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Flag of the Race

Last modified: 2014-05-29 by zoltán horváth
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[Flag of the Race] by Dave Martucci, 11 October 1999


The Flag of the Race is a white flag with three purple crosses and a rising sun.
Željko Heimer, 6 October 1996

This flag has been around for some long time (1950's at least). I have seen it called The Flag of the Americas, also. I am still totally unsure of who uses it and for what purpose.
Steve Stringfellow, 7 October 1996

A captain of Uruguayan army named Angel Camblor created this flag. It was hoisted first on 12 October, 1932. It symbolises the Spanish race on the American continent, Philippines Islands, Maghreb, Equatorial Guinea and the Iberian Peninsula, with contraposition of the indigenous races, in the past and the future. The three cross are the carabelles of Colon and the purple is for Castille; the white is the purity and the sun is the light. This flag was popularised during the Franco regime, but after 1975 the Spanish government has down-played it. In Latin-America I think that is not very popular.
Jaume Ollé

The flag represents the Hispanic Race. The three crosses recall the three ships of Columbus. La Bandera de la Raza is used for multi-national cultural purposes, for example, Hispanic festivals.
Dave Martucci, 8 October 1996

Well, I live in Chicago, which has a reasonably large Hispanic population. This group has parades and celebrations to celebrate Hispanic Day, and the independence of a lot of Latin nations. Never have I seen this flag.
Steve Stringfellow 10 October 1996

I have seen it at quite a few parades in Latin American countries. High school kids carrying it with other Latin American, Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, and Spain flags. On April 14 (Pan-American day) and on October 12 Columbus day.
Fred, 10 October 1996

I have seen it once or twice in the Washington DC area, where the Spanish population (not the diplomatic community) is predominantly Salvadoran, Peruvian and Bolivian. I have never heard any negative connotations from my Spanish speaking friends about the flag or the concept of "La Raza."
Roger Moyer, 17 October 1996

The Bandera de la Raza (literally "flag of the race", which I would prefer to see called "the flag of the Spanish-speaking Americas") seems to be almost forgotten today. It was created by an Uruguayan, captain Angel Camblor, and was flown for the first time on the 12th October, 1932, in most of the Hispano-American capitals. Its use was generalized during the 30s and 40s, but during the 50s it was gradually abandoned, I do not know why. Today it is almost a rarity. I cannot recall having seen it at all in 1992, despite widespread celebrations, at all levels, of the 500th anniversary of Columbus' arrival in the Americas.

Here is the symbolism, which is quite obvious. This description is taken from "Banderas y Escudos del Mundo, Editorial América S.A. Panamá, 1986", and I am looking forward to check it with Camblor's notes, which give me an opportunity to have first-hand information on the subject. Anyway, here is the description quoted from said book:

"White stands for to purity. The Inca sun represents the light shining on the continent. The three crosses stand for the three Colón ships and also for Christianity. The lilac evokes the Castillian banner flown by Colón [Columbus] in the New World".
Some comments on this description:
  • I do not know why this sun: a) is mentioned as "Incaic"; b) has 19 rays. Anyone can help on why this is so in both cases?
  • For those who do not remember, the ships were named "Niña", "Pinta" and "Santa María" (the commanding vessel, on which Columbus sailed). Note that the central cross in this flag is slightly bigger than the other two, reflecting the greater importance of this last vessel.
  • Note the historic irony in the fact that Colon's first landing took place in Guanahani, an island which he called San Salvador and is currently known as Waitling Island, although forming part of the Americas is not a Hispano-American territory, and therefore is not included in the territories this flag evokes.
Jorge Cajarville, 10 October 1999

[Flag of the Race] by Jorge Cajarville, 10 October 1999

The Flag of the Race is often seen without a face on the sun.
Jorge Cajarville, 10 October 1999

[Flag of the Race] by Dave Martucci, 11 October 1999

There seem to be a number of variations on this flag. On the FLAGS OF THE WORLD chart published by De Ge´llustreerde Pers N.V., Amsterdam, 1965, the Flag of the Americas/Les Amériques is shown with a face on the sun and the crosses are a very dark red (murado?). Interestingly, it is shown as 1:2 but described underneath as 3:5. I have modified my artwork to resemble this design, attached.

