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Ecuador - Historical Flags

Last modified: 2018-11-17 by zoltán horváth
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Overview

At www.mmrree.gov.ec there is a government statement about the flag of Ecuador:
Historical synthesis of the flag -
We can identify eight periods in the history of Ecuador's flag:
1) The 1809 leaders raised a red flag with white mast against the Spanish authorities. It fell in bloody Samano's hands in 1812. (see: 1809 Flag)
2) A flag with five horizontal stripes BWBWB and three stars in the middle stripe to symbolize Guayaquil, Portoviejo and Machala, was raised by the patriots in the 9th October 1820 Liberation. (see: 1820 Flag).
3) The previous flag changed by decree the 2nd June 1822: "The flag of the free province of Guayaquil shall be white and its first quarter blue with a centered star [no colour indicated for the star]". (see: 1822 Flag).
4) The Colombian [horizontal] tricolour, which presided the heroic deed of Pichincha and later on flied over the Tejar tower, and the 25th May was officially hoisted on the Panecillo fort, served as well as a sign of annexation of Guayaquil to Colombia and became definitive. (see: Great Colombia).
5) When Ecuador comes apart from Greater Colombia in 1830 it keeps the previous flag. During the 1845 Marcista [March?] Revolution the blue/white flag returns, now as a vertical tricolour WBW, the blue stripe with stars. (see: March 1845 Flag).
6) The Cuenca Convention ratified by decree the 6th November 1845 the blue colour of Ecuador's skies , changing the three stars into seven, "as symbols of the seven provinces which make up the Republic". (see: 6 November 1845 Flag).
7) The Marcist flag lasted from 1845 to 1860. After Garcia Moreno's victory over the forces of Castilla [a person, not Castile] and Franco and the shameful Treaty of Mapasingue, he orders that "The bicolour [Really - WBW tricolour] has been shamed out of treason and bears a wash-proof stain. Let the old Equadorian flag, sealed with heroes' blood, be forever consecrated as the people's ensign and the pride of our national glories".
8) The 1861 Convention confirmed this decree and it became definitive in 1900, by decree of the Legislative. It is made up of three colours Yellow Blue and Red in horizontal stripes, with the yellow having double the width.
Santiago Dotor, 21 October 1998

This is an incomplete one. The patriots of Guayaquil raised a white flag with a blue escutcheon with a white star on October 9th, 1820. This flag was kept in use possibly until 2 June 1822. The five striped flag was introduced on October 11th, 1822, expressively as Naval Ensign and War flag. On 2 June 1822 a white flag with blue canton and a (white) star was hoisted as the flag of Guayaquil. The people lowered the flag on 13 June and hoisted the Colombian Y-B-R, which had been hoisted in Ecuador on 25th May 1822. The Yellow-blue-red flag kept flying until 1845. Norie (1848) by the way shows the flag of equal stripes without arms, as did Laurie (1842). There were flags with arms. The Marxist revolution brought the white-blue-white vertical flag. Introduced on 7 March with three stars, changed to seven stars by decree of 6 November. Article 2 gives the national flag, article 3 the war flag, naval ensign and fortress flag which has the coat of arms in the lower part of the blue, the stars above. The fight between several parties in Ecuador (end of the 1850s) led to four Governments at the same time. One of them was in Guayaquil (the Liberals), one in Quito (the Conservatives). Their flags are known. The others are not, maybe one day we'll find out who had the white-blue-red with six stars and who had the vertical yellow-blue-red (which is reported by the historian RamĂłn Aspurua in 1875 as the flag of the Quito government). In 1858 there were nine stars on the blue. By decree of 26 September 1860 Ecuador (now complete in the hands of the Quito government) returned to the yellow-blue-red flag.
Ralf Stelter, 23 May 1999

I have a page from an old encyclopedia (I'm guessing from around 1900) which shows numerous world flags. Included is a flag of Ecuador--but one with which I am not familiar. It has three vertical stripes (white-blue-white) with 7 white stars on the blue stripe (6 surrounding one in the center). When did this flag exist? What was its symbolism?
Paul Miller, 2 November 1996

