colors reversed. Upon Ecuadorian independence in 1820, the first national flag was raised: five stripes alternating between light blue (at the top) and white with three stars inside the middle stripe. Two years later, the flag was changed to a white rectangle, with the top left corner in light blue with one white star. When Ecuador became part of Gran Colombia in 1822, it assumed that country’s new flag: three stripes consisting of yellow, pale blue, and red with a coat of arms in the middle.

The coat of arms was changed when Ecuador left the union of Gran Colombia in 1830. In 1835 a Fifth National Flag was promulgated, removing the coat of arms and darkening the shade of blue. Here is where we find the origin of today’s Ecuadorian flag and why it is so similar to the Colombian and Venezuelan flags.The Revolución Marcista (March Revolution) of 1845 saw the return of the light blue and white design: with three vertical stripes (white first) and three white stars in the center light blue stripe. Later in the year the shade of blue was darkened slightly, and four more stars were added, a design that lasted until 1860 until the modern-day flag was finally adopted in 1900.

In addition to the national flag, Ecuador’s 24 provinces each have their own flag as well. For example, the province of Guayas still retains as its provincial flag the design of the first national flag issued in 1820. Students and military cadets must, by law, pledge allegiance to the national flag in a declaration known as the Juramento a la Bandera.