Also, this chart was authenticated by the Flag Research Center, Winchester MA USA and The Foundation for Vexillology and Heraldry, Muiderberg, The Netherlands.
Dave Martucci, 12 October 1999

National Geographic, September, 1934 (p. 367) notes about this flag:

This flag, with its three wine-colored crosses and its sun of the Incas, was hoisted on October 12, 1932 in the Plaza Independencia in Montevideo. It was officially recognized and dedicated by supreme decree by the governments of Honduras, Paraguay, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Columbia and Peru. All of the nations of the Americas hoisted it shortly thereafter.
Phil Nelson, 13 October 1999

The National Geographic illustration of the flag is dark purple, almost dark blue and there is a face on the "sun of the Incas" Dave Martucci, 14 October 1999

Crampton (1990) in "The World of Flags" says about the flag of José de San Martin that "The emblem showed the sun rising over the mountains and was on a background of red and white, colours associated with the Incas, as was the sun emblem". This means that all Spanish-speaking South American suns may be associated with the Incaic Sun (to some extent, at least) or perhaps with the myth of Eldorado (gold, sun, it's easy to see the connection), pretty powerful in that part of the world.
Jorge Candeias, 19 October 1999

Every time I have seen the "La Raza" flag, the three crosses representing Columbus' ships have been colored violet or purple, not burgundy (usually I have seen violet). The colors violet and purple are associated with the robes worn by some Catholic prelates. The coloring in the book mentioned by Guillermo Aveledo must have been really defective. Of course, the Incas (and Aztecs) worshipped the Sun. The flag is also called "The Flag of the Americas" and is sometimes used to represent the geographical region of all of North and South America, not just as an ethnic flag for "La Raza" (the Hispanic race).
Richard Baird, 25 October 2004

Barraclough (1969) describes this flag p.93 -94 as follows:
"Before passing on to the flags of Latin America, mention should perhaps be made of the Organization of American States, which was formed in Washington on April 14th 1890, and later known as the PAN AMERICAN UNION. It now (i.e. 1969) comprises 20 members, namely, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, United States of America, Uruguay and Venezuela. This organization was formed 'to achieve an order of peace and justice, to promote their solidarity, to strengthen their collaboration, and to defend their sovereignty, their territorial integrity, and their independence'. In 1932 a distinctive flag was adopted; this has a white field charged with three crosses of a reddish-purple shade (the middle one is slightly larger than the other two), and a rising sun in bronze behind the middle cross. The three crosses are said to symbols ships of Columbus and the rising sun the 'Bronze sun of the Incas'. It is usually flown on April 14th Anniversary - Pan American Day; this flag is known as 'the Americas'".
The flag is depicted on p.94 in black and white with ratio 2:3.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 14 Apr 2012

Interesting to mention also that the Pan American Day "is celebrated annually as a "commemorative symbol of the American nations and the voluntary union of all in one continental community" marking the anniversary of the day in 1890 when this union was established".
Sources: http://www.oas.org/columbus/PanAmericanDay.asp and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pan_American_Day
Additional information on this flag can be found here:
http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bandera_de_la_Hispanidad and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_the_Hispanic_People
Esteban Rivera, 15 April 2012

We don't see the connection between the Flag of the Race and the Flag of the Americas.
Compare with [bar81] (which I'm not sure I reported yet), p.218 in the section on International Organisations:
"The Organisation of American States, known popularly as the 'Pan-American Union', is one of the oldest international groupings, having been formed in 1890 and officially re-titled on 30 April 1948. It has a flag if medium blue, with a large white disc in the centre, containing a trophy of the flags of the member countries, which is presumably altered any time there is an alteration in these flags."
(In connection with such a flag we too noted that this might cause a lot of flag changes. We don't show different versions, but when Barraclough described it, the trophy would not yet have contained seven of the flags it currently does.)
"The 'Flag of the Race' is a flag in widespread use in Latin America, and commemorates the discovery of the New World by Columbus, and is therefore widely flown on the Day of the (Hispanic) Race, 12 October. The flag is white with three purple crosses of Hispanic form, the central one slightly larger than the other two, and having a gold sun rising behind it. The crosses represent the ships of Columbus."
This is obviously not the same flag. It's the one we cover here, though the books illustrates it as a 2:3 flag. The rising sun is in splendour, but only the eyes are visible, and then exactly at the inner corners of the cross, where they might easily be missed in a moving flag.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 16 April 2012