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article - the flag of spain

The Flag of Spain - the national one - is almost as colorful as the country itself, with its wonderful red-and-yellow horizontal triband.

Its sunny, yellow stripe rests in the middle - and it's twice as tall as each red band.

The height of the glorious flag is two-thirds its width.

You'll also see a simplified version of Spain s coat-of-arms pictured on the yellow band - towards the hoist side.

The Spanish coat-of-arms includes the royal seal - framed by the Pillars of Hercules - representing Gibraltar and Ceuta on either side of the eastern end of the Strait of Gibraltar.

The red banners display the motto in Latin PLUS ULTRA, which means "More Beyond" - alluding to Columbus famous discovery of the New World.

The two columns flank a shield that displays a castle, a lion wearing a crown, red-and-yellow vertical stripes, chain mail, and three fleurs-de-lis in an oval in the center.

An ornate red and golden crown sits atop the shield.

The Spanish Flag used in the country today was officially adopted on 19 December 1981.

Previous to this, there had been an eagle on it as well but - in 1981 - the eagle was removed, leaving the current red/yellow/red triband with crowned arms.

The red and golden-yellow colors of the Spanish Flag were first used as long ago as the late 1700s - by the King of Spain as he tried to easily differentiate his ships from those of other countries.

They were the original colors found within the coat-of-arms of both the Castile and Aragon regions of the country - those glorious regions first united by famous King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella.

A legend exists maintaining that the colors of the Spanish Flag are derived from the bullfight arena - the red respresenting the blood shed, and the yellow the sand of the arena.

However, this is just a legend and not based on historical facts.

The pledge to the Spanish flag is called the "Jura de Bandera", meaning "Oath of the Flag".

Spain is divided into 17 different regions or autonomous communities and each community also sports its own regional flag.

However, the red-and-yellow national flag of Spain is recognized by all Spanish regions.

So, now you know all about the Spanish Flag, do come on out here and watch one flapping in the warm, Spanish breeze!

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by Linda Plummer of Top Tour of Spain

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