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Last modified: 2021-06-12 by rob raeside
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image by eljko Heimer, 3 July 2002
Official Name: Republic of Nicaragua
(Republica de Nicaragua)
Flag adopted: 27 August 1971 (First adopted 4 September 1908)
Coat of Arms adopted: 21 August 1823
The blue-white-blue pattern is common to all the several
American states, being a reminder of the union from the beginning
of the 19th century. Each of the five original countries found a
way to differentiate the flag. Costa Rica put a red stripe in the
middle, Nicaragua and El Salvador their coats of arms, Honduras
five stars, and Guatemala turned the stripes vertically. All of
the states (except Guatemala) have common elements on their coat
of arms - mountains (volcanoes) with a sea on each side,
secessionist cap, spectrum, stars, and the inscription 'America
Central'. The triangle symbolizes equality. Civilians on the land
may use, also, the flag without the arms.
eljko Heimer, 24 February 1996
According to [smi75],
Honduras entry (page 241) "The blue-white-blue horizontal
striped flag of the United Provinces of the Center of America,
based on the Argentine flag, was first hoisted in the
independence struggle against Spain on 4 July 1818, when the
commodore of the Argentine squadron, Louis Aury, proclaimed the
first independent Central American state on islands off the
eastern coast of Nicaragua. Aury's government lasted until
1821... ...(in 1823) when complete independence was established
the new national flag had stripes similar to, and apparently
based on, those of the first free state.."
Ned Smith, 14 May 1999
I remember that Nicaragua used silver letters in place of gold
for lesser government offices. Is this practice dropped?
Pier Paolo Lugli, 18 April 2001
I would rather say that escudo was reportedly written in black
(cf note of Album 1990). Yet all photos received from Nicaragua
(and also information from vexillological sources) all showed escudo in
full colour (and letters in gold); this is why I dropped the note
of Album 1990.
Armand du Payrat, 18 April 2001
According to [pay00] -
National Flag (CSW/CSW 3:5) - Blue-white-blue horizontal
tricolour with the coat of arms in the middle. The coat of arms
is that inherited from the Central-American union, five
volcanoes, two oceans, freedom hat, sun-rays, rainbow, all within
a triangle and surrounded with the name of the state.
The ratio 3:5 is found in [smi75] [smi82] [vdv00] so also in [pay00] and probably in some other sources. However [neu92] has the images (this and next one) pictured as 1:2.
Flaggenbuch also explains how the lower government offices display the flag with silver inscriptions. IIRC, the FOTW suggests that such notion is more a "vexillological myth" then anything else.
For the national flag above I used coat of arms from Corel Clipart. At that size the minor differences shell not be visible. However, the coat of arms is pictured in various sources in rather noticeable (though probably unimportant, heraldically
eljko Heimer, 3 July 2002
The Constitution of the Republic of Nicaragua, adopted on 19
November 1986 and published in La Gaceta, diario oficial of 9
January 1987, says:
Article 13. - The symbols of the nation are the National Anthem, the Flag and the Official Seal as established by law that determines their characteristics and use.
Sources: Spanish: Georgetown University's Political Data Base of the Americaswww.georgetown.edu,
Translation: P. Vagnat & J.Poels book on Constitutions and flags [vap00].
Ivan Sache, 19 March 2003
The stripes are officially defined as "cobalt blue",
which is translated by the UK Flag Institute, BRR20 and the Album
des Pavillons as PMS 300C. No recommendations appear
to be given by any source for the arms.
Christopher Southworth, 4 Maech 2005
The protocol manual for the
London 2012 Olympics
(Flags and Anthems Manual
London 2012 [loc12]) provides recommendations
for national flag designs. Each
was sent an image of the flag, including the
PMS shades, for their approval by LOCOG. Once this was obtained, LOCOG produced
a 60 x 90 cm version of the flag for further approval. So, while these specs may
not be the official, government, version of each flag, they are certainly what
believed the flag to be.
For Nicaragua: PMS 281 blue, 125 gold, 292 blue, 109 yellow, 355 green, 277 grey and black. The vertical flag is simply the horizontal version turned 90 degrees clockwise.
Ian Sumner, 10 October 2012
image by eljko Heimer, 3 July 2002
According to [pay00] - a plain
flag (blue-white-blue, no coat of arms) is used as an alternative civil ensign.
Ivan Sache, 14 January 2001
According to [pay00] -
Alternative Civil Flag (C--/--- 3:5) - The same triband without
the emblem. Again Flaggenbuch disagrees. Apart from the thing
with the ratio, there this is captioned merchant flag, (i.e. at
least ---/C--). Obviously something has changed about the
Nicaraguan flags since WWII.
Rectangular Triband is used also as Aircraft Marking.
eljko Heimer, 3 July 2002
The present form of the flag was established by a Decree of 4
September 1908, and this stipulates that the national emblem
shall appear in the centre of the flag but makes no mention of a
civil or merchant flag without arms. Such flags are, I am told,
widely used in Nicaragua, they are apparently officially
tolerated but unofficial.
