San Marino is a small country that is totally surrounded on all sides by Italy. It is located within Italy, on the northeast side of the Pennine Mountains. The country claims to be the oldest sovereign state in the world, and claims to use the oldest, continuously used, written governing documents. Its flags also have a rich history.
The current flag of San Marino is also old, though not quite as old as the country itself. The country of San Marino dates itself back to theyear 301. The current flag, however, was adopted on April 6, 1862 by a decree of the Supreme Council. To date, little has changed on the flag except minor details on the coat of arms.
The current flag of San Marino is divided in half horizontally with the top half being white and the bottom half a light blue color. The national coat of arms of San Marino is depicted in the middle of the flag on both the white and the blue. The coat of arms is artfully designed in many colors to bring out its many parts. The coat of arms contains a shield that features three towers on three peaks with a closed crown on the top. It is flanked by an oak and laurel wreath. It has a scroll on the bottom that has the word “Libertas,” meaning liberty. The white on the flag represents peace while the light blue represents liberty. Another theory about the colors says that the blue represents the blue sky while the white represents the snow at the top of Mt. Titano, San Marino’s highest peak.
While it is not known how long it remained the flag, the oldest flag of San Marino dates back to 1465. It was divided in thirds horizontally, with three colors: orange, white, and purple. In the white section, there was the old emblem of San Marino. Around 1797, perhaps influenced by reforms in France at the time, the blue and white colors known today came into popularity as the flag colors.
San Marino is unique in that it is entirely landlocked inside another country. This country is known as the oldest country in the world and its history depicts a flag that is also quite old. While its current flag dates to the 19th century, it has remained true to its flag for over one hundred years. The San Marino flag represents the small populations hopes and dreams for liberty and for peace among its inhabitants.