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Puerto Rico — «Cross of Burgundy» Flag

Puerto Rico — «Cross of Burgundy» Flag

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Last modified: 2021-08-25 by rob raeside

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image by Blas Delgado Ortiz, 4 March 2000

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  • Puerto Rico
  • Puerto Rico — Historical Flags
  • Spain — Cross of Burgundy
  • Spanish Royal Standard

Some friends who were in Puerto Rico over Christmas described
a commonly seen flag (along with the Stars and Stripes and the
Puerto Rican flags): The flag is a St. Patrick’s cross, red on
white, but the cross is made of 9 «bricks» on each
diagonal, instead of being a single straight-edged band. (This is
a crude gif.)
Rob Raeside, 20 January 1998

This is the «Cross of Burgundy,» one of the
standards of Spain that was used by the Spanish Military in the
South East US.
Nathan Bliss, 20 January 1998

It’s not the usual Cross of Burgundy. This is «argent,
gnarled cross gules», but the one that was flown in Puerto
Rico was definitely a cross made of horizontal
«bricks». It was flying at El Morro, an old fort in San
Rob Raeside, 21 January 1998

The «Cross of Burgundy» flag is the Spanish military
flag. My understanding is that is was not used after the 1780’s.
It is flown over San Cristobal fort, El Morro fort, and some
other buildings that were official buildings under Spain as an
historical thing. The cross does not reach the corners.
Anna Stone Jimanez, 31 October 1998

I saw your webpage on Puerto Rican flags and I would like to
clarify something about the «Cross of Burgundy» Flag.

This flag is not the «Cross of Burgundy» but «La
bandera de San Andres de la Infanteria.» translated
«The flag of St. Andrew of the Infantry.» St. Andrew is
the patron saint of the Spanish Armed Forces (Even to this day.)
The White and Red flaming cross represents the colors of «El
Tercio de Nueva España». This regiment became the 29th
local infantry regiment that saw action in the British invasion
of Puerto Rico in 1798, The Spanish-French war of 1809, The war
of 1812 in Louisiana under the command of Bernardo de Galves and
the Spanish-American War of 1898, where the regiment was
disbanded after the conflict ended in favor of the U.S. The Flag
is still flown at San Felipe del Morro Castle in San Juan as a
tribute to this regiment.
Marcos Rodri’guez , 1 October 1999

The basic pattern of a «saltire raguly couped
Gules», or plainly speaking a red saltire resembling two
crossed, roughly-pruned branches, on a usually white field (but
also blue, purpure etc. ), was the Spanish military flag from the
15th century up to 1843, when the red-2 yellow-red ensign was
adopted for use on land too. The saltire was originally a
Burgundian emblem, first introduced in Spain as the personal
badge of Phillip the Handsome, Duke of Burgundy and King Consort
of Castile and Aragon, married to Joan of Castile and Aragon
(daughter of the Catholic Kings Ferdinand and Elizabeth), the
parents of Charles I (Charles V as German Emperor). As such, the
emblem has been called in Spain «cross [or, more properly,
saltire] of Burgundy», even if the term «cross/saltire
of St. Andrew» has also been used. To say that the flag is
that of the Spanish armed forces «because» its patron
saint is Saint Andrew, is a post-facto explanation with not much
vexillological background. Spanish infantry did fly it, as also
did cavalry, artillery, engineers, etc. It was first used not by
regular infantry but by the equivalent to the present Spanish
[Foreign] Legion, the «Tercios», volunteer
expeditionary troops including infantry and cavalry. From the
1930s up to recently there has been scarce use of the Burgundy
Cross by infantry units in flags, uniforms etc., whereas it is
displayed in all Spanish Air Force planes (that is what the
stylized saltire fin marking stands for!). On the other hand, it
is a mistaken explanation, since the patron saint of the Spanish
Infantry is not St. Andrew but Our Lady’s Immaculate Conception!
Actually none of the Spanish Armed Forces’ branches-of-service
have St. Andrew as its patron… The Burgundy Cross is
nevertheless related to St. Andrew indeed, not through the
patronage of a Spanish army branch, but through its Burgundian
origin — St. Andrew being the patron saint of the Duchy of
Santiago Dotor, 6 October 1999

The white flag with the red cross flown in the forts in P.R.
is in fact «La Cruz de Borgoña» or Burgundy Cross also
known as «La Cruz de San Andrés» or St. Andrews Cross.
The «brick» pattern is due to the cross having knobs.
It has been a historical battle standard in Spain for ages.
Jorge D. Gonzalez, 13 October 1999

Flags having this cross with many minor variations were the
most common symbol for Burgundy  in the late middle ages,
sometimes with a white field and sometimes with any of a wide
variety of colored and multicolored fields. It also appears, less
frequently, with a white cross on a red field. With the union of
the Burgundian and Spanish crowns under Phillip the Fair, it
became (again with many variations) a flag of the Spanish
Netherlands (present-day Belgium) and of the Spanish crown and
military forces. I have seen flags in old flag charts as
«Ostend» and «Biscay» and a wide variety of
them are illustrated in Perez and Gonzales, Banderas de España,
1983. with dates as early as 1520 and as late as 1931, frequently
as unit flags which then usually have a badge or name of the unit
as well).
Norman Martin, 27 January 2000

