The origins of the current Flag of Puerto Rico can be traced to 1868, when the first Puerto Rican flag was conceived by Dr. Ramon Emeterio Betances and embroidered by Mariana “Brazos de Oro” Bracetti. On the September 23, 1868, the flag, which later became known as “The Revolutionary Flag of Lares” and is now the official flag of the Municipality of Lares, Puerto Rico, was proclaimed the national flag of the “Republic of Puerto Rico” by Francisco Rami­rez Medina, who was sworn in as Puerto Rico’s first president, during the short lived Puerto Rican revolt against Spanish rule in the island which is known as “El Grito de Lares”.

The use and display of the Puerto Rican flag was outlawed and the only flags permitted to be flown in Puerto Rico were the Spanish flag (1492 to 1898) and the flag of the United States (1898 to 1952). In 1952, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico adopted the same flag design, which was unveiled in 1892 by the Puerto Rican Revolutionary Committee, as its official standard without specifying the tones of colors to be used. The color of the triangle that was used by the administration of Luis Muñoz Mari­n was the dark blue that is used in the flag of the United States, instead of the original light blue. In 1995, the government of Puerto Rico issued a regulation in regard to the use of the Puerto Rican flag titled: “Reglamento sobre el Uso en Puerto Rico de la Bandera del Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico” in which the government specifies the colors to be used but, does not specify any official color tones or shades. Therefore, it is not uncommon to see the Flag of Puerto Rico with different shades of blue displayed in the island. On March 15, 2009, the Puerto Rican flag was taken aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery during its flight into Outer Space. That flag will be given to the government of Puerto Rico during astronaut Joseph Acaba’s visit June 1-6.

Each of the municipalities of Puerto Rico, including the islands of Culebra and Vieques, have adopted a flag which represents the region and its people. The colors and designs vary. Some flags contain a coat of arms or images of an object associated with the region, such as a bird, animal, or crop. In the case of Lares the flag adopted was the “Revolutionary Flag of Lares” with the yellow star changed to white. Caguas is the only city whose barrios have their own flags.

Many of the municipal flags of Puerto Rico pay tribute to the Caci­ques of the Taino tribes (the native Puerto Rican tribe) who ruled the island before the arrival of the Spaniards. The flag of Utuado for example has a Taino Sun in honor of the Supreme Taino Cacique Agueybana whose name means “The Great Sun”. Other flags, such as San German’s, contain a mural crown. The crown pays tribute to the local caciques who ruled the area.


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