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Paraguay

Paraguay / Paraguái; Republic of Paraguay; República del Paraguay

Last modified: 2014-06-28 by alex garofolo
Keywords: paraguay | seal | phrygian cap | different reverse | treasury | lion | star: 5 points (yellow) | simplification | stylization | license plate |
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The obverse (front)


Paraguay flag (obv.)
image by Zachary Harden, 24 July 2013
two-sided

The reverse (back)

Paraguayan flag (rev.)
image by Zachary Harden, 24 July 2013
two-sided reverse sinister


Current modifications adopted: 15 July 2013


See also:

Description of the two-sided flag

The flag of Paraguay is a vertical tricolor of red, white, blue. On the obverse (front) side, the centre of the white fess is charged by the national coat of arms. This consists of a yellow Star of May, recalling the month of independence in 1811, which is surrounded by a wreath and the full name of the state, "REPÚBLICA DEL PARAGUAY," (Republic of the Paraguay). In the same position on the reverse, it is charged by the coat of arms of the treasury: a lion facing east, holding a staff on which a Phrygian Cap (liberty cap) is placed; above it is an inscription "PAZ Y JUSTCICICA," or Peace and Justice. The ratio and both emblems have been modified several times, most recently on 15 July 2013. Paraguay is the only sovereign nation-state whose flag has different charges on each side.
Alex Garofolo, 27 July, 2014

Ratio

According to Article 5 of the decree, "the geometric proportion of its design and production should be kept as closest as possible to 1:0.55."

Is it so? It makes 11:20 in our usual notation, which is slightly unusual, but not quite odd. It is not far from the previously reported 3:5. What does the previous regulations actually say about the ratio if anything?
Željko Heimer, 24 July 2013

Colours

The Appendix [of the decree] shows images of the coats of arms and of the seals, with the name of their elements and colours. The colours are prescribed as follows:
- Red [Phrygian cap] Pantone 485 C CMYK (%) 0-100-100-0 RGB 237-28-36
- Yellow [Star] Pantone Yellow C CMYK (%) 0-0-100-0 RGB 255-241-8
- Green [Branches]0 Pantone 355 C CMYK (%) 100-0-100-0 RGB 0-166-81
- Brown [Lance] Pantone 478 C CMYK (%) 40-65-100-0 RGB 136-83-33
- Ochre [Lion] Pantone 4505 C CMYK (%) 35-30-100-0 RGB 178-163-54
- Black [Lettering] Pantone Black C CMYK (%) 0-0-0-100 RGB 0-0-0
The font for the lettering is prescribed as Arial Black."

Ivan Sache, 24 July 2013. (Read the full translation of the decree.)


Origin and symbolism of the colours

White, blue and red flags were used by Paraguayan troops in 1806 when they went to the defense of Buenos Aires during the British invasion. The earliest mention of a red-white-blue tricolor in Paraguay seems to date from 15 August 1812. This bore, on one side the arms of the capital city, Asunción, and on the other the arms of the King of Spain. The Star of May in the national arms recalls the date of independence, 14 May 1811. Defense of national liberty is symbolized by the lion guarding the liberty cap on the Treasury seal whose motto proclaims «Peace and Justice».
Ivan Sache, 20 Oct 1999, quoting [smi75b]

The colors were influenced by French Tricolore, which had become a symbol of liberation. A number of variant designs [vd. also here] existed prior to the current design, which was regularized in 1842. The practice of having a separate emblem on each side is dating from the time of José de Francia, in power from 1814-1840.
Ivan Sache, 20 Oct 1999, quoting [rya97]

The official symbolism of the flag is very rich. To mention only colour symbolism, red stands for patriotism, courage, heroism, equality and justice; white for purity, firmness, union and peace; and blue for tranquillity, love, knowledge, verity and liberty.
Ivan Sache, 20 Oct 1999, quoting [eunXX]


Emblems on the flag

The coat of arms was adopted in 1812 (like the flag)! But it was not precisely described in all its elements. In 1823 it was modified by Dr. Francia. It was used even after his death until 1842. Since 1826 the bishopric Paraguay had used a differing version. In 1842 the symbols of Paraguay were described exactly for the first time. We know that the coats of arms before had looked similar [alv8]. Possibly the bishopric had used two trees? The “makers” of the 1842 arms said nothing about all their earlier prototypes.
Ralf Stelter, 23 Jan 2001

The “classical” emblem (used in all flags of 1842-1990), is noted in several variations, of which is most notable difference in the field around the star on the obverse, with three main types:

  • simple white
  • light blue and golden base with shadow
  • golden rays emanating from the star
Similar differences may be observed on the reverse, too. All the differences were, as far as I understand not prescribed, but were developed de facto in practice in the 150 years of the useage.
Željko Heimer, 30 Oct 2002


Modifications of 2013

The emblems shown on the flag of Paraguay are amended by a Decree adopted by the Executive on 15 July 2013, signed by by the President of the Republic and the Minister of the Interior.. The modifications should "reflect the original characteristics of the symbol adopted in 1842". The modifications should be implemented by the official institutions no later than 90 days after the publication of the Decree.

