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History of the paraguayan national flag

Last modified: 2022-08-19 by rob raeside
Keywords: seal | phrygian cap | different reverse | treasury | lion | star: 5 points (yellow) | republica del paraguay | paz y justicia | peace and justice | tree: 2 trunks (twisted ) | francia (dr.) | palm | olive branch |
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Chronology of flag changes

dates obverse reverse ratio
-1811.06 [flag] Blue flag ?
1811.06​-1812 Provisional tricolors ?
1812​-1826 [placeholder] with Arms of the capital city, Asunción with Arms of the King of Spain [placeholder] ?
1826​-1842 [flag] Dr. Francia’s blue flag ?
1842​-1954(?) [flag] with National Coat of Arms: Yellow 5-pointed star with rays surrounded by wreath. Outside the wreath the country’s full name ("Republica del Paraguay") in black. All that on a white disk with a border in the national colors. with Treasury Seal: Lion in natural colors to the left (heraldically) sitting on a piece of grass in front of a pole with a Jacobinian cap. Light blue background. Behind the pole the motto "paz y justicia", above the country’s full name, both written in black. All that again on a white disk with a border in the national colors. [flag] 333:5000.6̅
1954(?)​-1956 [flag] [flag] 1:20.5
1956​-1988 [flag] [flag] 27:50 0.54
1988​-1990 [flag] [flag] 3:50.6
1990-2013 [flag] with National Coat of Arms: Yellow star on small blue disk, no more rays. Outside the wreath the name is written in yellow on a red ring. Everything still on a white disk, now with a black border. with Treasury Seal: Lion to the right, sitting in the air, white background. Above the lion the motto "paz y justicia" in yellow on a red ribbon, The name has disappeared. Everything still on a white disk, black border. [flag]
2013- [flag] with National Coat of Arms: Yellow star, wreath retained. Rings around them are modified to narrow black lines. with Treasury Seal: Lion facing to the right, sitting in the air, white background. The rings around the lion are narrow black lines. The inscription "paz y justicia" appears in black. [flag] 11:20 0.55
emblem descriptions by Harald Müller

Available data:

  • National flag is shown in Flaggenbuch (1939) [neu39] with proportion 333:500 (approx. 2:3)
  • Pedersen [ped71b] and Smith [smi75b] show it as ca. 1:2.
  • DK Pocket Book [rya97] shows it 1:2 but the companion text says 3:5; it seems to use an outdated image, with the "complex" emblems, and hesitate on the correct proportion.
  • Album des Pavillons [pay] says and shows 3:5. Album des Pavillons (recapitulative edition of 1995) also shows the "simplified" emblems of both sides of the flag, exactly as described above.
A putative chronology can be established with the help of the yearly supplements of Encyclopaedia Universalis [eun], which are mainly based on Album des Pavillons [pay] and have a notice for each country:
  • 1993: 1:2, "complex" emblem. Notice: "1811, modified 1842"
  • 1994: 1:2, "simplified" emblem. Notice: "1811, modified 1842, modified 1988"
  • 1998: 3:5, "simplified" emblem. Notice unchanged.
It seems that traditionally change in proportion is not considered as a "modification" worth being mentioned.

From the data I infer that the 1988 modification was the change in the emblem (it could not have been anything else), only noticed during the edition of the 1994 supplement of [eun] and also reported by Harald Müller at the same period (probably coming from Album des Pavillons [pay]). The change in proportions is not easy to date since it appears in 1995 in Album but was only incorporated in the 1998 supplement of [eun].

Another chronologic unresolved question is: when did the proportion move from 333:500 to 1:2 Is there any correlation to be found with the dates of reign of Alfredo Stroessner on the country (1954-1989)? It could match the change from 333:500 to 1:2 and then to 3:5, but not the change in the emblem.

Ivan Sache, 20 Oct 1999

The ratio at this time [April 1957] wasn’t 1:2 but 500:270 [270:500].
Brendan Hennessy, 18 Apr 2014

Status of the older Paraguayan Flags

Official government buildings, the UN Headquarters and various official government websites mostly appear to use the modern flag, however many vendors in and outside of Paraguay frequently use the older flag which bears a thick red ring around the seal or in some cases even the pre-1988 design.

While most of the time it's likely due to an error or the flag companies being ignorant, it's became more of a frequent trend to see the older flag rather than the newer flag and coat of arms, Paraguay in most modern times has had a few crises in its existence which include protesting against the government which could play a role in the usage of older flags and designs.

The 2021 Paraguay protests sprung up some interesting flag-related things I've spotted, in this photo shows protests holding up some flags and you can clearly see the pre-2013 flag in the center and on the right is a variation of the flag I've never seen before, lacking the black ring around the red ring and having no blue circle within the coat of arms behind the star, This photo of Horacio Cartes here shows the normal national flag behind him but also wearing a sash showing what I believe is the pre-2013 coat of arms with the thick red ring and this August 2016 photo of Horacio with the pre-2013 flag on the left of him.

This demonstration here shows both the post-2013 flag combined with a few people using the pre-1988 flag in which it had a thin blue and red ring around the emblem and the same can be applied to this photo from 2014 showing the pre-1988 flag being flown.

The trend of seeing the older Paraguayan flag is still interesting as it could be a mix of political issues, flag companies not producing the right design or people simply not caring which one they fly.
BlinxCat, 3 July 2022