The Sept. 1934 National Geo shows a version of this flag on its "Flags Famous in American History" pages; W-B-W vertical with the stars as you describe them in the upper part of the blue and a coat of arms in the lower part. The coat of arms appears to be pretty much the same as that used today, but with different (white) flags around the shield. The text says "When Ecuador was a part of the Republic of Columbia, it used this standard."
Dave Martucci, 4 November 1996

My notes show that Ecuador used this as their national flag from 1860 to 1900. My flag charts dated 1853, 1858, and 1863 (apparently Johnson's and Colton's Atlases were a bit slow to update their flag plates) show the yellow/blue/red, but my charts from 1870 on up to the turn of the century show the vertical white/blue/white with stars. The 19th century editions of the U.S. Navy's book "Flags of Maritime Nations" show the white and blue flag as well. Unfortunately I do not have a copy of the books by Preble (1872) or Hulme (1897) at my office to see if either author tells us of the symbolism.
Flag 444 in the October 1917 National Geographic (which I *do* happen to have handy) is the White - blue - white flag with seven stars in the upper half of the blue band and the coat of arms below it. The text for this flag reads: "This flag of Ecuador when it was a part of the Republic of Colombia had as its coat-of-arms a design which was very similar to that used at present. The circle of seven [shown as a circle of six with one in the middle] stars in the upper part of the blue stripe represented the seven provinces of the republic"
Although we still don't know the meaning of the colors, it seems that in 1860 Ecuador scrapped the yellow - blue - red flag it had adopted after the break-up of Gran Columbia and used the white - blue - white flag (without the coat of arms below the stars) it had used while a member of GC.
I had an opportunity to purchase a 3'x5' wool example of the old Ecuadorian flag many years ago but passed it by. The same antique dealer had a Norwegian flag with the Union Mark in the canton that I recognized as something special and I did buy that one. Both flags were from an old store that rented costumes, etc, and although undoubtedly U.S. made, the flags were from the late 19th century.
Nick Artimovich, 4 November 1996

On 6 march 1845 Ecuador adopted a flag vertical white-blue-white with on the blue strip three white stars, increased to seven on 6 November, which was in use until 26 september 1860.
Source: "The world of flags" by William Crampton.
Mark Sensen, 4 November 1996

I looked that up in Crampton's book when I got home last night and was surprised when I read it. It quite contradicts what I posted yesterday. I also checked a few other of my 19th century flag books, and here is what I found for the flag of Ecuador:

  • Steenbergen 1864 White - Blue - white
  • U.S. Navy Flags of Maritime Nations "from the most authentic sources," no less!:
    • 1st Edition 1866 White - Blue - White
    • 2nd Edition 1870 White - Blue - White
    • 3rd Edition 1873 Yellow-Blue-Red
    • All later editions (1876, 1882, 1899) show Yellow Blue Red
  • Hounsell's (precursor to Admiralty books) ca 1873 (I didn't actually check this one, but I am fairly sure it shows the vertically striped white - blue - white with the stars)
  • British Admiralty 1889 Yellow-Blue-Red
  • Hulme 1897 White - Blue - White
  • My smaller flag charts from the 1870's, 80's, and 90's show no consistency whatsoever. Some show the white -blue -white, others show yellow-blue-red.
  • The German chart that Željko was using from the 1890's shows Ecuador with the white - blue - white, yet I have a Johnson's chart dated 1885 showing the yellow - blue - red.

All my charts prior to the 1860's show the yellow - blue - red, as do those after 1900. Does anyone have their repro of Norrie and Hobbs (1850 IIRC) handy? What do they show?
The information that Mark quoted from Crampton sounded authentic, but it is hard to reconcile this with the illustrations found in books and charts from the period. If Ecuador indeed adopted the yellow - blue - red in 1860, then a number of very "reliable" sources were wrong until the later 1870's when most books show the yellow - blue - red. The fact that Hulme shows the white - blue - white as late as 1897 is really hard to figure.
Nick Artimovich, 5 November 1996

Nick Artimovich's flag charts may be right in what they show: The 1853 and 1858 charts show the flag in use until 1845, and the 1863 chart shows the y-b-r of 1860. Norie (1848) and Laurie (1842) show the y-b-r with equal stripes for Ecuador. Steenbergen (about 1860) shows the w-b-w. The dates of those flags are correct, as proved by decrees and laws.
Ralf Stelter, 23 May 1999