The amendments are presented as a return to basics, here the symbols originally adopted in 1842. Accordingly, the Decrees adopted in 1926 and 1957, which modified the original coats of arms, have been abrogated.

On the obverse of the flag, the red ring surrounding the writing "República del Paraguay", introduced in 1957 by Alfredo Stroessner, will be removed. The writing will be changed from yellow to black. The blue disk surrounding the yellow star will be removed. On the olive branch, the olives will be made plain green instead of green and ochre. Accordingly, the emblem will keep only three colours, black, yellow and green. A proposal to replace the branches of palm and olive by branches of queen palm and yerba mate was turned down.

The reverse of the flag will not be modified, except the colors: ochre for the lion, brown for the spear, red for the Phrygian cap and black for the writing "PAZ Y JUSTICIA".

The writings on the two sides of the flag will use the Arial Black font.

Ivan Sache, 17 July 2013


Simplified and stylized variants

Simplified emblem

When the flag is depicted on smaller items (souvenirs, etc.) sometimes the seal is reduced to a disk or circle; I’ve seen these both blue and black. It depends on the material and the size of the item. If I recall correctly, the circle is more common, but a solid disk version is used on really small items. (Obviously, the disk/circle appears in the white band.)
Terence Martin, 04 Aug 2004

I’ve never seen these simplifications actually used as flags, only as decorations on objects.
Terence Martin, 10 Aug 2004

Plain triband

plain triband
image by António Martins, 16 Jan 2006

While red/white/blue striping is common as a decorative theme, once a cloth is attached to a stick, it always had the seal on it. It is rarely totally omitted. (My last visit to Paraguay was in 1995, so things may have changed.)
Terence Martin, 04 Aug 2004

Paraguay introduced new license plates around 2002. They have the flag at upper left and an emblem at upper right. The flag does not have the emblem, it is a plain tricolor. (See photo by Osvaldo Fernández)
Olav Arne Brekke, 30 Jan 2005


English Translation of the July 2013 Decree

The decree was published online at presidencia.gov and it includes RGB and Pantone specifications for the seals.
Zachary Harden, 18 July 2013

A translation of the decree:

Decree No. 11,400 of 15 July 2013
Establishing the regulation on the design and use of the flag of the Republic*, of the national coat of arms** and of the national seal, in agreement with the Resolution of 25 November 1842 of the Sovereign Congress General Extraordinary, abrogating Decrees No. 26,506 of 30 April 1957 and 23,136 of 26 February 1926.

Article 1.
The national symbols prescribed in this Decree are those included in Paragraph 1 of Article 139 of the National Constitution and in its final Paragraph, based on those of the National Law originating in Resolution of 25 November 1842 of the Sovereign Congress General Extraordinary.

Article 2.
Flag of the Republic*. The flag of the Republic shall be the symbol made of the Paraguayan flag charged with its two coat of arms, placed in the center of the white stripe, on the obverse and reverse, respectively, in the design prescribed by Article 1 of the Resolution of 25 November 1842 of the Sovereign Congress General Extraordinary, whose text says: "The Sovereign Congress General Extraordinary of the Republic of Paraguay solemnly declares that the flag of the Republic shall be the same as the one used by the country, with adequate variations, that is, a flag made of three horizontal stripes coloured in white and blue. On the one side is placed the national coat of arms with palm and olive [branches] interlaced in base and surrounding a star. In the border the lettering 'República del Paraguay'. On the opposed side, a circle with the lettering 'Paz y Justicia' [Peace and Justice], and in the center a lion ensigned with the symbol of liberty".

Article 3.
It is established, for the purpose of education and historical commemoration, that the flag of the Republic* was hoisted for the first time on 15 August 1812, the date of origin of its definitive colours.

Article 4.
The size of each copy of the flag shall be determined by the type of use of the flag and adjusted to the support and to the space where the flag will be shown, always keeping harmony in proportions, visualization, and contrast.

Article 5.
Flag*.The flag shall be made of three horizontal stripes of equal dimensions. The geometric proportion of its design and production should be kept as closest as possible to 1:0.55*** between the rectangle's bigger and smaller dimensions. The red colour, as well as the blue colour, shall be kept as so-called "primary colours", that is, without admixture with other colours.

