A History of the Flags of Mexico

Flags and Banners of the Colonial Period

Cross of Burgundy Flag

The Cross of Burgandy was used by the Spanish military and navy, it would have been carried by the conquistadors.

The Spanish War and Merchant Ensign

In 1785, Spanish National Ensign (below right), was used as a naval ensign and for coastal fortifications.

War of Independence Period

The Standard of Hidalgo

The Hidalgo Banner (right) was used by Father Hidalgo's forces in 1810 at the beginning of the War for Independence. In 1811 Father Hidalgo was captured and executed by firing squad.

Flag of José María Morelosi in 1812

The leadership of the war fell to a Roman Catholic priest, José María Morelos, who quickly proved himself as a leader. The Congress of Chilpancingo in 1813 appointed Morelos as leader, declared Mexican independence, abolished slavery and much much more.

Mexico's National Flags

Flag of the Three Guarantees

The Flag of the Three Guarantees is considered by some to be Mexico's first flag, it was used in 1821.

First Flag of the Mexican Empire

First Flag of the Mexican Empire was used in 1821.

Second Flag of the Mexican Empire, 1821-1823.

Second flag of the Mexican Empire, 1821-1823.

Flag of the Mexican Empire, 1823-1864, 1867-1893.

Flag of Mexico from 1823-1864, 1867-1893.

Flag of the Second Mexican Empire, 1864-67.

Flag of the Second Mexican Empire, 1864-1867.

Flag of Mexico, 1893-1916.

Flag of Mexico, 1893-1916.

Flag of Mexico, 1916-1934.

Flag of Mexico, 1916-1934.

Flag of Mexico, 1934-1968.

Flag of Mexico, 1934-1968.

Current Flag of Mexico.

Current Flag of Mexico.

Federal Republic of Central America

Flag of the Federal Republic of Central America

Captaincy General of Guatemala or Capitanía General de Guatemala, composed of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and parts of modern day Chiapas declared its independence from Spain Sept. 1, 1821 and was known as the United Provinces of Central America. On January 5, 1822 it was annexed by the (First) Mexican Empire.

In 1823, Agustín de Iturbide's Mexican Empire was overthrown and replaced with a republic. Mexico acknowledged Central America's right to chose its own future and on the first of July the Federal Republic of Central America was born.

Flag of Los Altos

Los Altos separated from the state of Guatemala in June 1838 and became the sixth state of Federal Republic of Central America just as the country was dissolving. Los Altos became independent in 1838. In January 1840, Guatemala invaded Los Altos and annexed it into Guatemala. Los Altos would declare its independence a few more times in the 1840's, only to be restored to Guatemala by force.

Flag of Guatamala

In 1842, taking advantage of the disestability of Los Altos and Guatemala, Mexican President Antonio López de Santa Anna sent troops into the coastal area of Los Altos called Soconusco and annexed it. In an 1882 treaty, Mexico and Guatemala formalized the border.

Republic of Yucatán

Republic of Yucatán Flag

The Republic of Yucatán (1841–1848) consisted of the Mexican states of Yucatán, Campeche and Quintana Roo. During its short period of independence the Republic fought a war with Mexico, was blockaded and the capital occupied by the United States navy and suffered a civil war with its indigenous population. The Republic of Yucatán reunited with Mexico in 1848.

Civil War and Annexation Flags

Mexico has had many civil wars and wars where various areas wanted independence or autonomy. Some have used flags and some not.

Burnet Flag

The state of Coahuila y Tejas had been restive for years, when in 1835 the Texas Revolution began and in 1836 Texas declared its independence. Texas was annexed into the United States in 1845. The first flag of Texas was the Burnet Flag which was used from 1836–1839.

Flag of Texas

The flag was changed in 1839 and it remained the state flag after Texas was annexed into the United States in 1845.

Republic of Baja California Flag

In 1853 William Walker and 45 men set out to conquer Baja California and Sonora. He captured La Paz and declared it as capital of a Republic of Baja California with him as president.

Republic of Sonora Flag

Walker merged the Republic of Baja California into The Republic of Sonora, although Walker did not control Sonora. By May of 1854, Mexico was in control of Sonora and Baja California and Walker and his men had returned to the U.S.

Civil War Flags

Cristos Flag.

In 1926, President Calles began to enforce the anticlerical articles of the Mexican Constitution of 1917 which sought to eliminate the power of the Catholic Church. This triggered a massive revolt in the countryside. Thus began the Cristero War which lasted from 1926 thru the 30's. By the time the fighting stopped, Mexico had only 334 priests. As much as 5% of Mexico's population had fled to the United States.


In 1994, the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional or EZLN or popularily known as the Zapatistas, began an uprising against the government of Mexico. After the uprising failed, the Zapatistas have focused on autonomy for indigenous communities in the state of Chiapas and improving the lives of the people within their area of control.

EPR Flag.

The Ejército Popular Revolucionario or The Popular Revolutionary Army became active in 1996 and was active southern Mexico.

Famous Historical Flags

Battalion San Blas Flag

During the Mexican-American war, the San Blas Battalion was to help in the defense of Military Academy in the Chapultepec Castle. Few were to survive. Lt. Col. Xicoténcatl, severely wounded, rather than surrender, wrapped himself in the Battalion Flag and died with his men. The National Museum of History located in Chapultepec Castle, displays this flag to this day.

Footnotes and Notes

  1. Historical Flags of Mexico. North American Vexillological Association. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  2. List of Mexican Flags. Wikipedia. Retrieved 25 August 2014.