I found the same time range (i.e. 1845-1860) for the use of the white-blue-white in "Flaggen und Wappen der Welt" by K.H. Hesmer. But I don't know how independent all these flag books are.
Since Ecuador was first using the yellow-blue-red (1830-1845) then the white-blue-white (after some civil war [??] in 1845), and eventually returned to the old pattern (for which reason ?) it could be that rivaling factions used the two flags for some time. But this is just blind guess.
Harald Muller, 5 November 1996

Harald Muller is quite right, as he can read above. There were four fractions fighting for power in Ecuador and all four used flags I assume. For sure the conservatives never agreed with the liberals' w-b-w and they always flew the y-b-r flag.
Ralf Stelter, 23 May 1999

I checked a couple of my other books and those that have any detail do support the dates of :

  • Pre-1830 Part of Gran Colombia
  • 1830-1845 Horizontal yellow-blue-red
  • 1845-1860 Vertical white-blue-white with stars
  • 1860-present Horizontal yellow-blue-red
  • 1900-present Most recent design adopted for arms on state ensign

Nick Artimovich, 7 November 1996

The short dates, as Nick Artimovich gave them, here corrected:

  • 1820 - 1822 Guayaquil flags
  • 1822 - 1830 Colombian flag(s)
  • 1830 - 1845 Ecuadorian yellow-blue-red (that is the Colombian flag with own arms)
  • 1845 - 1860 w-b-w
  • 1860 - present y-b-r

Ralf Stelter, 23 May 1999

The Ecuadorian flag is very similar to the Venezuelan and the Colombian Flag. This happens because these three nations (under the names of Guayaquil, Venezuela and Nueva Granada) formed, back in the 1820s, the Great Colombia Republic (GCR), and then adopted the Mirandinian-Venezuelan tricolor. The ratio of this flag, however, differs from its sister flags: it's 1:2, whereas the Colombian and Venezuelan flags are 2:3.
During the 1820s, the three countries of the Great Colombia used the tricolor with the GCR's Coat of Arms on it. After the split of the late 1820s, they adopted their own Coat of Arms.
Guillermo Aveledo, 8 October 1999

At J.W Norie - J.S. Hobbs: Flaggen aller seefahrenden Nationen, 1971[nor71] (original print 1848):
281 Ecuador - yellow-blue-red with equal (fly-wise) stripes.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 12 November 2001


Patriot Society Flag (1794)

image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 18 November 2017

This flag hoisted by the patriot society in 1794. Plain red flag was hoisted by the patriots 10 August 1809.
Jaume Ollé , 10 October 1999

It is a ~2:3 red flag with a thin horizontal white stripe centered on it, and lettering on the stripe reading "Liber Esto Felicitatem et Gloria Consequito Salva" in black cursive capitals.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 18 November 2017

image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 18 November 2017

At http://www.elcomercio.com/blogs/la-silla-vacia/espejo-prototipo-ilustracion-teorico-educacion.html, an article by Fausto Segovia reports a different inscription: "Salve Cruce Liber Esto. Felicitatem et Gloria Consecunto", and explains that red flags with this subversive message showed up draping the crosses of some of the churches in Quito the morning of Oct. 21st, 1794, causing great commotion.


1809 Flag

image by Eugene Ipavec, 11 September 2006

On the 10 of August of 1809, independentists raised a red flag on a white staff.
Source: www.ejercito.mil.ec.
E.R., 11 September 2006


1820 Flag

image by Jaume Ollé and Eugene Ipavec, 11 September 2006

image by Eugene Ipavec, 11 September 2006

Ratio 2:3. Adopted: 11 October 1820. Abolished: 25 May 1822.
Jaume Ollé

Raised in Guayaquil during triumph of 1820. Three white five-pointed stars symbolize Guayaquil, Machala and Fortoviejo. Appear at the source as 1:2.
Source: www.ejercito.mil.ec.
E.R., 11 September 2006

Coat of Arms

image by Eugene Ipavec, 12 September 2006

First Coat of Arms which emerged after the 9 of October 1820 revolution. The inscription on the bottom ("POR GUAYAQUIL INDEPENDIENTE") was added later.
Source: www.ejercito.mil.ec.
E.R., 12 September 2006


