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History of the paraguayan national flag

Last modified: 2003-04-05 by antonio martins
Keywords: seal | phrygian cap | different reverse | treasury | lion | star: 5 points (yellow) | republica de paraguay | paz y justicia | tree: 2 trunks (twisted ) | francia (dr.) | palm | olive branch |
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Chronology of flag changes

dates obverse reverse ratio
1811 Provisional tricolors ?
1812-1826 Simple tricolor ?
1826-1842 Dr. Francia’s blue flag ?
1842-1967 Emblem: Yellow 5-pointed star with rays surrounded by wreath. Outside the wreath the country’s full name (Republica del Paraguay) in black. All that on a white disk with a border in the national colors. Emblem: Lion in natural colors to the left (heraldically) sitting on a piece of grass in front of a pole with a Jacobinian cap. Light blue background. Behind the pole the motto «paz y justicia», above the country’s full name, both written in black. All that again on a white disk with a border in the national colors. 333:500
1967-1988 1:2
1988-1990 3:5
after 1990 Emblem: Yellow star on small blue disk, no more rays. Outside the wreath the name is written in yellow on a red ring. Everything still on a white disk, now with a black border. Emblem: Lion to the right, sitting in the air, white background. Above the lion the motto «paz y justicia» in yellow on a red ribbon, The name has disappeared. Everything still on a white disk, black border.
emblem descriptions by Harald Müller

Avaliable data:

  • National flag is shown in Flaggenbuch (1939) [neu39] with proportion 333:500 (approx. 2:3)
  • Pedersen [ped71b] and Smith [smi75b] show it as ca. 1:2.
  • DK Pocket Book [udk97] shows it 1:2 but the companion text says 3:5 DK Pocket Book seems to use an outdated image, with the “complex” emblems, and hesitate on the correct proportion.
  • Album des Pavillons [pay] says and shows 3:5. Album des Pavillons (recapitulative edition of 1995) also shows the “simplified” emblems of both sides of the flag, exactly as described above.
A putative chronology can be established with the help of the yearly supplements of Encyclopaedia Universalis [eun], which are mainly based on Album des Pavillons [pay] and have a notice for each country:
  • 1993: 1:2, “complex” emblem. Notice: «1811, modified 1842»
  • 1994: 1:2, “simplified” emblem. Notice: «1811, modified 1842, modified 1988»
  • 1998: 3:5, “simplified” emblem. Notice unchanged.
It seems that traditionally change in proportion is not considered as a “modification” worth being mentioned.

From the data I infer that the 1988 modification was the change in the emblem (it could not have been anything else), only noticed during the edition of the 1994 supplement of [eun] and also reported by Harald Müller at the same period (probably coming from Album des Pavillons [pay]). The change in proportions is not easy to date since it appears in 1995 in Album but was only incorporated in the 1998 supplement of the E.U..

Another chronologic unresolved question is: when did the proportion move from 333:500 to 1:2 Is there any correlation to be found with the dates of reign of Alfredo Stroessner on the country (1954-1989)? It could match the change from 333:500 to 1:2 and then to 3:5, but not the change in the emblem.

Ivan Sache, 20 Oct 1999