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Three-Guarantees Army (1821)

Imperial Army of the Three Guarantees [Ejército Imperial de las Tres Garantías]

Last modified: 2017-11-11 by juan manuel gabino villascán
Keywords: mexico | iturbide (agustín de) | guerrero (vicente) | insurgente | tricolor | guarantee | ejército trigarante | religión | idependencia | unión | independence | war |
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[Flag of the Army of the Three Guarantees] 1:1[Non-official proportions]
[Army flag]
[One or more variants under the same basic design]
[Flag no longer in use]
by Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, February 19, 2002.

Note by editor:

This flag was ever never a National one, but representative of the Ejército Imperial de las Tres Garantías (Army of the Three Guarantees) alone.
Many authors erroneously say this one was the first national flag. It is absolutely and totally incorrect.
The very first Mexican national flag was adopted in 1821 by Decree of November 2, 1821, and confirmed by Decree of January 7, 1822.

See also:

Flag of the Ejército de las Tres Garantías (Army of the Three-Guarantees)

[Flag of the Army of the Three Guarantees]
by Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, February 19, 2002.

According to Carrera Stampa [csm60], a decree, accompanied by a draft by Agustín de Iturbide, Commander of the Trigarante Army, states:

"... the vlag shall be composed of three colors diagonally arranged: the first, it will be red; the second one, green; and the third one, white; in the second one the Imperial crown will be embroided and heightened with gold silk, trimmed with the motto Religión, Independencia, Unión; and at the bottom the number of the corp. In each strip a star in opposite color shall be placed (...) the two sides of the vlag will be equal..."

The original meaning of the Mexican Flag's colors dates from the last stage of the Independence War (1815-1821), when, through initiative by the royalist General Agustín de Iturbide and Mexican Catholic Authorities proposed Vicente Guerrero, General of a growing weaker independentist army, joined together to lead to an end the war and separate New Spain from the Metropolis, under, according to Lucas Alamán (a famuos Mexican Historian and Politician), three special conditions:

a) Keeping the Roman Apostolic Catholic Religion without tolerance of any other;
b) Achieving independence under a moderate monarchic type of government. According to Manuel Carrera Stampa [csm60], the second clause is: Guaranteeing to promulgate a liberal Constitution as the Insurgente movement's most high desire.
c) Considering Europeans and Americas people as equals.

These conditions, sumarized in three words: Religion, Independence, and Union were known as the "Tres Garantías" (Three Guarantees), after the unified army was named.

Thus, white represented the Catholic Faith; green was for independence; while red stood for the union between Europeans and Americas people; but according to Zárate, Mexican Historian, red, actually meant the Spaniards, because such a color resembled the red of Castile.

Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, March 12, 2002

When the Plan de Iguala was proclaimed on February 24th, 1821, [a flag was] made by the tailor José Magdaleno Ocampo at the request of Agustín de Iturbide with the following specifications: three diagonal stripes, red with a white star, green with a red star and white with a green star. The middle stripe carried an imperial golden crown and the words 'Religión, Independencia y Unión'. White stood for religion, green for independence and red for Mexican unity. It was called the "flag of the three guarantees" since it represented the whole Army of the Three Guarantees. The colours were used in several different orders, until November 2nd, 1821 when the Junta Provisional Gubernativa decided that the stripes be vertically green, white and red, with a crowned eagle on a nopal in the middle stripe.

By [no longer availabe]
Quoted Santiago Dotor, 29 Dec 1998.

The Treaty of Iguala, established on 24th February 1821, recognized the independence of Mexico and established the "Three Warranties": religion, independence, and union. The flag of the army, the "Trigarante", was adopted on 14th April, 1821, and was made by a taylor from Iguala named José Magdaleno Ocampo. The white symbolized religion, the green independence, and the red the union of Spanish and Mexican peoples. The Army of the Three Guarantees entered Mexico City on 23rd September, 1821. A decree of Iturbide established the flag colored after the "Trigarante". That flag was raised on 7th January, 1822, and was declared perpetual, and a derivative of it remains in use today. There are several designs known of the "Trigarante" flag: the diagonal could be inside out, the striping could be in all possible combinations (but especially with green, white and red in the diagonal), and the stars could be red in the green band, white in the red band or green in the white band [bas83].
Jaume Ollé, 04 Aug 1995

The flag is composed of 3 diagonal stripes with the colour in the following order: white, symbolizing the purity of the Catholic Religion, green, the Insurrect Movement, that is, the Independence, and red representing the spanish group that adhered to the liberating impulse. In each of the stripes there is a star, but the eagle is not there, as in later flags. This flag was the one that was in the parade in September 27, 1821, when the independence was accomplished.