1822 Flag

image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 30 December 2017

This flag and March 1945 flag belong to Ecuador's History, and are the original flags from which the November 1845 flag derives. The first one substituted the Venezuelan-neogranadenian tricolor (flown early that year [May 25th] in Quito), and was adopted by the Supreme Junta of Guayaquil (now Ecuador) formed by Generals Olmedo, Roca y Ximena (it should be noted that, during the Confederation of the Great Colombia, Venezuela, Nueva Granada and Guayaquil used their own flags as well as the Great Colombia flag). This flag has a white field, and a sky-blue canton with a lone five-pointed white star centered on it.
Guillermo Aveledo, 8 October 1999

Ecuador used a different flag from the tricolor from 1822 (when it was liberated; this flag was not very used during the existence of the GCR, save only by ardent Ecuadorian Nationalists): a 1:2 flag, white field, a light-blue canton with a white five-pointed, star on its centre.
Guillermo Aveledo, 8 November 1999

Coat of Arms

image by Eugene Ipavec and Jaume Ollé, 12 September 2006

When Ecuador became part of the nation usually called Great Colombia on May 29 1822, it adopted this Coat of Arms, created on October 6, 1821. This is fairly similar to Gran Colombia arms but not quite the same.
Source: www.ejercito.mil.ec.
E.R., 12 September 2006


March 1845 Flag

image by Eugene Ipavec, 11 September 2006

This 1822 flag gave way to two variations: this first one was the flag which was adopted on March 6th, 1845. This one adopted a vertical triband, of white/sky-blue/white, with three five pointed, white stars forming a triangle, centered on the blue, central, bar. Later that year, four more stars were added, forming an alignment of seven stars making the November 1845 flag.
Guillermo Aveledo, 8 October 1999

After 1845, they adopted a similar flag: a vertical trocolor, also 1:2, with a light blue stripe between two white, wider, bands; the blue stripe had three (later seven) stars forming a triangle on it. In 1860, Ecuador adopted the flag we know today.
Guillermo Aveledo, 9 October 1999

The tri-star one was adopted in March, 1845. The number of stars rose to 7 later that year (November- see below). This flag was used up to 1860, when the tricolor was reestablished as the Ecuadorian flag.
Guillermo Aveledo, 4 November 1999

The three five-pointed white stars symbolizes the three Departments in which Ecuador was divided at the time.
Source: www.ejercito.mil.ec.
E.R., 11 September 2006

image by Željko Heimer, 1 August 2001

image by Eugene Ipavec, 11 September 2006

Znamirowski [zna99] on p. 118 gives civil ensign 1845-1860 as WBW vertical with 6 eight-pointed stars. Here we have variants with 3 and 7 stars, though, but I guess it was being variable. In any case, be it 6 or 7, I would guess that not only civil ensign existed in those 15 years.
Željko Heimer, 1 August 2001

According to www.ejercito.mil.ec, it had seven white five-pointed stars, not eight-pointed.
E.R., 11 September 2006


6 November 1845 Flag

[Ecuador - 1845] image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 27 July 2017

For my birthday, a friend got me a copy of "People's Atlas of the World", published in April 1899 (almost exactly 100 years ago) by Mast, Crowell & Kirkpatrick of Springfield, Ohio. The very first page is a color chart of "Flags of Various Nations". There are 36 small flags. Many of them are the same as current flags. Some of them are of complex designs which have obviously been simplified to the point of some features being uncertain. I can't vouch for the authenticity of these flags. I can only report that they were published in this atlas. This flag represented Ecuador.
Chris Young, 26 March 1999


Flags According to Steenbergen Book (1862)

image by Jaume Ollé, 4 June 2003

No. 642 - Ecuador.
Source: [stb62].
Jaume Ollé, 4 June 2003

image by Jaume Ollé, 27 September 2003

No. 1016 - Ecuador and Guayaquil.
Source: [stb62].
Jaume Ollé, 27 September 2003

image by Jaume Ollé, 28 September 2003

No. 1038 - Ecuador.
Source: [stb62].
Jaume Ollé, 28 September 2003

image by Jaume Ollé, 17 November 2003

Addition No. 642a - Ecuador State.
Source: [stb62].
Jaume Ollé, 17 November 2003