The Ecuadorian flag represents the country’s values, history and geography. Ecuador lies on the Pacific coast of South America, and is bordered on the north by Columbia. Peru lies to the south and east. The country’s name derives from the fact that it sits astride the equator.
The upper half of the Ecuador flag is yellow and symbolizes the wealth and fertility of the land. Two horizontal stripes of equal width occupy the lower half. The upper stripe is blue, representing the sea and sky. The lower stripe is red. It recalls the blood shed by patriots in Ecuador’s struggle for independence.
The Ecuadorian coat of arms is superimposed at the center of the flag. It is an oval shield that appears against a background of four Ecuadorian flags. To the left of the shield is an image of laurel leaves. To the right are palm leaves. These features represent victory. The shield rests on a bundle of sheaves symbolizing the dignity of the Republic. A condor appears above the shield and is a symbol of protection from foreign enemies. On the shield itself is an image of Mount Chimborazo, which is the highest peak in the Andes. The Guayas river is pictured in the foreground. Together, the mountain and river symbolize the unity of coastal Ecuador with its interior. A steamboat, also named Guayas, sails on the river. This vessel, constructed in 1841, was the first steamship in South America. Above the mountain peak appear the Zodiac sighs of Aries, Taurus, Cancer, and Gemini, along with the sun. This image represents the March, 1845 revolution that established the modern Republic of Ecuador.
Credit for the basic design of the flag of Ecuador goes to General Francisco de Miranda, an early supporter of independence from Spain. Today’s flag, without the coat of arms, was adopted in 1860. The coat of arms was added in 1960. Prior to 1860, the country had several flags. When Ecuador gained independence from Spain in 1822, it was part of a confederacy, and flew a banner with three horizontal stripes of the same colors as the current flag. In 1830 Ecuador, Venezuela and Columbia became separate nations. From that time until 1860, several flag designs were used. Some were early versions of the current flag. Others were blue and white in various combinations, with white stars superimposed on a blue background.