Last month, we took you through the wonderful history behind the colourful flag of Zimbabwe. Today, we’re back with another interesting story about the colourful flag of Mexico, why it features the colours red, white, green and what the image in the centre stands for! Read on to know all about it…
700 years ago, in the year 1325, the Aztecs lived in the arid desert in what is now northern Mexico. They were in search of a suitable place to build their new city. According to legend, the Aztec god, Huizilopochtli, told the Aztecs to build their city where they could find an eagle carrying a snake that would land on a nopal cactus.
As per the ancient prophecy, the Aztecs found an eagle with a snake in its beak on a cactus in a large, swampy area. It is this scene that the Aztecs first saw, which is now duly depicted in the centre of the Mexican flag, and it is officially known as the Mexican Coat of Arms.
Despite the challenging conditions, they built their city named Tenochtitlan on a small swampy island in Lake Texcoc within the Anáhuac or Valley of Mexico. The only tricky bit with building a city there was that there was not much dry land, which is why the Aztecs had to create balsas.
Balsas were basically rafts made of reeds and soil where the Aztecs could live and grow their food. Gradually, they used and diverted the water, making more and more ‘land’ to live on. Eventually, this area became the city of Mexico.
Since 1821, the main design of the flag has been used with three colours, each with a meaning attached to it. The colour green stands for independence, white stands for religion and red stands for the union of Europe and the Americas. This is known as the ‘Sierra’. This name was given to it by the Indians of the sierra of Veracruz and Puebla.
When the then President Benito Juarez, who was in power from the year 1858 to 1872, separated the church and the state, the meanings of the colours were changed to represent the following:
Green stood for hope
White stood for unity
Red stood for the blood shed by the nation’s heroes
Today, the Mexican flag is easy to recognize once you are aware of the legendary story behind its symbols. The next time you see a Mexican flag, you are bound to remember the story of the eagle, the snake, and the cactus.
Here’s hoping you got a glimpse into the interesting culture and history of Mexico through their flag.