Over the summer, I visited Puerto Rico. At El Morro, I noticed
an unusual flag flying over
the fort and asked a Park Ranger about it. He said it was the
Spanish military flag that flew over the fort in the 16th and
17th centuries.  I bought a little 4×6 inch version of the
flag for my office. The flag you currently have on your webpage
for the «Burgundy Cross» is similar but not quite
right.  The color is darker and it’s not really the right
shape. Here is my little flag. 
Chris Gleason, 28 January 2000

I figure that, from afar, perhaps on a picture, the cross
might look like the arrangement with «bricks» which
seems to pose as the Burgundy cross. Actually, I saw something
like that on a TV special.
Guillermo Tell, 31 January 2000

This «brick arrangement» must certainly be an
optical effect. Many variants of the Burgundy cross existed, but
all the variations consisted in either (a) the saltire being
‘throughout’ or ‘couped’ i. e. reaching or not the borders, (b)
the total number of ‘stumps’ on each of the saltire’s arms
(including no ‘stumps’ at all), (c) the number of ‘stumps’ being
identical or not on each side of the saltire’s arms, (d) the
‘stumps’ ending with a cut parallel to the saltire’s arm or with
a right-angle cut, (e) the ‘stumps’ being of the same width as
the saltire’s arms or thinner, (f) the colours of the saltire and
the field (mostly red on white, but also red on yellow, white on
blue, red on purple etc.) or (g) the saltire being represented as
a heraldic ‘saltire raguly’ or more realistically like two
branches, sometimes even joined with a ribbon.
Santiago Dotor, 31 January 2000

The Cross of Burgundy or St. Andrew Flag also flies in the Castillo
San Cristo’bal
, or St. Christopher Fortress, in Old San Juan.
This is a bigger but less known complex than El Morro, built by
the Spaniards. It isn’t in its original state. Both fortresses
are administered by the U.S. National Parks Service. The flag has
the same 2:3 dimension as the PR National Flag.
Blas Delgado Ortiz, 4 March 2000

Those of us above a certain age recall that the fort’s colors
*used* to have the saltire «couped» i.e. not stretching
all the way to the corners, and «ragouly» i.e.
irregular. As time went, the saltire became more and more
stylized so that as of the late 1990s the pattern is
the one at the top of the page, though historicaly it would be
Jose Diaz, 29 September 2000

image taken by Ben Cahoon, 25 August 2011

At Fort San Cristobal in San Juan, Puerto Rico I saw the National Park
Service was flying the pre-1701 flag of the Spanish monarchy with the Burgundian
cross. I thought this was very interesting as it is being flown on the forts
walls along with the U.S. flag and the flag of Puerto Rico (attached image taken
by me).   
Ben Cahoon, 25 August 2011

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Flag of Latvia — colors, origin, what it means

Flag of Latvia

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The flag of the Republic of Latvia has a rectangular shape, on which two colors are placed horizontally, alternately: wide stripes of burgundy-red, located at the edges and narrow white, located in the center.

Dark red means the blood shed by the fighters of the national liberation movement, and white, as a symbol of hope for a bright and cloudless future.


The history of the Latvian flag dates back to 1279. In the German chronicle of those times, it is mentioned about the militias from the Wenden Castle (modern Zeiss), who went on another campaign. With them they carried a cloth with burgundy and white colors. The path of this symbol, one might say, is difficult and a little tragic, because it was constantly subjected to prohibitions and persecution. nine0005

For the first time, in our time, the flag was raised by soldiers of the reserve regiment in the city of Rezekne, at the Congress for Freedom and Independence. This event dates back to 1917. Since then, its popularity has only begun to grow, and at each new rallies that arise, a flag of this color was an obligatory attribute, symbolizing struggle and rebelliousness.

Approval as the flag of the Republic of Latvia takes place in November 1918, but the law is adopted only on January 1923, so the last date is considered to be the official date.


True, this did not last long, until, in 1940, Latvia became part of the Soviet Union, together with Lithuania and Estonia. Since that time, the flag has been officially banned and withdrawn from use. Any attempt to use it, like similar colors, is equated with high treason, according to the criminal code. Throughout the territory, the ensign of the USSR, as well as its symbols, becomes official. This went on for nearly fifty years. nine0005

Flag of the Latvian SSR (1953-1990)

In 1988, everything changes dramatically. The supreme body of the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic adopted a decree on cultural and historical symbols, according to which burgundy and white colors are recognized as national for the Latvian people. It is allowed to use posters, banners of this coloring.

In 1990, the leadership of the republic voted for the law on the flag, as a result of which the red-and-white banner again acquires official status. nine0005

In 1991, after the declaration of independence and to the present, no changes have occurred and, historically, the symbol remains official and state.

