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Spanish Flag

Nov 12, 2007
The Spanish flag is a yellow and red triband with the yellow horizontal band in the middle of two red horizontal bands. The two red bands are equal-sized and the middle yellow band is twice the width of each of the red bands. A simplified version of Spain's coat of arms is depicted on the left half of the yellow band. The height of the Spanish flag is twice the size of the width.

Though the colour scheme remained largely intact from the 18th to the 20th century, there were quite a few changes made to the coat of arms. The present version of the flag was adopted on 19th December 1981.

The crowned shield of the coat of arms is quartered and flanked on two sides by crowned Pillars of Hercules. The four quadrants of the coat-of-arms represent the four provinces that were merged towards the end of the 15th century to form a unified Spain. The castle represents the kingdom of Castile, the lion represents Leon, the linked chains represent Navarre and the vertical alternating yellow and red striped represent the kingdom of Aragon. The pomegranate fruit that lies just below the coat of arms represents the Moorish kingdom of Granada and the crown-topped pillars represent Gibraltar and Ceuta. Draped around the two pillars are red scrolls featuring the phrase 'Plus Ultra', meaning 'There is More Beyond'. This alludes to Spain's discovery and colonization of America. The centre of the shield features fleur-de-lies, which lies in the middle of a blue oval with a red border. This represents the House of Borbon, the reigning Spanish royal family.

Interestingly, the red scrolls draped around the pillars initially read 'Non Plus Ultra', which meant 'No further from here'and alluded to the belief that Spain was the westernmost point on Earth. Things changed after the discovery of America and 'Non Plus Ultra' was replaced by the present 'Plus Ultra'; there is more beyond.

Spanish Flag Protocol

The Constitution dictates that the Spanish flag is permitted to be flown horizontally or vertically during official ceremonies and from public buildings, town squares, private homes, ships and businesses. While the flag is typically flown from sunrise to sunset, all government offices, whether in Spain or abroad are required to fly the Spanish flag twenty-four hours a day. At night, the flag is required to be appropriately lit. All flags that are flown anywhere must conform to legal standards and should not be damaged or soiled whatsoever.

When the Spanish flag is flown with other flags, the correct order in which they may be flown is the national flag first followed by the flags of foreign states, the European Union flag, flags of international NGOs, flags of military and government standards, flags of Autonomous communities, city flags and then followed by any others. When the Spanish flag is flown alongside foreign flags, the flags are placed according to the countries' names as they appear in the Spanish language; the exception being when any meeting or congress hosted in Spain decrees that a different language should be used for sorting.

The Spanish oath to the flag is called the Jura de Bandera, which means "pledge of the flag".
About the Author
Sandra Lightowler is the owner of Ask Olive the leading online information and Business Directory for Andalucia Spain.
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