The Costa Rica Flag was designed in 1848 by the First Lady, Pacifica Fernandez. She was just 18 when her husband, President Jose Maria Castro Madriz (1847-1848) took office. The flag’s red, white, and blue design was influenced by the French National Flag and the French Revolution. Fernandez was quoted saying, “France received civilization from the south with perfectly vertical rays, and so the stripes in their flag reflect this. In Costa Rica this does not happen and thus the stripes are horizontal, as the rays get to us.”
Fernandez’s design was not recognized as the official flag until November 27th, 1906. The design has undergone two slight modifications since its adoption, once in 1964 and again in 1998. Originally, the coat of arms was right in the center of the flag, but was repositioned in both updates to the flag. Now, the ensign sits left of center in a white oval. The official Costa Rica Flag is represented with the coat of arms; however, the civil ensign is often used as an unofficial flag, which is identical to the national flag, minus the coat of arms.
Each color of the flag represents significant aspects of Costa Rica: “Blue means the sky, opportunities at reach, intellectual thinking, perseverance to accomplish a goal, infinite, eternity, and ideals of the religious and spiritual desires. White means clear thinking, happiness, wisdom, power and beauty of the sky, the driving force of initiatives to search for new endeavors, and the peace of Costa Rica. Red means the warmth of Costa Rican people, their love to live, their blood shed for freedom, and their generous attitude.”
The Costa Rica Flag is similar to the flag of North Korea and Thailand; however, both were adopted long after Costa Rica made the beautiful blue, white, and red flag their own.