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9000 LV (LVA) 9000 LV (LVA) 9000 LV (LVA) Phone code



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The history of the national flag of Latvia can be told in a few sentences. The small Baltic state declared its independence twice in the 20th century. For centuries, the territory was occupied by other states interested in its geographical position. National self-consciousness began to take shape in the middle of the 19th century. The knightly legend became the basis for determining the shape and type of the flag.


What the flag of Latvia looks like

The state symbol of Latvia in the version that is currently known was approved in 1923 year.


The Latvian flag is a rectangular cloth, the sides of which (length to width) are related as 2 to 1. The cloth is divided into 3 horizontal stripes: dark red — white — dark red. The white stripe is 2 times narrower than the red horizontal.


There are no other attributes besides the stripes on the flag of Latvia.

Meaning of the colors

The tint of the red stripes has been chosen to distinguish them from other state flags where red is present. The dark red symbolizes the blood shed by Latvians for independence since the 20th century. The white horizontal means that the people hope for a bright future, which is associated with justice, a high standard of living, and civil liberties. nine0005

History of appearance

The origin of the symbolism dates back to the 13th century. In an internecine war between feudal lords, one of the detachments used a cloak as a banner, on which a seriously wounded knight was carried from the battlefield. The blood oozing from his wounds wet the edges of his snow-white cloak. The commander died from his wounds. His squires raised their bloodied cloak like a banner and charged. The enemy was defeated.

This story was told in 1870, when students of Dorpat (modern Tartu) in search of a national identity found a description of the battle in a German chronicle dating back to 1279year. The participants of the literary evenings decided to make the red and white combination a symbol of their nationalist organization. At the 1st Latvian Song Festival in 1873, these colors were used to decorate the stage.

The first tricolor red and white flag was made in 1916 by Janis Lapiņš in the city of Valmiera (80 km from Riga). After February 1917, a similar flag began to be used at rallies. Shades of color, dimensions of the cloth and horizontal lines were arbitrary. At 19In 17, a competition was announced among artists and art critics for national symbols. The works where the color ratios were 1:1:1 and 2:1:2 were recognized as the best, but the shade was not determined.

In November 1918, the Republic of Latvia was proclaimed, with the state red and white flag. The Flag Act was passed in June 1921; it approved the parameters of the panel, but did not indicate the color characteristics. The final decision on the design of national symbols was formulated in January 1923. nine0005

In 1940, with the transformation of the Republic of Latvia into the Latvian SSR, the state flag took on a different form. The public display of the red and white flag was banned. The ban was lifted in 1988, after the recognition of this combination of colors as national Latvian symbols. In 1990, the status of the state flag was returned to the historical form of the flag, which it still is today.

Interesting facts

The territory of modern Latvia was under the control of other states for 8 centuries. In the XII century, the knights of the Livonian Order came here to spread Christianity among the pagans. Following them, the Germans began to settle on these lands, becoming an elite layer of society: the clergy and the nobility. Local peasants were often hired into squads of knights as squires and archers. This part of Latvia under the control of the knights was called Livonia. nine0005

In the 16th century, a split occurred in the Catholic Church. Protestants, led by Martin Luther, attacked the actions of the Catholic clergy. The Livonian Order, which was based on the Germans, collapsed due to religious differences that arose between Catholic Germans and Protestant Germans. The Polish clergy, supported by the nobility, declared themselves a bastion of Catholicism. The Swedish king took the side of the Lutherans.

The Polish-Swedish religious confrontation reached its highest point in a war that lasted for 9years (1600-1609). As a result, the main territory of modern Latvia was divided between the Commonwealth and Sweden. Russia intervened in the territorial dispute, which needed access to the Baltic Sea. In 1710, she received the Polish part of the Latvian land, in 1721 — the Swedish part. The territory of modern Latvia finally became part of the Russian Empire in 1795.

Accession to the Russian Empire took place not only after hostilities, but also after the local rulers sold their possessions together with the population: in 1721, Swedish Livonia — to Peter I; in 1772 Courland — Catherine II. The local elite continued to be Prussian (Ostsee) Germans. The fragmentation of the Latvian people before the 18th century was reflected in the paucity of historical information about their past. nine0005

In the second half of the 19th century, a national elite began to form, called the “Young Latvians”. The First World War and revolutions in Russia played a decisive role in the formation of an independent Latvian state. In the event of a German victory, Latvia would have remained in its composition, since it was occupied in 1918. With the victory of the Entente, she would retain her status in the Russian Empire. The collapse of the empire as a result of the events of 1917 and the civil war led to the proclamation in 1918th year of independence of Latvia.

In October 2009, the Law was adopted, which stipulated the parameters of the national symbol, as well as its use on holidays and memorable dates. The list includes 9 dates, of which 4 are holidays (May 1 and 4, November 11 and 18), 5 are mourning (March 25, June 14 and 17, July 4, the first Sunday of December).

From 1940 to 1991 Latvia was a republic within the USSR. On September 6, 1991, the Soviet Union recognized the independence of Latvia. After 11 days, she became a member of the UN. nine0005

During the Second World War, the red and white flag was used by SS battalions formed from Latvian volunteers.

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the declaration of independence, on November 18, 2018, a flag was raised over the Riga TV tower, the size of which was 20×10 meters.

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