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Beni department, Bolivia

Last modified: 2024-03-09 by rob raeside
Keywords: bolivia | beni |
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Flag of Beni image by Valentin Poposki and Tomislav Todorovic, 30 August 2020, 2 September 2020
See also:

Beni Department

The Department of Beni has 8 provinces and 19 municipalities. Provinces are Cercado (which is the province where the capital city is located), Antonio Vaca Diez (or Vaca Diez), General Jose Ballivian Segurola (or Ballivian), Yacuma, Mojos (or Moxos), Marban, Mamore, and Itenez. The Province of Antonio Vaca Diez has two municipalities - Riberalta (the administrative center) and Guayaramerin.
Valentin Poposki, 14 June 2020


Description of the flag

The flag of Beni was adopted in the last years and symbolize the landscape of the region. Frequently the shield is in the center.
Jaume Ollé, 02 Nov 1996

There was a plain green flag in the Bolivian flag history, the brief 1854-1855 national flag. Could it have been the source for the dep. flag of Beni?
António Martins, 21 Apr 2006

I was having this in my scope for a long time, but now I found many photos to confirm it. Department of Beni is using green flag with 8 golden stars in a circle, as a second official flag. It can be seen on many photos from the Departmental Chambers. The eight stars represent the eight provinces of Beni.
https://www.facebook.com/Gobernaci%C3%B3n-del-BENI-547678525345569
https://www.facebook.com/TiemposDeLosPueblos/
https://www.facebook.com/Asamblea-Legislativa-Departamental-del-Beni-1052479698144439/
Valentin Poposki, 30 August 2020

Color shades are obviously the same as in the Bolivian national flag. Star size is determined by comparing with the Bolivian naval ensign from the same photo - it is obviously the same in both flags. Relative positions of the stars are approximated after the departmental flag seen in the same photo.
Valentin Poposki, 2 September 2020

To clarify the situation, please see current Autonomy Statues (local basic law) of Beni Department, signed on 2007.12.15, where it says on p.6 under §1 of art. 1st of the single chapter of its Title IV:

La Bandera del Departamento Autónomo del Beni de color verde entera, con las mismas dimensiones de la tricolor nacional, con ocho estrellas doradas al medio y en círculo, mismas que representan a las ocho provincias del Departamento.

(The flag of the Autonomous Department of Beni, plain of green, with the same measures as the national tricolor, with eight golden stars on the middle and set in circle, which stand for the eight provinces of the Department.)
The weird wording is due in part to the fact that the paragraphs of this article are grammatical subjects to a hanging clause that states that Beni Department ("El Régimen Autonómico del Departamento del Beni") recognizes these local symbols (flag, coat of arms, anthem, and medal) along with the current national symbols. Legal text archived online at http://www.forodac.org.bo/upload/634.pdf.

No indication in this legal text about the exact size, shape, and placement of the stars. The image above shows yellow regular 5-pointed stars pointing upwards and placed equidistant on the compass directions, which seems sensible, lacking info otherwise. (I agree that the legal wording «_doradas_», golden, should not be taken litterally and be interpreted as plain yellow, again — unless otherwise specified or reported.)

I wonder what would happen should the number of provinces change. There was indeed some talk about changing the subdivisions of Bolivia more or less radically at the time this flag was approved — see Map of Bolivian provinces (special departments).

The same paragraph also "recognizes" the flags and ensigns/banners (? — "las Banderas y las enseñas") of the provinces and municipalities within the department.

As for the 1992-2007 flag, it was plain green, optionally with the coat of arms on it, as extensively reported — see https://imgur.com/a/QFnF1OO and FotW-ws.

Back in 2006 I speculated whether this plain green flag could have been inspired by the short-lived 1854~1855 national flag — there’s no reason to think either way: Might have been intentional or fortuitous, given that it is a very simple design, and 138 years apart. On the other hand, other Bolivian dep. flags were indeed based on historical flags — such as Chuquisaca, Pando, Cochabamba, La Paz, and Potosi.

This matter is covered in the German Wikipedia thus (autotranslated):
The simple green flag of Bani was officially adopted in 1992. It is unclear whether the alleged national flag from 1854 was the model here or whether it was a hoax based on the flag of Beni. The flag is also mentioned in the department's anthem. Since December 15, 2007, the center of the flag has featured eight gold, five-pointed stars forming a circle. They represent the eight provinces of Beni.
The only source given only covers the latter statements, about the post-2007 flag. I’m surprised that the 1854-1855 flag is accused of being a hoax, as it is given as legit by usually reliable sources. In any case it is unlikely that in 1981 Smith and Neubecker [smi81g] were influenced by hoaxers (or perpetrated a hoax themselves!) about a flag adopted only in 1992 and even less so Fuentes and Martucci in their 1975 article [fue75].
António Martins-Tuválkin, 21 February 2024

The plain green flag of Beni dep. is confirmed by those two sources which, on a second read, seem to have been identified by Jaume Ollé as the Atlas by Medina and Noronha [m2nXX] for the image with flat flags showing bicolor Cochabamba and triband Pando, and by Jan Zrzavy as the 1990 booklet (republished by W. G. Jilek [jil9X] in Vexilologie) for the image with fluttering flags showing plain blue Cochabamba and bicolor Pando.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 22 February 2024

Flag with coat of arms

New coat of arms has been accepted in 1992!
Jan Zrzavy, 01 September 1999

I’m not sure which of these is the new coat of arms.
António Martins, 19 November 2000

version #1

Flag of Beni image by António Martins, 19 November 1999

This image uses a coat of arms from www.cs.purdue.edu/homes/krsul.
António Martins, 19 November 1999

version #2

Flag of Beni image by Jarig Bakker and António Martins, 09 May 2004

This coat of arms, from www.bolivian.com/himnos/beni.html, is much better looking, with brighter colors and clearer design — but it is also slightly different: The several scenes depicted on the divisions of the shield are different in many details, and shows the name of the department on the top of the shield, absent from the other version.
António Martins, 19 January 2000


Flag-related departmental anthem

Second stanza of the departmental hymn, from www.bolivian.com/himnos/beni.html:

El verde que flamea en mi bandera,
emblema de esperanza y de grandeza,
es la imagen del Beni, la riqueza
de esta sierra feliz de promisión.
Jarig Bakker, 19 January 2000
 
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