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Republic of Chile; República de Chile

Last modified: 2024-01-13 by randy young
Keywords: chile | star: 5 points (white) | vertical |
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[Flag of Chile]
image by Željko Heimer, 13 December 2005

TYPE: National flag and ensign
USAGE: [CSW/CSW] (flown on Land and at Sea for Civilian, State and Military use)
RATIO: 2:3
ADOPTED & HOISTED: 17 October 1817, with coat of arms
CURRENT VERSION: 1818, without coat of arms

See also:

External links:


The Captaincy-General of Chile declared its independence from Spain in 1810 and adopted a horizontal tricolour of blue-white-yellow, known as the Bandera de la Patria Vieja (Flag of the Old Fatherland). From 1814-1816, Spain reconquered the jurisdiction and used their own flags. In 1817, months after independence had been re-established, another fesswise tricolour was adopted: blue-white-red. In the autumn of 1817, Governor Fernando Lastra of Valparaíso wrote the central command asking for clarification on which tricolour should be used. The response by Supreme Director Bernardo O'Higgins was a decree, dated 18 October 1817, that established the current flag, La Estrella solitaria (The Lone Star), also known as the Bandera de la Patria Nueva (Flag of the New Fatherland). The original version of 18 October 1817 had a variation of the national coat of arms charged overall.

When the flag was first adopted, the official description was not extremely detailed. Sinc the consolidation of independence, three pieces of legislation have been passed concerning the layout flag. On 4 July 1854, the overall ratio was set, the blue canton was defined as a square, the layout of the colours and placement of the star were fixed. On 11 January 1912, the star was defined as being half the size of the canton and the order of colours was set for the presidential sash. The last piece of legislation was Decreto Supremo Nº 1.534 of the Ministry of the Interior, 18 October 1967. This document included an official description of the coat of arms and established them, along with the National Flag, Cockade and Presidential Standard as National Emblems.

Of the various interpretations of the colours, the most popular is that the white is the snow on the Andes mountains, the blue is the ocean and sky, the red is the blood shed for independence and the lone star is for civic virtues. This flag is part of the United States flag family, thus, if the Chilean flag is hoisted vertically, the reverse is shown so that the star remains in the top left position to the viewer.

The national flag of Chile is one of the oldest in continuous use, considering that the flag was first hoisted in 1818 and that subsequent legislation has only specified the design while not altering anything.
Alex Garofolo, 16 January 2015

Description of the flag

The Chilean flag is a horizontal bicolour (per fess) of white over red and on a blue canton is a white star.

Placement and size of the Lone Star

Official undated publication About our Flag states that "the size of the star was fixed in 1912." My own spec shows the star at one-quarter the hoist, with the circle that contains it being centred rather than the star itself. The same source also says that "the exact layout of the panel and stripes was fixed by legislation dated 4 July 1854," and later that "the flag was last regulated in a law of 18 October 1967."
Christopher Southworth, 13 December 2005

The size of the star of the Chilean flag is defined by Law No. 2597 (11 January 1912) as "the diameter of the star will be half the side of the blue square [canton]." (The same rule of the star size goes for the Presidential Flag.)
Francisco Gregoric, 26 March 2006

In Album 2000 [pay00], page CH 1.1 (Chile), Fig. 1 (national flag) has an additional black line around the blue field. No doubt, unintentionally.
Željko Heimer, 11 January 2001

During the closing ceremony of the Judejut, held in Puno, Peru, the national flag presented to the Chilean athletes was starless.
Ivan Sache, 12 May 2012

Color shades

The only official definition found so far is simply "blue," "white;" and "red" at the website of the Presidency of Chile.
Ville Koistinen, 8 February 2006

There are, at least as far as I have be able to discover, no officially recommended/specified colours for the Chilean flag. The Album des Pavillons [pay00]recommends red 186C ()and blue 286C(), the Flag Institute of Great Britain red 032C ()and also blue 286C (), (although these are simply default shades in the absence of anything official). I do have an official illustration of the flag, which whilst not being in any way definitive, would suggest that PMS286 ()for the blue is about right, but that the red might be closer to PMS 185()?
Christopher Southworth, 8 February 2006

The protocol manual for the London 2012 Olympics (Flags and Anthems Manual, London 2012) provides recommendations for national flag designs. Each National Olympic Committe confirmed their colours with the London Game's Organization Committee. Chile's colours are defined as: PMS 485 red and 286 blue.
Ian Sumner, 10 October 2012

Historical Variants of the Current Flag

Several historical variants of the flag of Chile have been used, in which the placement of the star or the arrangement of the colours was different.

Vertical display

[Flag of Chile, hung vertically] ↴↺
image by Željko Heimer, 13 December 2005

The vertical use of the Chilean flag is used with the star at left, as is said in the Decreto Supremo Nº 1.534 (Supreme Decree No. 1534):
Artículo 3º. - [...] Cuando no fuere posible izarla en un asta o mástil, se la colocará extendida totalmente en forma horizontal o vertical, debiendo quedar en ambos casos, el cuadro azul en la parte superior y a la izquierda del espectador. [...]
Translation: "Article 3º. - [... ] When it shall not be possible to hoist it on a flagsataff or mast, it will be hung totally extended in horizontal or vertical form, and the blue square should remain, in both cases, in the upper portion and to the left of spectator. [... ]"
Marcelo Véliz, 26 October 2005