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2013 Flag Change
On July 15, 2013, Federico Franco, at that time the President of Paraguay, announced that the official seals on both sides of the Paraguayan flag would undergo changes in order to better represent the symbols first chosen for it in 1842. These two seals together make up the national coat of arms of Paraguay.
Franco said the modifications were the result of a long debate and “a consensus that is not often achieved among historians”. There had already been several changes to the seals in the past, especially after the Paraguayan War of 1864-1870, which pitted the country against Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay.
Changes made to the National Seal
One of the biggest of the 2013 changes was to the ring around the star, where it says “República del Paraguay”. This ring has been red since about 1988, when it was changed under the rule dictator Alfredo Stroessner, whose political party was represented by that color. It is now white. The blue background behind the yellow star has also disappeared, and the text of the phrase “República del Paraguay” has changed from yellow to black.
Changes made to the Seal of the Treasury
On the reverse side of the flag, the roaring lion is now a light ochre (golden) color instead of yellow, the spear behind the lion is brown, while the cap on top of the spear, which according to tradition symbolizes liberty, continues to be red. The inscription “Paz y Justicia” (Peace and Justice) is now black instead of yellow, and the banner behind the inscription has gone from red to white.
|Country Name: |
• Paraguay (English, Spanish)
• Paraguái (Guarani)
• Republic of Paraguay (English)
• República del Paraguay (Spanish)
• Tetã Paraguái (Guarani)
According to Paraguayan Minister of Linguistic Policy Carlos Villagra Marsal, there were also unfruitful efforts to replace the palm frond on the National Seal with a pindo palm, and the olive branch with yerba mate, which would in his opinion have been better national symbols. However, he said the historians preferred to return to the original designs, rather than add entirely new elements to the flag.
The Paraguayan Flag Through History
|The Blue Flag as flown under Francia|
Paraguay’s second major flag design, used from June 17th until August 15th of 1811, was made up of three horizontal stripes of red, yellow, and blue. The red and yellow stripes on the top were taken from the flag of Spain, while the blue stripe on the bottom represented the Virgin Mary of Asunción.
|Paraguay's first tricolor flag|
(CC BY-SA; source)
The seals of the Paraguayan coat of arms were added to the flag in November of 1842. On the front, the seal of Paraguay: a palm frond and olive branch intertwined at the bottom and open at the top, with a star in the middle, and the inscription “República del Paraguay” (Republic of Paraguay) above. On the reverse side of the flag, the seal of the Department of the Treasury was added: a lion within a circle, with the words “Paz y Justicia” (Peace and Justice) above.
Paraguay's flag is unique in that the front and back have different designs: Saudia Arabia is the only other UN-recognized country with a national flag whose reverse side is not a mirror of the obverse—but in the case of the Saudi flag, the back side is merely a duplicate of the front side to prevent the flag's sacred text from being reversed. (Until recently, Moldova's flag also had a different front and back, but it was changed in 2010 so the two sides are now normal mirror images of each other.)
Graphics of the Paraguayan flag, other than the red, gold, and blue tricolor, are in the public domain (source).