Cuba heraldry

The National Flag

The flag of Cuba was adopted on May 20, 1902, containing a field with five blue and white stripes, and a red triangle at the hoist with a white 5-pointed star. The flag was designed in 1848 for the liberation movement, which sought to detach Cuba from Spain and make it into a state of the US. "La Estrella", the Lone Star, represented another star that would be added to "the splendid North American constellation." The triangle is derived from the Masonic symbol for equality, while the 5 stripes stand for the 5 provinces of the time. The flag was briefly hoisted in 1850 at Cardenas but was not officially adopted until 1902, when independence was granted by the US. Ironically, the flag's design is based on the US Stars and Stripes.

Birth of the flag
The Cuban flag was created by Narciso López in 1849, and put together by Emilia Teurbe Tolón. The Cuban flag's origins date from 1849, when various movements to liberate Cuba from Spanish rule emerged, mainly among Cuban exiles in the United States. Anti-Spanish Cuban exiles under the leadership of Narciso López adopted a flag suggested by the poet Miguel Teurbe Tolón. His design incorporates three blue stripes, representing the sea that surrounds the island of Cuba, and two white stripes symbolizing the purity of the patriotic cause. The red triangle stands for the blood shed to free the nation, which is placed where the star is, symbolizing the sky turned red from the blood shed in battle. The white star in the triangle stands for independence. López carried this flag in battle at Cárdenas (1850) and Playitas (1851). Although Lopez was not victorious, this was the first instance of the flag being raised in Cuba.
At the first independence war there was another flag in use, the "flag of Yara" also called "flag of La Demajagua"; while the one with the triangle and the stripes became the official Cuban flag, the Yara one is hoisted "wherever the legislators of the Cuban people meet"; in particular it is displayed, along with the national flag, on the National Assembly.

Subsequent use of the flag
In April 1869, Narciso Lopez's flag was designated the national banner by the Congress of the Republic of Cuba in Arms. After the United States seized Cuba from Spain during the Spanish-American War, the Stars and Stripes flew from January 1, 1899, until independence was granted. On May 20, 1902, the Cuban national flag was hoisted as a symbol of independence and sovereignty. It has been used ever since, remaining unchanged after the Cuban Revolution of 1959. During the revolution, Cuban president Fidel Castro's 26th of July Movement created a party flag equally divided in red and black, usually in horizontal stripes and often with inscriptions, which is often flown on public buildings.

Cuban Flag Meaning
The Cuban government's official version of the meaning of the Cuban flag states that - the blue stripes refer to the three old divisions of the island; and the two white stripes represent the strength of the independent ideal. The red triangle symbolizes equality, fraternity and freedom, as well as the blood shed in the island's struggle for independence. Finally, the white star symbolizes the absolute freedom among the Cuban people.

The National Arms

The National coat of arms represents our island. It is shaped like a pointed leather shield, and divided into three sections. In its horizontal upper part, there is a golden key between two mountains, and a sun rising over the sea - which symbolises the position of Cuba in the Gulf, between the two Americas, amidst the emergence of a new state. The blue and white stripes, down the left hand side, represent the situation of the island, in terms of its division into states, in the colonial period. Down the right hand side, a Cuban country scene is dominated by a royal palm tree - the symbol of the unbreakable character of the Cuban people.