The Spanish flag is defined by the Spanish Constitution as consisting of three horizontal stripes: one large yellow stripe in between two smaller red ones. In days gone by, the yellow stripe was referred to as a gualda, and today many Spaniards continue to call their flag a rojigualda, or “red-weld.” In Spanish, the Spanish flag is known as the Bandera de España.
The origin of the Spanish flag can be found in the country’s naval ensign of 1783, known to Spaniards as the Pabellón de la Marina de Guerra. The navel ensign was chosen by none other than Charles III, who ruled Spain as its king from 1759 to 1788. Charles selected the ensign from among 12 others, all of which were designed by a fellow named Antonio Valdés y Bazán. Over the next fifty years or so, the ensign could be seen flying proudly over coastal fortresses, marine barracks and other naval property belonging to the Spanish empire. It wasn’t until 1843, however, that Queen Isabella II would make it the official Spanish flag.
With the exception of the years 1931-1939, when the Second Spanish Republic governed the country, the color scheme of the Spanish flag remained unchanged. The only alteration made was the addition of the Spanish coat or arms, which is characterized by a shield, representing earlier Spanish kingdoms; a crown, representing Spain’s Constitutional monarchy; and two supporters, representing Spain’s geographical situation.
Other Spanish flags currently in use include the flags of the armed forces, the naval jack, the Royal Standard, those of the civil authorities, and flags for sport and leisure boats. There are also more than a few unofficial Spanish flags, including one with a large bull on it. This flag is often flown at sporting events, such as football (soccer) matches.