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Bolivian naval ensign

Last modified: 2017-10-07 by antónio martins
Keywords: civil ensign | naval ensign | bolivia | claim | irredentism | reintegración marítima | reivindicación marítima |
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Naval Ensign of Bolivia
image by Željko Heimer, 02 Nov 2016


See also:

External links:

  • 2009 decree adopting the flag: text, PDF
    reported by Jonathan Dixon, 01 Nov 2016

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About the flag

Recently, Bolivia changed its naval ensign. Now, this ensign bear in the canton two flags: the bolivian one and the whipala. No change in the blue zone and in the 9 small yellow stars and the big yellow star.
Jaume Ollé, 01 Nov 2016

I note that while it was previously reported that the colour of the field was described as azul celeste [sky blue], this version of the decree specifies azul-mar [sea blue].
Jonathan Dixon, 23 Sep 2016

This flag appears to have replaced the flag originally adopted as a Naval Ensign, but more recently has been described and used more prominently as a Maritime Claim Flag, representing the irrendentist claim to a maritime province.
Jonathan Dixon, 01 Nov 2016

I haven’t been able to find any details regarding an official change to the flag. A Wikimedia Commons user has replaced the old Naval Ensign with the new flag, renaming the old one with the dates 1966-2013, although the Wiphala version is visible here in 2011. It might have been used as early as the 2009 decree mandating use of the Wiphala alongside the tricolour from government buildings, schools, etc.
Jonathan Dixon, 23 Sep 2016

There is a fair amount of press about use of this flag to support Bolivia's maritime access claim, especially since the establishment of a directorate to pursue the claim in 2011 and the bringing of a case to the International Court of Justice in 2013. However, the relevant flag is no longer the one adopted in 1966, but a new one including the Wiphala. The new version of the flag includes the Wiphala in the canton to the fly side of the national tricolour, within the nine stars.
Jonathan Dixon, 23 Sep 2016

A 2015 report on the Navy website describes a vigil awaiting a ruling by the I.C.J., involving the hoisting of the flag on public buidings. It explains the flag as follows, ignoring the fact that the Wiphala is a recent inclusion:

La Bandera de Reintegración Marítima, emblema oficial de los bolivianos que presenta el firme propósito de recuperar el Litoral cautivo con el que Bolivia nació a la vida independiente. Creada por decreto Ley del 13 de Abril de 1966, durante la Presidencia del Gr.al Ej.to Alfredo Ovando Candia. Tiene las siguientes características: Campo azul–mar en el ángulo superior izquierdo la enseña nacional y la wiphala rodeada de nueve estrellas que representan a los departamentos del País y en el centro una estrella de mayor tamaño en representación del “Litoral”, el décimo Departamento de Bolivia.
Jonathan Dixon, 23 Sep 2016

A large flag erected for Día del Mar 2016.The flag can also be seen in pictures from Día del Mar 2013: large flag hoisted and handwaver (discussion).
Jonathan Dixon, 23 Sep 2016

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Variants

Obviously, numerous “imprecise” variations [of the naval ensign] exist. And I guess that each batch of these flags made is unique and different in details from any other.
Željko Heimer, 02 Nov 2016

When it comes to the stars, though, I haven't found any examples which follow the official construction of the original flag in leaving a gap between the stars and the top/hoist. There does seem to be some variation in how close the 9 stars are to the flags in canton.
Jonathan Dixon, 01 Nov 2016

Here is a large banner with a 6×7 Wiphala, which looks like it has been made by simply folding the bottom row out of sight.
Jonathan Dixon, 01 Nov 2016

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Handwavers used for Sea Day 2011

Naval Ensign var.
image by António Martins, 02 Nov 2016

A crop from the image at this article. It seems clear that these paper handwavers are an unofficial variant. The versions used official appear to have the standard 7×7 wiphala (example).
Jonathan Dixon, 01 Nov 2016

These handwavers are probably cheaply made, but judging from the amount of squares in the wiphala (and if I have counted correctly), the two flags in the canton are not square each.
Željko Heimer, 01 Nov 2016

The photo shows two handheld paper flaglets. On the canton, by the hoist, the Bolivian tricolor and the other filled with an extended wiphala pattern with 9×7=63 squares. This has three full diagonals, instead of the usual one — from the top: orange, yellow and white. The full spectrum used is green - blue - purple - red - orange - yellow - white (and again green and blue, to make nine rows); the shade of blue seems to be the same as the one used for the main area of the flag.
António Martins, 01 Nov 2016

The design of these two handheld flaglets contains indeed clearly includes those 9×7=63 squares (and they are really squares, not tall oblong rectangles) and yet the two areas of the canton are identical in size and ratio (which can be ascertained also by looking at the five stars under it, presumed equal and equidistant). This makes the canton not in the former official 300:420 ratio 0.7̅1̅4̅2̅8̅5̅, but rather 9:(7+7) = 9:14 = 0.642857143.
António Martins, 01 Nov 2016

The presented paper handheld flaglets show other differences compared with the official version, namely the flat solid, non-faceted design of the stars and their position around the canton (not unlike the one reported variant of the previous ensign). The overall specs of the paper handheld flaglet seem to be something like (18+27):(28+6+28), with the smaller stars being centered vertically aling the vertical midline of the cloth and arranged inside immaginary rectangles with the same width as each of the tricolor stripes. The big star seems to be ceneted on the fly area, defined as the recyprocal of the canton.
António Martins, 01 Nov 2016

Is the repetition of the yellow stripe intentional in this context? The history of landlocked Bolivia’s irredentist claims on northern, coastal Chile and the very nature of this flag, a naval ensign, makes me think that this is not mere chance nor a matter of unavoidable geometry. While the very pattern would made it impossible to avoid including along with the white diagonal another diagonal used in one of the other three flags, the most balanced design would have the “home” white diagonal (Qulla Suyu = Bolivia) in the central position, flanked by both yellow (Kunti Suyu) and green (Anti Suyu) — therefore diffusing any serious allegation of hidden irredentism.
António Martins, 01 Nov 2016

My instinct is that your possible explanation is a bit of a stretch, and it's more likely that someone started with yellow in the bottom hoist corner, just as in the official wiphala (Qulla Suyu). But it is true that noone waving this flag is trying to avoid allegations of irredentism — both in design and in use this flag is intended to present a claim on the litoral province.
Jonathan Dixon, 01 Nov 2016

A simpler explanation occurred to me: the 9×7 “chessboard” as arranged in those paper flaglets is the only possible one that avoids that either of the three stripes touch a square of the same color. If anyone notices that this design gives unexpected primacy to the Kuntisuyu flag and not only to the Qullasuyu flag, as pointed out, that could be seen as a good thing.
António Martins, 02 Nov 2016


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