Article 6.
National coat of arms**. The representations of the national coat of arms shall be in circular geometric shape, excluding other colours than the natural colours of the charges. Obverse. Inscribed with the lettering 'República del Paraguay' in black letters, placed on a ring without background colour [white], of height equal to 1/12 of the circle surrounding the coat of arms. The branches of palm and olive, in their natural colour, shall be interlaced in base and curved in proportion required by the ring. The five-pointed star, of yellow colour, shall be placed in the geometric center, without bordering circle.
Reverse. Inscribed with the writing 'Paz y Justicia' in black letters, placed on a ring without background colour [white], of height equal to 1/12 of the circle surrounding the coat of arms, of 135 degrees in circumference, centered on the upper part. The representation of the lion, in its natural colour, shall be made in sitting position, in profile, looking to the viewer's right, in a roaring pose, and with the tail raised, waving and surpassing, located on the flank of its back end. The lance shall be placed behind the lion, on the vertical diameter, with a proportional width, and be surmounted in its upper end by the red Phrygian cap, as the symbol of liberty.
The referred coats of arms shall be adjusted in a precise manner to the colours and characteristics detailed and established in the Appendix, which is an integral part of this Decree.

Article 7.
National seal. It is meant by "national seal" the one described in Article 3 of Resolution of 25 November 1842 of the Sovereign Congress General Extraordinary, which bears the lettering 'Rep˙blica del Paraguay' in black letters, placed on a ring without background colour [white], of height equal to 1/12 of the circle. The branches of palm and olive, in their natural colour, shall be interlaced in base and curved in proportion required by the ring. The five-pointed star, of yellow colour, shall be placed in the geometric center, without bordering circle.
The national seal shall be adjusted in a precise manner to the colours and characteristics detailed and established in the Appendix, which is an integral part of this Decree.

Article 8.
The national coats of arms and the nation seal may be reproduced, in relief or not, on any kind of support, printed in black or in colours.

Article 9.
Patriotic colours. It is meant by "patriotic colours" any combination of the red, white and blue colours intended to evoke the national flag. The use of the patriotic colours and of the national flag is free, provided it has a licit goal and does not contradict the symbolic values conveyed to the Paraguayan homeland. Its use in commercial advertizing shall be particularly respectful of these conditions.

Article 10.
The patriotic colours, as well as the flag, cannot be registered as intellectual property.

Article 11.
The natural persons and legal entities that produce or manufacture flags and other stuff inspired by the patriotic symbols, or alluding in any manner to their meaning, shall comply with the prescriptions of the current norms and with the details given in this Administrative Act.

Article 12.
On the days solemnly proclaimed over all the Republic, the flag shall be hoisted, at full or half staff, in case of festival or mourning, respectively, on the seats of the Executive, Legislative and Judiciary Powers, as well as on public buildings and seats of the diplomatic and consular representations of Paraguay. All the Paraguayan aircrafts and ships shall bear the flag of the Republic and use it in compliance with the relevant Laws and Regulations.

Article 13.

The flag of the Republic shall be hoisted daily on the seats of the national public institutions, as well as on the private educational institutions, military and police units and vessels.

Article 14. The Ministry of Education and Culture is committed to adopt the measures required to go deeper into the teaching of the history and meaning of the national symbols in all the institutions part of the National Education System.

Article 15. The Ministry of the Interior is committed as the authority in charge of the application of this Decree; it shall maintain an archive of the natural persons and legal entities professionally committed to the production of patriotic symbols for the State and private use, and shall make sure that the present prescriptions are respected.

Article 16.
The substitution of the national symbols currently in used that would not comply with the norms prescribed in this document shall be proceeded within 90 days after the publication of this Decree in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Paraguay.

Article 17.
Decrees No. 26,506 of 30 April 1957 and 23,136 of 26 February 1926 are abrogated.

Article 18.
The ministries in charge of the Executive, the Secretariat General and the Executive Secretariats of the Presidency of the Republic, as well as the organisms depending on the Executive, are instructed to apply the present Decree.

Article 19.
The present Decree shall be countersigned by the Minister of the Interior.

Article 20.
To be publicly communicated and inserted in the Official Register.

Appendix


The Appendix shows images of the coats of arms and of the seals, with the name of their elements and colours.
The colours are prescribed as follows:
- Red [Phrygian cap] Pantone 485 C CMYK (%) 0-100-100-0 RGB 237-28-36
- Yellow [Star] Pantone Yellow C CMYK (%) 0-0-100-0 RGB 255-241-8
- Green [Branches]0 Pantone 355 C CMYK (%) 100-0-100-0 RGB 0-166-81
- Brown [Lance] Pantone 478 C CMYK (%) 40-65-100-0 RGB 136-83-33
- Ochre [Lion] Pantone 4505 C CMYK (%) 35-30-100-0 RGB 178-163-54
- Black [Lettering] Pantone Black C CMYK (%) 0-0-0-100 RGB 0-0-0
The font for the lettering is prescribed as Arial Black."

Translator's Footnotes:

*The Spanish text makes a difference between "pabellÛn de la Rep˙blica", which I have translated as "flag of the Republic" and I understand as "State flag", and "bandera", which I have translated as "flag".
**The Spanish text uses "escudos", which I have translated by "coat of arms" rather than "shields".
***This odd ratio appears to be erroneous.
****There is no image of the flag anywhere in the Decree, nor colour specifications but "primary colours" (Art. 5)

Translated by Ivan Sache, 24 July 2013

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