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Dominican Republic Flag: A brief History

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Dominican Republic flag
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The history of the Dominican Republic flag is rich with notions of freedom and independence that are still just as relevant today as they were back in 1844!

This article will go through the flag’s history and the significance behind all its colors and elements. We’ll also see some of the common flags used in the country over the years.

Notable Figures in the Creation of the Dominican Republic Flag

The flag was born from Juan Pablo Duarte’s ideas about freedom. After all, Duarte was one of the organizers of La Trinitaria, a revolutionary group that aimed to gain independence from Haitian occupation.

However, Concepción Bona and Maria Trinidad Sánchez tackled the design.

Bona was a nursery school teacher, but her family was devoted to Duarte’s cause. So, she created the flag with her cousin, María de Jesús Pina, Isabel Sosa, and the freedom fighter, Maria Trinidad Sánchez.

When Duarte was exiled to Caracas the year before the revolution, fellow activist Francisco del Rosario Sánchez took over his leadership role. On the night of February 27, 1844, Sánchez hoisted the new flag at The Count’s Gate while proclaiming his nation’s independence.

So, all these people played a role in creating the Dominican Republic Flag in its early stages!

Notions Behind the Dominican Republic Flag’s Design

Dominican Flag
Dominican Republic’s Flag

The flag has four rectangles with a white cross in the center. This cross extends to the borders of the flag. 

On the top half, the rectangle on the hoist side is ultramarine blue. The color of the rectangle beside it is vermillion red. On the bottom half, the colors are in reverse.

You’ll find the Dominican Republic coat of arms at the center of the white cross.

Remember that every color and symbol holds a deeper meaning for the country’s struggle for independence.

Let’s take a closer look at the notions behind each element.

White Cross

The color white in the Dominican Republic flag has come to mean salvation. The white cross could also symbolize their wish for peace and unity of the Dominican people and the country’s religious heritage.

Blue and Red Rectangles

In general, blue can symbolize liberty, but it’s also believed to represent the sky. This symbolism reminds the people that God is watching over the country from above.

Meanwhile, the color red symbolizes the blood of the heroes spilled during their fight for freedom.

Coat of Arms

Dominican Republic coat of arms
Source Wikipedia

The Dominican Republic coat of arms in the center of the flag uses the same colors and has a white cross, but a few elements are worth mentioning.

For instance, at the forefront, there’s an image of an open bible and a gold cross above it, with six spears. As it happens, Article 32 of the Dominican Republic constitution states that the bible is open and displays a verse that says “Y la verdad os hará libres” from the Gospel of Saint John 8:32.

At the top, you can spot a blue ribbon that reads “Dios, Patria, Libertad,” which translates to “God, Homeland, Liberty,” the country’s national motto.

At the very bottom, another ribbon in red carries the inscription “Republica Dominicana,” or the Dominican Republic.

Historical Flags of the Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic has a long history of being under colonial rule. So, there were a few flags over the years.

The Cross of Burgundy

When Spain colonized the Dominican Republic in the early 16th century, they used the flag of the Captaincy General of Santo Domingo. This was called the Cross of Burgundy flag, which represented the Spanish empire.

The Dominican flag has a white background with a red cross in the center, in the shape of an “X” with a saw-toothed design. The Cross of Saint Andrew, the patron saint of Burgundy, inspired it.

Flag of Spanish Haiti

Flag of Spanish Haiti
Source Wikipedia

While Spain conquered the island’s eastern side, the French colonists took control of the western side by establishing a state named Saint-Domingue (eventually becoming Haiti).

 In 1822, after the Republic of Haiti gained its independence, the occupation of the Spanish side of the island began, subsequently leading to the use of the Spanish Haiti flag in the country.

This flag has three horizontal stripes. At the top, a yellow line is as wide as half of the flag. Meanwhile, the bottom half is split between the blue and red stripes. You’ll also spot five white stars arranged in an arc on the blue section of the flag.

Early Flag of La Trinitaria

The early flag of La Trinitaria was slightly different from the current Dominican Republic flag. They took the blue and red horizontal stripes from the Haitian flag and used them as the background. The white cross was added to represent their Christian heritage. At first, the cross was smaller and did not extend to the edges. Plus, four white stars were placed along each of the vertical borders. 

There was also a white star at the top and bottom of the cross. So, you can spot ten stars in total on this flag.

The Significance of the Flag on the Dominican Republic Independence Day 

Dominicans celebrate their country’s independence day every year on February 27, making it a national holiday. This day is usually filled with various celebrations and events throughout the country.

The Dominican Republic military holds a parade along Washington Avenue in Santo Domingo. If you get a chance to visit, you’ll see that the people attending these events often wear red, blue, or white, waving their flag with pride, with its historical significance never forgotten!

Final Thoughts

The flag of the Dominican Republic played a significant role in the country’s history with colonization.

From the colors to the imagery, the flag’s elements carry a lot of symbolism that helps remind the people of their fight for freedom. Today, the Dominican Republic flag remains to celebrate its rich history and independence!

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