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Where did the Mexican Flag Come From?

Aug 17, 2007
The current flag of Mexico has three stripes. It is green, white, and red with an emblem. The overall general design of the Mexican flag has been the same since 1821, but this flag was adopted in 1968.

The design in the center of the flag is the image of an eagle holding a snake. The eagle is sitting on a rock near a cactus in a lake. The Aztecs had a legend that their gods had told them to build a city where they saw an eagle with a snake. The legend says this is the city that became what is now Mexico City.

When it was originally created, the colors represented green for their independence from Spain. The color white represented the religion of Catholicism that is prominent in Mexico. The color red was intended to represent the Americas union with Europe. The meanings have changed over time and the current official definition of the flag gets around the problem by not assigning any meaning to the colors. Generally the colors are now thought to represent to be green for hope. The color white is considered to represent either unity or purity. The color red reminds the people of their religion or blood of heroes. Notice how the religion has been changed from white to red and is no longer specific to the Roman Catholic Church.

Up until 1968 Mexico used the tri-color flag without the emblem for many applications. However when they hosted the 1968 summer Olympics, this presented a problem. The flag that they were using in many areas was identical to the Italian flag. With the large number of people visiting for the summer games, this would not have looked good and could have caused a lot of confusion. To prevent confusion the current definition was adopted that requires the emblem with the eagle.

In 1995 the legal description of the Mexican flag was changed once again. The previous description stated that the eagle had to face to the left. At first this seems simple, but it does not take into account what will happen when the flag is viewed from the back. This may have been a simple oversite in the haste to get the flag changed before the Olympic games or maybe they originally expected the flag to be printed correctly on both sides. The definition didn't allow the back side of the flag to let the eagle to face right instead of left as it is on the front of the flag. I am not sure how the prevented people from seeing the back of the flag for all those years. After the 1995 change, the flag can be officially viewed from the front and the back.
About the Author
The Mexico501 website offers insight into life in Mexico and tips for people looking at moving "south of the border". You can find more information about the Mexico water supply at the site as well.
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