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Flag of the Race

Jun 10, 2017

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The Flag of the Race is a white flag with three purple crosses and a rising sun. 

This flag has been around for some long time (1950's at least). I have seen it called The Flag of the Americas, also. I am still totally unsure of who uses it and for what purpose. 

A captain of Uruguayan army named Angel Camblor created this flag. It was hoisted first on 12 October, 1932. It symbolises the Spanish race on the American continent, Philippines Islands, Maghreb, Equatorial Guinea and the Iberian Peninsula, with contraposition of the indigenous races, in the past and the future. The three cross are the carabelles of Colon and the purple is for Castille; the white is the purity and the sun is the light. This flag was popularised during the Franco regime, but after 1975 the Spanish government has down-played it. In Latin-America I think that is not very popular. 

The flag represents the Hispanic Race. The three crosses recall the three ships of Columbus. La Bandera de la Raza is used for multi-national cultural purposes, for example, Hispanic festivals. 

Well, I live in Chicago, which has a reasonably large Hispanic population. This group has parades and celebrations to celebrate Hispanic Day, and the independence of a lot of Latin nations. Never have I seen this flag. 

I have seen it at quite a few parades in Latin American countries. High school kids carrying it with other Latin American, Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, and Spain flags. On April 14 (Pan-American day) and on October 12 Columbus day. 

I have seen it once or twice in the Washington DC area, where the Spanish population (not the diplomatic community) is predominantly Salvadoran, Peruvian and Bolivian. I have never heard any negative connotations from my Spanish speaking friends about the flag or the concept of "La Raza." 

The Bandera de la Raza (literally "flag of the race", which I would prefer to see called "the flag of the Spanish-speaking Americas") seems to be almost forgotten today. It was created by an Uruguayan, captain Angel Camblor, and was flown for the first time on the 12th October, 1932, in most of the Hispano-American capitals. Its use was generalized during the 30s and 40s, but during the 50s it was gradually abandoned, I do not know why. Today it is almost a rarity. I cannot recall having seen it at all in 1992, despite widespread celebrations, at all levels, of the 500th anniversary of Columbus' arrival in the Americas.

Here is the symbolism, which is quite obvious. This description is taken from "Banderas y Escudos del Mundo, Editorial América S.A. Panamá, 1986", and I am looking forward to check it with Camblor's notes, which give me an opportunity to have first-hand information on the subject. Anyway, here is the description quoted from said book:

"White stands for to purity. The Inca sun represents the light shining on the continent. The three crosses stand for the three Colón ships and also for Christianity. The lilac evokes the Castillian banner flown by Colón [Columbus] in the New World".

Some comments on this description:

  • I do not know why this sun: a) is mentioned as "Incaic"; b) has 19 rays. Anyone can help on why this is so in both cases?

  • For those who do not remember, the ships were named "Niña", "Pinta" and "Santa María" (the commanding vessel, on which Columbus sailed). Note that the central cross in this flag is slightly bigger than the other two, reflecting the greater importance of this last vessel.

  • Note the historic irony in the fact that Colon's first landing took place in Guanahani, an island which he called San Salvador and is currently known as Waitling Island, although forming part of the Americas is not a Hispano-American territory, and therefore is not included in the territories this flag evokes.