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Historical Flags 1938-1945 (Spain)

Spanish State, Estado Español

Last modified: 2003-07-12 by santiago dotor
Keywords: spain | spanish state | estado español | coat of arms (spain) | coat of arms: supporter (eagle: black) |
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[State and War Flag and War Ensign 1938-1945 (Spain)] 2:3
by Luis Miguel Arias
Flag and coat-of-arms adopted 2nd February 1938, abolished 11th October 1945

See also:


From 29 August 1936 until 2 February 1938 the Republican coat-of-arms was still official on the rebel side. Only on February 2, 1938, did General Franco introduce a new coat-of-arms, more or less according to the heraldry of the Catholic Kings Ferdinand and Isabel. A picture of that new coat-of-arms was published 10 days later in the official state gazette. The nationalist ministry of war issued an order of 27 July 1938, compelling the Navy to use the new coat-of-arms on their flags (though this order did not show the coat-of-arms nor did it mention any further details).

A coloured flag chart, issued in 1939, but after the war had ended (on April 1, 1939), shows the Navy ensign with the coat-of-arms. A new flag regulation was issued on October 11, 1945, and published one day later, slightly changing the coat-of-arms which is well known.

Emil Dreyer, 6 July 2003


After Franco took over in 1936, in 1938 he used the red-yellow-red in 1:2:1 proportions with the Eagle of St. John behind the (more complicated) shield, the pillars, arrows, yoke, crown, etc. Actually, the pillars were located to the left and right of the eagle's outspread wings. The bunch of arrows and the yoke originally referred to Ysabel (yugo, or yoke) and Ferdinand (flechas, or arrows) the [15th century] Catholic Majesties of Spain.

Nick Artimovich, 16 April 1996

There were three different National flags in the 1938-1981 period with a similar coat-of-arms:

  1. Approved by Decree 2nd February 1938: similar to the 1945-1977 one but with argent (white) instead of red ribbons, open royal crowns on both pillars and an upside down yoke
  2. Approved by Decree 11th October 1945
  3. Approved by Decree 21st January 1977
Some authors (cf. Calvo and Grávalos 1983) add to these a "1940 model", based on a confusing Order dated 30th April 1940 which included mistaken drawings —pillars on the eagle's wings, the eagle holding them instead of the escutcheon— of the 1938 arms.

Santiago Dotor, 27 November 1998