National Symbols


The inspiration for the design of the flag of the Republic of Ecuador was the pioneer of the well-known South American Independence, General Francisco de Miranda.  The same design was later adopted by the Republics of Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela.  These three countries formed the confederation from 1822 until 1930, when each was converted into an independent nation.  The flag continues to be the same for all three sovereign states, with only small differences distinguishing one from the other.

The flag of Ecuador has three horizontal stripes; from the bottom to the top, the colours are red, blue and yellow.  The yellow stripe is two times wider than the red and blue stripes.  The symbolism of the colours is the following:  the red represents the blood shed by the soldiers and martyrs of the battles of Independence.  The blue represents the colour of the ocean and the sky.  The yellow symbolizes the abundance and fertility of the harvests and the land.

Coat of Arms

It was then President of Ecuador, Eloy Alfaro Delgado, who formalized the elements that, until today, distinguish the State of the Republic of Ecuador, which are represented in the Coat of Arms:

  • Condor: With outspread wings, lifted into flight position, it is a symbol of energy and effort.
  • Laurel: Represents the nation’s glory.
  • Oval: Its contour is double edged, colour brown, with the same colour joints, both above and below.
  • Golden Sun: Signifies gold, important for the first settlers, which is found in the middle, with the signs of the zodiac.
  • Signs of the Zodiac: To the left, Gemini and Cancer, to the right, Aries and Taurus, which represent March, April, May and June, months during which important events took place that reaffirmed the Ecuadorian nationality.
  • Chimborazo:  The highest volcano, its perpetual snow the source of the Guayas River.
  • National flags: There are four, two on each side, front and rear, which coalesce under consular fasces.
  • Palma: Represents the peace of the nation.
  • Ribbon: Silk.
  • Flagpoles: There are four and they crown each of the flags, which are inclined, with diamond, metal tips.
  • Caduceus: Crowned by two wings and surrounded by two snakes, attribute of Mercury, it is a symbol of navigation and commerce.
  • River Guayas: Gradually widens to fill the bottom of the oval. On the sides, there are lush green shores, an expression of national agriculture.
  • Steam ship Guayas: In 1841, it was the first built in South America, in the shipyards of Guayaquil.  The ship is a caduceus mast. The colours of the ship and its flag located in the bow are those of the national flag.
  • Consular Fasces: Insignia of the Consuls of Rome, a symbol of authority and dignity.
  • Axe: Large axe that formed part of one of the fasces of the Roman lictors (special class of civil servant).

National Anthem

The current national anthem of Ecuador, whose authors were the poet Juan León Mera Martínez (1832-1894) from Ambato and the musician of French origin Antonio Neumane Marno (1818-1871), was reformed a few times before reaching its final assessment and intangibility.  It is also important to remember that there were other attempts to provide the country with a national anthem. For this reason, the people that appeared throughout the interesting history of our national symbol should be mentioned. 

1830-1832: The Guayaquil-born singer Jose Joaquin de Olmedo writes a national anthem (a chorus and four stanzas) in honour of the nascent State of Ecuador. This creation, suggested by General Juan José Flores, was not achieved nor translated into music.

1833: A hymn by the name of Ecuadorian Song (six stanzas) was published in the Gazette of the Government of Ecuador No. 125 of 28 December.  The paper refers to 1830 as the year of its creation, but most historians do not pay full attention to this, as it was written by an anonymous author.

1838: A national anthem (chorus and five stanzas) is included in the collection of General Flores’ poetry, published by the Government Printing Office, on his retirement from Elvira. In a later edition, there are changes to the third stanza. Still, for historians, it is the second known national anthem.

1865: The Argentine musician Juan José Allende, working with the Army of Ecuador, presents a draft of the musical version of Dr. José Joaquín de Olmedo’s lyrics to Congress, which was not widely accepted.  In November, at the express request of the Senate President, Dr. Nicholas Espinosa, the then Senate Secretary, poet Juan León Mera Martínez, writes and delivers the national anthem, which was sent to Guayaquil in order for the master Antonio Neumane to write its musical accompaniment after being presented to Congress.

1866: On 16 January, the full version of Juan Leon Mera’s lyrics is published in Quito’s weekly newspaper “The South American”.

1913: The writer and diplomat from Guayaquil, Victor Manuel Rendon, delivers a new anthem with lyrics adapted to the music of Antonio Neumane; however, eventually the Legislature rejected the proposal.

1947-1948: Dr. José Miguel García Moreno, Minister of Education of the Carlos Julio Arosemena Tola Government, commissions the Jesuit priest Aurelio Espinosa Pólit and Juan León Mera Iturralde, son of the singer from Tunguragua, to study and collate the known versions. After careful study, commissioners finally recommend the issuance of a decree declaring that Ecuador’s national anthem be based upon the lyrics of Juan León Mera Martínez.

1948: On 29 September, the National Congress declares Juan León Mera Martínez’ verses as those of the official anthem. The Executive, then President Galo Plaza Lasso, enacted the Legislative Decree on 8 November and the lyrics were published in the Official Registry No. 68 from 23 November.

1965: Upon completion of the national anthem’s first centenary, the military junta that ruled the country proceeds to declare 26 November as the National Anthem Day of Ecuador. The decree was issued on 24 November.

1977: The Supreme Council of Government, by the decree of 11 March, provides for the deletion of certain repetitions in the national anthem, in order to make it shorter and easier for the general public to sing correctly.

From the 52 verses that make up the chorus and six stanzas, the parts of the anthem that are usually sung:

¡Salve, oh Patria, mil veces! ¡Oh Patria,
gloria a ti! Ya tu pecho rebosa
gozo y paz, y tu frente radiosa
más que el sol contemplamos lucir.

Los primeros los hijos del suelo
que, soberbio, el Pichincha decora
te aclamaron por siempre señora
y vertieron su sangre por ti.
Dios miró y aceptó el holocausto,
y esa sangre fue germen fecundo
de otros héroes que atónito el mundo
vio en tu torno a millares surgir.


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