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Mexico - 1823-National flag "official" variant used in 1917-1934

Oct. 1, 1916 - Aug. 22, 1918 / Feb. 5, 1934

Last modified: 2002-12-07 by juan manuel gabino villascán
Keywords: díaz (porfirio) | carranza (venustiano) | revolución | mexico | eagle (brown) |
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[1823-Mexico National Flag
[National Flag, State and War ensign]
[Flag no longer in use]
by Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, April 06, 2001
Flag and coat of arms adopted: Apr. 14, 1823.
Flag first hoisted: September 15, 1917.
In use until: February 4, 1934.


  • On land:
  • Civil, state and war flag.
  • At sea:
  • State, and war ensign.
    Naval jack (torrotito de proa)


1823-National Flag official version used in 1917-1934

This is the flag adopted as national by Venustiano Carranza as Chief of the Constitutionalist Army. It was first flown on September 15, 1917.

Venustiano Carranza was born in Cuatro Ciénegas, Coahuila on Dec. 29, 1859. He was Senator for his native State during the Porfirio Diaz's Dictatorship. Through the proclamation of the Guadalupe Plan on March 26, 1913, Carranza never recognized the Huerta's government, and proclaimed himself as Chief of the Constitutionalist Army, as an effort to restore the order in the boiling country and fullfiled the 1857 Constitution statements.
Through several victorious battles, Carranza and his army entered Mexico City on August 20, 1914. He rejected the Interim Presidency -to avoid reelection complications- but accepted being appointed as "Chief in Charge of the Executive Power". Carranza ploclaimed on February 5, 1917, the "Constitución Política de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos" (Political Constitution of the Mexican United States), currently in effect.

Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, April 09, 2001

Don Venustiano Carranza, in 1916, decreed that the Eagle in the National coat of arms was to be depicted in profile and not in front as was used since the end of the XIX century. Its shape is similar to the present flag, but with several differences.
Jorge Candeias, 27 Oct 1997, translating from La Bandera Mexicana website

After defeating Victoriano Huerta, Venustiano Carranza decided to restore the indigenous elements which were originally in the COA, and on September 20th, 1916 decreed that the eagle be represented in profile looking dexter/left, standing on a nopal which grows on a water-surrounded rock and with oak and laurel branches beneath. The flags in the decrees of Presidents Abelardo L. Rodríguez, Gustavo Diaz Ordaz y Miguel de la Madrid were with some changes the Carranza one, as is the current flag.
Santiago Dotor, 29 Dec 1998, summarizing from

One flag two Coat of arms:
1823-Coats of arms used in 1916-1934

This is the Coat of Arms adopted by Venustiano Carranza and the Mexican Sovereign Constitutionalist Congress by Decree of September 20, 1916; and published in the Diario Oficial on September 25 of the same year.
The Decree states:

Diario Oficial de la Federación
25 de septiembre de 1916




That the decree of April 14, 1823 is currently in effect, on which the Sovereign Constituyent Congress stated that national coat of arms be the Mexican eagle stood on its left grasp over a nopal, that in turn, rises from a stone among a lagoon, and holding with the right one a snake, simulating the eagle wishes tear the snake to pieces with its beak. The achivement will be surrounded by two branches, one of laurel, and the other of encino (...)

That this decree has been subjected to different interpretations, giving birth to an infinite variety on the arms designs, lacking a precise form to the National Coat of arms (...)

I extend the following decree:
Article unique:

The National Coat of Arms, whose model is stored and preserved in the Dirección General de Bellas Artes, is the only that should be used by the civilian authorities and the military of the Republic, and by the diplomatic representatives and consuls accredited abroad. Authorized copies of this model will be distributed among the State governors and the public services subordinate of the Federal Government.

This decree will take effect next October 1. Therefore, I command it be printed, published, and distributed, and be given the correct fulfillment.


Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, April 19, 2001

1823-Coat of arms version used in 1916-1918

[1916-1918 Mexican National Coat of Arms]
by Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, April 19, 2001

It is remarkable that the law did not make any description ot the Coat of Arms, giving birth to more confusions.
Manuel Carrera Stampa describes the Coat of Arms as follows:

    "It has a profiled eagle, looking to the right, with high-expanded wings, and the tail down. It is standing over its left grasp on a "nopal" (cactus) born from a stone, that in turn rises from the water, and grasping with the right one a rattlesnake hold also by the beak. A garland, made up by encino and laurel branches united in the lower part by a ribbon, surrounds the achievement".

Note the descriptions proportioned by Mr. Stampa are exactly the same to those arms of 1823 (Peso de Victoria), 1916-1918, and 1934-1968 but there are slightly but significant differences among each other.

The Coat of Arms is featured by its realistic shape, mainly inspired in the Peso de Victoria minted in 1823, while the 1934 arms are designed in a stylized form.
Note that the number of nopal leaves in the 1916 version is 6 and plus three fruits (tunas); while in the 1934 one is just 4 (four) and three fruits.

The Coat of Arms was designed by Antonio Gómez R., at the time, painter of the Department of Archeology of the Museo Nacional de Arqueología, Historia y Etnografía (National Museum on Archeology, History and Ethnography).

The new adopted emblem was just used two years for such design did not satisfied Venustiano Carraza, who ordered to adopt a new draft worked also by Antonio Gómez R.

Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, April 19, 2001

1823-Coat of arms version used in 1918-1934

[1918 Coat of arms of Mexico]
by Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, 06 April 2001

It seems, according to Carrera Stampa, the 1916 version did not satisfied Venustiano Carranza, who ordered to adopt a new draft, according an official document that reads: "Escudo Nacional Aprobado por el C. Presidente de la República D. Venustiano Carranza. Palacio Nacional, 22 de Agosto de 1918" (National Coat of Arm approved by the Citizenship President of Republic Don Venustiano Carraza. Palacion Nacional -National Palace-, August 22, 1918).

The new design has the same characteristic elements of the Mexican Coat of Arms: eagle, snake, nopal, stone, garland and ribbon. In this turn, the golden eagle is laying over it right profile, the head is remarkable bowed with the wings expanded but down, and the tail expanded and higher than its predecessor; the nopal is made up by 9 (nine) leaves, then, where added 3 (three)more.

Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, October 6, 2001