What is Depicted on the Costa Rica Flag?
Much like the flags of the United States of America and France, the Costa Rica flag’s first impression is of juxtaposed stripes of red, white, and blue. There are five horizontal stripes in all, with the top and bottom stripes being blue, the central stripe red, and the two stripes separating these white. The central stripe is widest, being approximately twice as wide as any of the others.
A small round or oval white field appears on the red central stripe, located off-center towards the hoist, or edge of the flag which is closest to the flagpole. The coat of arms of the nation is depicted on this badge-like circle or oval. Some variations of the flag omit the white circle and coat of arms, and consist purely of the red, white, and blue background stripes. Aesthetically, these variants are rather bland looking compared to those that include the coat of arms.
Several other flags were used in the past, including a fairly recent variant with the coat of arms appearing at the exact center of the red stripe, rather than being displaced towards the hoist. The earliest flags included pale blue and white variants, and a white version with a six pointed red star (which was adopted, of course, long before communism existed).
What is the Significance of the Costa Rica Flag?
The current Costa Rica flag was adopted in 1848, and is modeled on the French flag that was used during the revolutions of that tumultuous year. The Costa Rican president’s wife, a woman named Pacifica Fernandez, was inspired by the French love of liberty and designed the flag, which her husband then officially adopted.
The colors of the flag are symbolic, with red representing both the blood of the martyrs who have died for the freedom of their country (perhaps slightly amusing, considering the completely bloodless independence of Costa Rica) as well as the warm hearts of the populace. White represents happiness and peace, while the blue symbolizes perseverance and opportunity.
The coat of arms includes the isthmus where Costa Rica is located, plus three volcanoes and seven stars for the seven administrative subdivisions of the country. These symbols are contained in an elegant heraldic shield, and provide a distinctive flourish to the flag of this peaceful Central American nation.