Flag of the Second Spanish Republic

The flag of the Second Spanish Republic, known in Spanish as la tricolor,[1] was the official flag of Spain between 1931 and 1939 and the flag of the Spanish Republican government in exile until 1977.

Second Spanish Republic
Flag of Spain (1931%E2%80%931939)
Adopted27 April 1931
Flag of the Second Spanish Republic (plain)
Variant flag of Second Spanish Republic
NameBandera de la marina mercante (Civil Ensign)
Flag of the Second Spanish Republic (military)
Variant flag of Second Spanish Republic
NameBandera militar (Military Flag)


The Spanish republican flag began to be used on April 27, 1931, thirteen days after municipal elections results led to the abolition of the monarchy and the proclamation of the Second Spanish Republic.

This same flag had been previously displayed by certain Republican groups as an alternative to the red-and-yellow flag that was identified with the Bourbon monarchy in Spain. As a result of this previous use, the young republic proclaimed in 1931 eagerly adopted this symbol.[2]

The Republican flag was adopted on April 27 and presented to the army of the nation on May 6 with the following words:[3] "The national uprising against tyranny, victorious since April 14, has hoisted a flag that is invested by means of the feelings of the people with the double representation of the hope of freedom and of its irreversible triumph."

El alzamiento nacional contra la tiranía, victorioso desde el 14 de abril, ha enarbolado una enseña investida por el sentir del pueblo con la doble representación de una esperanza de libertad y de su triunfo irrevocable.

The Republican flag was formed by three horizontal bands of the same width, red, yellow, and murrey (mulberry-coloured). The National Flag would have the Spanish Republican coat of arms at the centre (quarterly of Castile, Leon, Aragon and Navarre, enté en point for Granada, ensigned by a mural crown, between the two Pillars of Hercules). This coat of arms originated in 1868 and had been used then by the Provisional Government and later by the First Spanish Republic. The civil ensign or merchant flag would be a simple tricolour without the coat of arms.

The term "la tricolor" to refer to the flag is reminiscent of the French tricolor which, since the French Revolution of the late 18th Century, has made a flag composed of three equal strips into the symbol of a Republic. However, having horizontal strips rather than vertical ones, as in the French flag, made it possible to preserve many elements of the previous Spanish flag, used during centuries of Monarchial rule.

During the Civil War there was also a military version of the flag with proportion 2:3 and without the coat of arms used by Republican Army units in different locations. Despite not displaying the arms, this plain flag did not correspond to the civil ensign approved in 1931 for the use of merchant ships.[4] The International Brigades added a three-pointed red star to the yellow band of the military Republican flag.[5]

The simplified military flag of the Second Spanish Republic was also used by the Spanish Maquis between the end of the Spanish Civil War and the early 1960s, and later by the Spanish National Liberation Front (FELN). Versions of this flag were used in the 1970s by the radical anti-Francoist groups Revolutionary Antifascist Patriotic Front (FRAP) and First of October Anti-Fascist Resistance Groups (GRAPO).

The Republican flag is now widely used by trade unions[6] and left-wing political organizations, such as United Left,[7] the Marxist-Leninist Party (RC) and some factions of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party. It is also used by republican platforms.[8][9]


Leon Arms
Arms of the Kingdom of León
Flag of Castile (purple)
Pendón Morado, also later used and denominated as the "Flag of the Comuneros"

The Spanish Republican Flag has 3 colours: red, yellow, and purple.[10]

The third colour, purple (Spanish: morado), represents Castile and León by recalling the Pendón Morado, the ancient armorial banner of Castile. The colours of red and yellow symbolize the territories of the former Crown of Aragon.[11] These 3 colours symbolized a new era for Spain in which no part thereof was excluded and all Spaniards were represented.[2]


Morado, which is a generic word denoting the colour purple or violet, was previously a familiar colour in Spain because it is one of the Catholic liturgical colours that is displayed on liturgical vestments, altar cloths, and other ecclesiastical textile furnishings to signify certain seasons of the Catholic liturigical year, and, being a historically Catholic nation, this colour had annual and public use throughout Spain. Also, it was used in antiquity as the heraldic colour of the Kingdom of Castile. The coat of arms of the Kingdom of León bore a purple lion rampant and the flag reputed to have been used in the Revolt of the Comuneros displayed a yellow castle on a purple background. Morado, however, was and is prone to variations in hue and fading from time and use, which often resulted in "morado" denoting a range of hues of purple, which presently are considered distinct colours/hues, e. g. crimson or maroon. Because it is rarely present on flags, in practice the morado of the lowest band of the Flag was coloured violet, purple (purpure), or even lilac, contingent on available materials and dyes.[12]


Spanish monarchists resented the morado of the new tricolored flag and a famous soleá was composed when the Flag began to be used. These verses also indirectly expressed dissatisfaction for the reforms of the new republican government:[13]

Me está jodiendo el morao,
que está junto al amarillo,
debajo del colorao.

I am bothered by the morado,
that is next to the yellow,
below the red.