Christopher Southworth, 26 February 2003
There is some legal authority for the Civil Flag of Nicaragua without the
Chapter 1, Article 36, of the Decree No. 1908 of 25 August 1971, states
"Artículo 36.-La Bandera Nacional podrá usarse sin escudo para manifestaciones y embanderar casas y plazas con motivo de las fiestas Patrias, y días festivos nacionales."
Article 36.- The National Flag may be used without a coat of arms for demonstrations and flagging houses and plazas on the occasion of patriotic holidays, and national holidays.
James Liston, 1 June 2017
The plain triband was indeed sanctioned by the 1971 Law, Article 36, but the
reformed Law suppressed its tolerance.
Ivan Sache, 23 May 2021
image located by Ivan Sache, 23 May 2021
from "La Voz del Sandinismo"
The national coat of arms: The five volcanoes in the
republic's coat of arms stand for the five Central American
countries, the rainbow for peace and the Phrygian cap for
translated by Santiago Dotor, 4 January 1999
The coat of arms of Nicaragua was basically adopted on 21
August 1823 (as coat of arms of Central America), but it
underwent several changes, until the last version (1999) was
introduced in 1971. The coat of arms mentioned by Mr Heimer are
from a "third class source" and is completely
Before Nicaragua became one state (in 1825) there were two governments: Leon and Granada.
Ralf Stelter , 13 June 1999
image by Fred Drews , 20 November 1999
image by Eugene Ipavec and Francisco Gregoric, 25 January 2010
The sash is composed of the colors of the flag plus the Coat
of Arms of Nicaragua.
E.R. and Eugene Ipavec and Francisco Gregoric, 25 January 2010
The Law on the Characteristics and Use of the Patriotic Symbols was
promulgated by Decree No. 1,908, issued on 25 August 1971 and published on 27
August 1971 in the official gazette, No. 194.
The original Law was "partially reformed" by Law No. 432 approved on 2 July 2002 and published on 18 July 2002 in the official gazette, No. 135
Chapter II. Flag of the Republic / National flag
The flag of the Republic / National flag is the national emblem, which consists of three equal horizontal stripes, the central, blue, and the upper and the lower, white, with the coat of arms in the center of the white stripe.
The shape of the national flag is a rectangle with proportional dimensions three to five. The flag can be manufactured in different sizes matching its place of use, provided the proportions are always respected.
The blue color matches that commonly called "cobalt blue".
Blue means justice and loyalty. White symbolizes purity and integrity.
As emblem and representation of the homeland, the national flag of Nicaragua should not either salute or render honors.
The official salute to the national flag is composed of 21 shots. It should be displayed during the following ceremonies:
a) Solemn acts commemorating the independence of Nicaragua.
b) Office take up by the President of the Republic
c) Solemn inauguration of the National Congress and its closure.
d) Other acts prescribed by the Executive.
The national flag shall be hoisted at 6 AM and lowered down at 6 PM.
The national flag shall be hoisted daily at the Presidential House and the barracks of the Republic, with the relevant honors.
It is mandatory for any Nicaraguan citizen to hoist the national flag in front of his house on the days of commemoration of the Independence of Central America and on the days prescribed by the Legislative or the Executive.
In all the educational centers of the Republic, national or private, cult shall be paid to the national flag. Every week on Monday, before starting classes, five alumni determinied by their behavior the preceding week shall hoist the flag of the Republic in the place of honor of the center and all alumni shall sing the national anthem.
At the conclusion of classes at the end of the week the national flag shall be lowered down with the same honors and by the same alumni. Directors and professors who would not comply to this prescription shall be sanctioned.
The Executive shall order the manufacturing of 19 banners made of silk fabric, with the dimensions, colors and coat of arms compliant with this Law. These flags shall be used as templates and shall be offered to the following bodies:
- the Legislative
- the Executive
- the Judiciary
- the Electoral
- State Ministries
- Academy of Geography and History
- General Archives of the Nation
- National Museum
- Autonomous National University of Nicaragua
- Central American University.
In the reformed Law, the two universities are replaced by a single item :
- State national universities.
The 14th of July is established as the Day of the National Flag. The Executive and the branches of Government, Public Education and Defence shall do what is necessary to solemnly honor the flag of the Republic on that day.
The national flag can be used without the coat of arms for demonstrations and decoration of houses and squares during patriotic holidays and on national holidays.
The reformed Law turns down this prescription:
The national flag shall always be used with the coat of arms in the white stripe for demonstrations and decoration of houses and squares during patriotic holidays and on national holidays.
Chapter III. Presidential flag
The Presidential sash (shall be) in the manner of the national flag (and) can be used only by the President of the Republic. It shall have the colours of the national flag in stripes of equal width (and) shall be charged with the national coat of arms with golden lettering in the centre of the white stripe. The ends of the presidential sash shall be bordered with a golden fringe.
