Is there meaning in the Flag?
The national flag of Ecuador, which consists of horizontal bands of yellow (double width), blue and red, was first adopted by law on 1835 and later on 26 September 1860. The design of the current flag was finalized in 1900 with the addition of the coat of arms in the center of the flag. Before using the yellow, blue and red tricolor, Ecuador used white and blue flags that contained stars for each province of the country. The design of the flag is very similar to those of Colombia and Venezuela, which are also former constituent territories of Gran Colombia. All three are based on a proposal by Venezuelan General Francisco de Miranda, which was adopted by Venezuela in 1811 and later Gran Colombia with some modifications.
Miranda ascribed the colors he chose for his flag to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's theory of primary colors. In a letter written to Count Semyon Romanovich Vorontsov in 1792, Miranda described a late-night conversation, which he had with Goethe at a party in Weimar, Germany during the winter of 1785. Fascinated with Miranda's account of his exploits in the American Revolutionary War and his travels throughout the Americas and Europe, Goethe told him that, "Your destiny is to create in your land a place where primary colors are not distorted.” He proceeded to clarify what he meant:
“First he explained to me the way the iris transforms the light into the three primary colors... then he said, ‘Why yellow is the most warm, noble and closest to the bright light; why Blue is that mix of excitement and serenity, so far that it evokes the shadows; and why Red is the exaltation of Yellow and Blue, the synthesis, the vanishing of the bright light into the shadows’.”
The first time the yellow, blue and red flag was flown by Miranda was in 1806 on the ship Leander when trying to face the Spanish forces off the coast of Jacmel, Haiti. The colors of the modern Ecuadorian flag evolved from those of the flag of the nation of Gran Colombia, which encompassed the territories of modern-day Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela. The colors have the following meanings:
Yellow: The crops and the fertile soil.
Blue: The ocean and the clear skies
Red: The blood spilled by the heroes who died in the name of their countrymen's Fatherland and Freedom.
Coat of arms:
In the background of the oval shield is the mountain Chimborazo, while the river originating from its base represents the Guayas. Chimborazo is also the highest mountain in Ecuador and is part of the Andes Range. The steamboat on the river is named Guayas as well. The ship was built in Guayaquil and was the first seaworthy steamship built in both Ecuador and in all of South America. It was first put into service on October 9th 1841. The ship has the features of a Caduceus representing trade and economy. This kind of mast has two wings surrounding a pole with two snakes encircling it. On top a golden sun surrounded by the Zodiac astrological signs for Aries, Taurus, Gemini and Cancer representing the months March to July to symbolize the duration of the March Revolution of 1845 that ousted General Juan José Flores.
The condor on top of the shield stretches his wings to symbolize power, greatness and strength of Ecuador. The condor also represents the idea that it will always be ready to attack any enemy. The shield is flanked by four national flags. The laurel on the left represents the victories of the republic. The palm leaf on the right side is a symbol of the martyrs of the fight for independence and liberty. The Fasces below the shield represents the republican dignity. The final design of the coat of arms was completed in 1900.