Since the restoration of the monarchy in the last quarter of the 20th century, some authors contradict previous Spanish historians by contending that the Castilian Pendón Morado never existed or that it was actually coloured red.[14] The controversy is part of a predictable effort to discredit the Flag of the Second Spanish Republic by claiming that its colours are erroneous. However, historical documents prove that banners formerly used in Castile and Leon were coloured murrey.[15]

Until recently the official badge of the Real Madrid C.F. had a purple band based either on the Castilian or Spanish republican colours which was added after the proclamation of the Second Spanish Republic in 1931.[16][17] The colour of the band was changed from morado to navy blue in 2001 without sufficient explanation.[18]

Depictions, derivatives and variants

Cubierta constitucion1931

Cover of the Constitution of the Second Spanish Republic


Allegory of the Spanish Republic


Statue of Liberty Spanish stamp honoring the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution

Alegor%C3%ADa-Rep%C3%BAblica espa%C3%B1ola y francesa

Allegory of the Spanish Republic embracing Marianne, symbolizing the French Republic. 1931

American Medical Bureau armband

American Medical Bureau (AMB) armband

Tumba de Manuel Aza%C3%B1a

Grave of President Manuel Azaña (1880-1940) in Montauban, France

Bandera del GRAPO

PCE(r) and GRAPO flag

Reconstrucci%C3%B3n Comunista RC flag

PML (RC) flag

Civil use

Estandarte Presidencial MA

Presidential Standard of Manuel Azaña (1936-1939)

Ministerial Flag of the Spanish Republic

Ministerial Standard

Yacht Flag-Spanish Republic

Yacht ensign used on recreational boats or ships (1931-1939)

Military use

Flag of the 44 Division Spanish Popular Army

Flag of the 44th Division of the Spanish Popular Army

Flag of the International Brigades

The flag of the International Brigades

I-15 Polikarpov Tinker

Polikarpov I-15 of the Spanish Republican Air Force

Fin flash of the Aeron%C3%A1utica Naval

Fin flash of the Aeronáutica Naval, the naval aviation of the Spanish Republican Navy (1931-1936)

Flag of Viceadmiral of the Fleet Spanish Republic

Spanish Republican Navy. Ensign of the Viceadmiral of the Fleet

Captain at Sea Pennant Spanish Republican Navy - Squadron

Spanish Republican Navy. Captain at Sea Pennant

Senior Officer Pennant - Armada de la Rep%C3%BAblica Espa%C3%B1ola

Spanish Republican Navy. Senior Officer Pennant

Present-day use

77 aniversario 2 rep%C3%BAblica eibar3

Flag of the Second Spanish Republic in Eibar


Office of the Izquierda Republicana party in León

Manifestaci%C3%B3n III Rep%C3%BAblica

Pro-Republican demonstration; Madrid 2006

Manifestaci%C3%B3n en Oviedo

Spanish Republican flags in a demonstration in Oviedo, April 2009

Manifestaci%C3%B3n en Tenerife

Pro-Republican demonstration in Tenerife, Canary Islands, April 2007


Pro-Republican demonstration in Seville, April 2006


Monument to former Los Llanos de Aridane Republican major Francisco Rodríguez Betancourt. The flag on the left with its oversized coat of arms is a recent commercial version.

Madrid - Manifestaci%C3%B3n 19J - 110619 131356

Madrid 19 June 2011 demonstration


2012 demonstration in Las Palmas

Manifestaci%C3%B3n republicana en Sol (2 de junio de 2014)

Republican demonstration in the Puerta del Sol on the day that Juan Carlos I announced his decision to abdicate

Spanish Republican flag in Barcelona

Use as a symbol in Barcelona during the campaign for the 2017 Catalan independence referendum

See also


  1. ^ La Tricolor. Breve historia de la Bandera Republicana
  2. ^ a b La Tricolor. Breve historia de la Bandera Republicana
  3. ^ Decreto de 27 de abril de 1931 de Presidencia del Gobierno Provisional de la República.
  4. ^ Gaceta de Madrid, Decreto del 27 de abril de 1931 del gobierno provisional de la República, 28 April 1931
  5. ^ FOTW - Spanish Civil War 1936-1939
  6. ^ Workers' Commissions demonstration
  7. ^ United Left logo
  8. ^ Republican demonstration
  9. ^ demonstration
  10. ^ Decreto del 27 de abril de 1931 de la Presidencia del Gobierno Provisional de la República. "La bandera de la República española es roja, amarilla y morada...".
  11. ^ Poster - Allegory of the Spanish Republic.
  12. ^ Versions of the colours of the Flag of the Second Spanish Republic.
  13. ^ ABC - La república.
  14. ^ Pendón Real de Castilla. Principios del siglo XVI.
  15. ^ Ministerio de Defensa - Isabel II (1833-1868).
  16. ^ Los coloures «republicanos» del Real Madrid - ABC.es.
  17. ^ La Franja Morada.
  18. ^ El Real Madrid debe recuperar la franja morada en su escudo.
  19. ^ Spanish Medical Aid Committee

External links

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