History and Design of the Puerto Rico Flag
The Puerto Rican flag features a design in the same colors used by the United States flag and it is now only flown along with the flag of the U.S. Much of its design reflects the close ties that bound Puerto Rico patriots with Cuba in the 20th century. For this reason, the flag flying over the capital of San Juan was the Cuban flag colors reversed. This was flown throughout the 1900s and for several years into the 21st century. An official flag for Puerto Rico was first unveiled in 1895, but this took place in New York City, rather than in Puerto Rico.
First Unveiling of Puerto Rico Flag
The first unveiling in New York City was completed by a group of 59 Puerto Ricans who gathered in Manhattan’s “Chimney Corner Hall.” The leader of the group was Doctor Julio J. Henna, who founded the political organization, which was associated with the Cuban Revolutionary Party. Their goal was Cuba and Puerto Rico’s independence from Spanish rule. For this reason, part of the flag’s design was created to encourage support for this goal of freedom from Spain. Very soon the flag was adopted as a national symbol, and in 1930, it was adopted by the Nationalist Party. In 1952, when Puerto Rico became a Commonwealth, the flag was finally officially recognized as the national flag. Now that Puerto Rico is a Commonwealth of the United States, the flag is always flown along with the Stars and Stripes.
Design of Puerto Rico Flag
The Puerto Rican flag features five alternate red and white stripes, starting with red from the top, and on its left is a blue triangle, containing a single, white star with five points. The star stands for the Puerto Rican Commonwealth, while each point of the triangle represents the three branches of republican government–judicial, legislative and executive. The three red stripes were chosen to symbolize the lives that were lost to establish these branches. The two white stripes are a symbol of the freedom of the individual and the civil rights of each person, and are said to be part of the flag as a perpetual reminder of the need for vigilance if a Democratic system of government is to be maintained.
Puerto Rico Flag Controversy
There has been a great deal of controversy for many decades among various historians concerning who should be given credit for the design of the Puerto Rico flag. This has prompted a high number of debates, and there are still conflicting theories with regard to why the matter was never settled. Among those who may have designed the flag are Gonzalo Marin, Manuel Besosa, Antonio Velez Alvarado and Jose del Natta Terraforte. However, for many Puerto Ricans, this controversy simply adds mystery and intrigue to the history of this lovely flag.