The presidential sash shall be 15cms in width
The President of the Republic shall carry the presidential flag during official ceremonies of highest solemnity and mandatorily in:
a) the act of office take up
b) the ceremony of lecture of the Address to the National Congress
c) the ceremony of reception of credits letters from the foreign ambassadors and plenipotentiary ministers accredited with the Government of Nicaragua and other foreign people, diplomatic or not, civil or military, who officially visit him in his office.
Chapter IV. Coat of arms / National coat of arms
Article 42. The coat of arms / national coat of arms is the emblem established by Legislative Decree of 5 September 1908; it is composed of two elements, one peripheral and one central, described as follows:
a) Peripheral element: Forming a circumference around the central element is written in capital letters, all of the same size and of the same color (gold) the legend "REPUBLICA DE NICARAGUA AMERICA CENTRAL". The first legend "REPUBLICA DE NICARAGUA" is written on top of the triangle, symmetrically in relation to its axis / height, the base of the letters turned to the center of the circumference. The second legend "AMERICA CENTRAL" shall be place beneath the triangle / central element, symmetrically in relation to the aforementioned axis. The upper part of the letters shall be turned to the center of the circumference.
b) Central element: Shaped like an equilateral triangle standing on one of its sides, with the sides bordered in gold. In the field closer to the base an horizontal land, an isthmus, which widely touches the two slanted sides of the triangle, "watered by the two seas". On this land a chain of five dormant, equidistant volcanoes, of equal height, represented in perspective [...]
c) The seas are shown, one between the isthmus and the base of the triangle, the other upper on top of the isthmus, limited by the horizon. They are represented moving with successive lines of waves crowned by foam, with regular undulations dexter and sinister.
d) On the horizon, above the tops of the volcanoes, a rainbow with seven colored stripes in the usual order, starting red and then, successively, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and purple. The stripes are delimited by concentric semi-circumferences. In center is the median point of the horizon. The three internal stripes shall be represented as continuous, while the four other ones shall be intercepted by the oblique sides of the triangle.
e) Between the rainbows and the horizon, on the axis / height of the triangle, the "liberty cap". It is represented in profile [...].
f) The "light" emitted by the cap is simulated by rectilinear rays starting from its central point and progressively spreading, in white over the blue sky. The rays are not superimposed to the rainbow, which intercepts them.
The reformed Law simplifies the description.
Paragraph b) omits "represented in perspective" and the following, quite obscure details.
Paragraph d) is slightly rephrased.
The colors of the constituent elements of the field of the triangle are as following:
The volcanoes are yellowish green. Each of them has one side illuminated in yellow by the light rays emitted by the "liberty cap".
The seas are ultramarine blue. The foam outlines of the waves are white. On the sky's pale blue are represented in white the light rays emitted by the "liberty cap". The sky and the rays are superimposed with the rainbow in the seven colors arranged in the usual order as described above. The "liberty cap" is vermilion red.
The dimensions of the diverse elements composing the coat of arms of Nicaragua to be featured on a flag of 1.50 m on 2.50 m are the following:
a) The peripheral element composed of the legends in golden letters are inscribed in a circle of 45 cm in diameter. The letters are "grotesque" (sans serif) and "monotonous" (of the same weight), slightly extended. They are of 2.5 cm in height; letter "A" is of 3 cm in width in base. The other letters shall be in harmonious proportions. The width of the lines shall be 3.75 mm.
b) The triangle shall have an external side of 32.5 cm. The metallic outline shall have the same width as the lines forming the letters and shall be of the same color, gold.
c) The horizon shall be placed 7.5 cm from the base of the triangle, its ends standing on the internal edge of the outline.
d) The part corresponding to this distance over the left side of the triangle shall be divided into five equal parts, the one over the right side in four equal part, the second space included from the most closest angle over the right side and the third over the right side forming the height of the isthmus over which stand the volcanoes.
e) The closest volcano, placed on the triangle right side, has its truncated top raising 2.5 cm over the horizon; the farthest, close to the left side, 1 cm; the three other volcanoes are placed between those two, and all of them are equidistant and of the same height according to the laws of perspective.
f) The rainbow raises above the median point of the horizon; with a radius of 90 mm for the internal edge and 104 mm for the external one. The space between them is divided into seven stripes / half crowns, equal for the seven colors.
g) The "liberty cap" is placed over the axis / height of the triangle, 2 mm beneath the rainbow, 3 cm in height and 2.3 cm of width in its lower part.
h) The light rays emitted by the "liberty cap" start from a central point located over the axis / height of the triangle, 35 mm over the horizon. They are composed of 45 rays of 3 degrees in width, leaving between them sky sectors of 5 degrees. One of the rays is emitted perpendicular to the horizon.
[Similar to Article 34 regarding the flag]
Partially Reformed Law
Ivan Sache, 23 May 2021