The Costa Rican flag has five stripes. The red stripe covers a third of the total width of the flag, while the white and blue stripes sandwich the red stripe. There are two white stripes. Each stripe is a sixth of the flag’s width in size and placed above as well as below the red stripe. Finally, there are two blue stripes located at the top and at the bottom of the flag.

Like most national flags, the Costa Rican flag has colors that represent various principles which embody the people’s beliefs. The blue represents the sky and the opportunities that are within the reach of every Cost Rican. It also displays the spirit of endurance, infinity, eternity, intellectual thinking, and religious or spiritual ideals. White stands for sound judgment of the Costa Ricans, their happiness, wisdom, authority, and for the natural beauty of their environment. It also stands for the peace and initiative of the people of Costa Rica. Red represents the blood that was shed during the fight for freedom of the Costa Ricans. It also stands for the warmth of the people among themselves and towards visitors.

The Costa Rican flag was designed by the then First Lady Pacifica Fernandez Oreamuno (wife of the then State Chief - Jose María Castro Madríz) when it was officially adopted on September 29, 1848. This was only a matter of days after September 15, when Costa Rica had attained its independence from Spain. The ideals of freedom, equality, and brotherhood during the French Revolution inspired the first lady to design the flag. This revolution took place between 1789 and 1799. The government of Costa Rica added the red stripe to the original colors of the flag which were blue and white. It did so in 1848 as a way of celebrating the French Revolution. Hence, the colors of today’s Costa Rican flag resemble that of the French national flag which are also blue, red and white.

The first Costa Rican flag came into being in 1823. The flag was made up of a white background coupled with a six pointed star in the middle. The six points represented the then six provinces of Costa Rica. This flag lasted from June 6, 1823 to March 4, 1824. Around the same time, there existed a unity flag for the United States of Central America which included Costa Rica. The flag had four stripes of sky blue, white and red. At the center of the white band, there was a Coat of arms that represented the federal states. Consequently, after 1824, Costa Rica’s flag consisted of the unity flag with an addition of the Costa Rican coat of arms below the federal states’ coat of arms. On Costa Rica’s coat of arms were the words “Free State of Costa Rica” in Spanish. In 1840, Costa Rica changed the colors of the flag. Instead of blue, the bands were white while the white stripe became blue. The Costa Rican coat of arms was at the center of the blue band. This flag lasted for only two years before Francisco Morazan reversed the colors back to the original. In 1848, Costa Rica became a democratic republic and in turn changed its flag. The new colors become blue, white, and red as they are seen today. At the center of the red stripe, the new Costa Rican coat of arms was placed. Finally, in 1906, the coat of arms was removed, leading to today’s Costa Rican flag.

This page was last modified on November 22nd, 2017