By La Bandera Mexicana [no longer available]
Quoted and translated by Jorge Candeias, 27 Oct 1997.

Variants of the "Trigarante" flag

[Variant flag of the Army of the Three Guarantees: Regimiento de 
Línea Provincial de PUebla] [Army flag]
[One or more variants under the same basic design]
[Flag no longer in use]
by Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, February 19, 2002.

This is a "Trigarante" flag belonged to the "Regimiento de Infantería de Línea Provincial de Puebla (Provincial Line Infantry Regiment of Puebla), formed about March 1821, and led by Col. Justo Berdeja. It is assumed tha the Regimiento passed to enlarge the files of the Army of the Three Guarantess in 1821.

Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, February 19, 2002.

[Detail of the Regimiento de 
Línea Provincial de PUebla flag]
by Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, February 19, 2002.

Datail showing the text for the word "independencia" (independence) is abreviated; the crown is not the imperial one but that of Spain; there is not regiment of battalion number. Excepting for the batallion number, which is missing, the flag exactly matches the Iturbide's decree statements.

Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, February 19, 2002.

During the Iturbide Empire, to the Provincial Line Infantry Regiment of Puebla, was attributed a flag very similar to the one of Iguala (Bandera Trigarante), with the difference of having a crown in the center inside an oval and an inscription in the upper part: Religión, Independéncia, Unión, and in the lower part: Regimento de Infantería.

By La Bandera Mexicana [no longer available]
Quoted and translated by Jorge Candeias, 27 Oct 1997.

[Variant flag of the Army of the Three Guarantees: Compañías Milicianas de 
Tabasco] [Army flag]
[One or more variants under the same basic design]
[Flag no longer in use]
by Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, February 19, 2002.

Another "Trigarante" flag, may be belonging to the "Compañías Milicianas de Tabasco" (Military Companies of Tabasco).
This flag depicts three eight-pointed stars, and inverted colors. The crown is the imperial one. The "A 1ยบ" means Activo (Active). [flr00]
Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, February 19, 2002.

Erroneous (nonexistent) version of the "Trigarante" flag

[Erroneous 'Trigarante' flag published in a 1941 book - variant 2]
by Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, May 4, 2005.

This flag is erroneous. It was first drawn and published by Ltn. Col. Manuel de Jesús Solís in his book ["Historia de la Bandera, Himno, Escudo y Calendario Cívico Nacionales"] in 1940. Unfortunately, the author does not mention his sources, and his mistake has been spred among historians, artists, and students until now.

Thanks to the Iturbide's message, preserved in the archives of the Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional and published by Manuel Carrera Stampa in his magnificent book ["El Escudo Nacional"] (1960) we are able to state that the "Solis' flag" ever never existed, at least it was never used by the Trigarantes.

Another non-historical evidence proves this flag is erroneous is the three gold five-pointed stars. Such kind of stars is of US influence, and though the US flag came to exist at the ends of the XVIII Century, the "Trigarante" flags preserved clearly show that the stars were eight or six-pointed.
The golden stars is also a mistake. But by any reason it remains in the Mexican jack.

Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, February 19, 2002.

Erroneously this flag is placed in the Sala de Banderas (Flags Room) of the Archivo General de la Nación (AGN), Mexico City catalogued as "the first national flag". Probably inspired too by the Solis' flag, there is not any historic evidence that this flag had been used. Perhaps this deliberately home-made flag inspired the current Mexican jack.

It is remarkable that all flags at the AGN's "Flags Room" are not historical ones but they were deliberately made to adorn such room and to accompany the National Official Coat of Arms stored there by Pdt. Gustavo Díaz Ordaz on Sept. 17, 1968.

Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, September 1, 2002.

Anything below this line was not added by the editor of this page.