Flag of Macha

Last updated
The Flag of Macha kept in Sucre, Bolivia Bandera de Macha Argentina.JPG
The Flag of Macha kept in Sucre, Bolivia

The flag of Macha is the name given to a pair of flags of Argentina found at a chapel in the hamlet of Titiri, near the village of Macha, north of Potosí, Bolivia. They are considered to be the first physical flags created by Manuel Belgrano, [1] who in November 1813 hid the standards to prevent them from falling into enemy hands. They were discovered in 1885. Bolivia kept one of those flags at Sucre; the other was given to Argentina in 1896 and is currently kept at the National Historical Museum. Tucumán Province has used it as provincial flag since 2010. The flag preserved in Argentina is a triband of blue, white and blue bands, like the modern flag of Argentina, but the one kept in Bolivia is a triband of white, blue and white.



The Flag of Argentina was created by Manuel Belgrano during the Argentine War of Independence. After concluding the Paraguay campaign, he moved to Rosario to build artilleries. While being in the village he noticed that both the royalist and patriotic forces were using the same colors, Spain's yellow and red. He requested to the First Triumvirate a new cockade, which was approved by a decree on February 18, 1812. The colours of this cockade were white and light blue. [2] Encouraged by this success, he created a flag of the same colours nine days later. The flag was first flown, for the soldiers to swear allegiance to it, on 27 February 1812, on the Batería Libertad (Liberty Battery), by the Paraná River. Although it is known that this first flag had white and light blue colours, the design is unknown by historians, and could be either a blue-white-blue triband, or white-blue-white. [3] Belgrano wrote a letter to the Triumvirate to inform it of the new flag, saying that "...being in need to raise a flag, and not having one, I made it to be done white and light blue according to the colours of the national cockade..."; [4] which did not detail the actual design. Still uninformed of this, the Triumvirate dispatched Belgrano to Salta, to reinforce the Army of the North. This gave room to another unclear detail: whenever Belgrano left the physical flag in Rosario, or took it with him to the North. [5]

Belgrano dispatched a letter addressed to the First Triumvirate, informing them of the newly created flag. However, unlike with the cockade, the Triumvirate did not accept the use of the flag: the international policy at the time was to state that the government was ruling on behalf of Ferdinand VII king of Spain captive of Napoleon, whereas the creation of a flag was a clear independentist act. Thus, the triumvirate sent a warning to Belgrano not to fight under the flag, but by the time the reply had arrived, Belgrano had moved to the north, following the previous orders that requested him to strengthen the patriotic position in the Upper Peru after the defeat of Juan José Castelli at the Battle of Huaqui. Still unaware about the Triumvirate's refusal, Belgrano raised the flag at San Salvador de Jujuy and had it blessed by the local church on the second anniversary of the May Revolution. Belgrano accepted the orders from the Triumvirate by time they arrived to Salta and ended using the flag. As soldiers had already made oaths to the new flag, Belgrano said that he was saving it for the circumstance of a great victory.

The priest Juan Ignacio Gorriti blessing the flag. Bendicion de la Bandera en Jujuy.jpg
The priest Juan Ignacio Gorriti blessing the flag.

The First Triumvirate was later replaced by the Second Triumvirate, with a more liberal ideology, who called the Asamblea del Año XIII. This assembly authorized to use the flag as a War flag, but not as a national one. The first oath to the newly approved flag was on February 13, 1813, next to the Salado River, which is also known since then as "Río Juramento" ("Oath River"). The first battle fought with the approved flag was the Battle of Salta, a decisive patriotic victory that achieved the complete defeat of royalist Pío Tristán. The army moved to the north, but was defeated at the battles of Vilcapugio and Ayohuma. After those defeats, the army retreated to the South. Fearing that the enemy armies got the flags, he left them to the care of the parish priest of Macha, which hid them behind a Saint Teresa of Avila's portrait in a chapel near the small hamlet of Titiri ( 18°57′20″S65°58′53.1″W / 18.95556°S 65.981417°W / -18.95556; -65.981417 ). Belgrano was summoned back to Buenos Aires, and sent to Europe in diplomatic mission, and the flags was considered to be lost.

The flags were discovered many decades later, in 1885. The new priest was cleaning and restoring the chapel, and found them. The flags were moved to the "Museum of the Independence" in Sucre, which kept one of the flags. The other was delivered to Argentina in 1896, after a request from Argentine ambassador to Bolivia Adolfo Carranza. This last one is kept at the National Historical Museum, which works in restoring it.


The National Historical Museum started to restore the Flag in 2007, making a study of it. [6] María Pía Tamborini and Patricia Lissa were in charge of the restoration.

The flag is made of silk, and only 70% of it remains. [7] It was kept under bad conditions over the years, and the silk used was not of high quality. [7] For this reason, the original colours could not be restored, which were indigo blue and ivory white.

The flag is kept inside a closed cabinet, at a room with low lights. It was made available to the view of the public in 2010, year of the Argentina Bicentennial.

See also


Related Research Articles

Manuel Belgrano

Manuel José Joaquín del Corazón de Jesús Belgrano y González, usually referred to as Manuel Belgrano, was an Argentine economist, lawyer, politician, journalist, and military leader. He took part in the Argentine Wars of Independence and created the Flag of Argentina. He is regarded as one of the main Libertadores of the country.

Flag of Argentina National flag

The flag of Argentina is a triband, composed of three equally wide horizontal bands coloured light blue and white. There are multiple interpretations on the reasons for those colors. The flag was created by Manuel Belgrano, in line with the creation of the Cockade of Argentina, and was first raised at the city of Rosario on February 27, 1812, during the Argentine War of Independence. The National Flag Memorial was later built on the site. The First Triumvirate did not approve the use of the flag, but the Asamblea del Año XIII allowed the use of the flag as a war flag. It was the Congress of Tucumán which finally designated it as the national flag, in 1816. A yellow Sun of May was added to the center in 1818, which according to anarchist Diego Abad de Santillán, the sun represents the Incan god of the sun Inti., but its true symbolism is a matter or debate between vexillologists.

Flag of Bolivia National flag

The flag of Bolivia is the national flag of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. It was originally adopted in 1851. The state and war flag is a horizontal tricolor of red, yellow and green with the Bolivian coat of arms in the center. According to one source, the red stands for Bolivia's brave soldiers, while the green symbolizes fertility and yellow the nation's mineral deposits. Along with the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Afghanistan, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Venezuela, and El Salvador it is one of eight national flags in the world which has a depiction of its flag within the flag itself. It is one of four national flags among UN member states that features a firearm, along with those of Mozambique, Haiti and Guatemala.

Coat of arms of Argentina Coat of arms

The coat of arms of the Argentine Republic or Argentine shield was established in its current form in 1944, but has its origins in the seal of the General Constituent Assembly of 1813. It is supposed that it was chosen quickly because of the existence of a decree signed on February 22 sealed with the symbol. The first mention of it in a public document dates to March 12 of that same year, in which it is stated that the seal had to be used by the executive power, that is, the second triumvirate. On April 13 the National Assembly coined the new silver and gold coins, each with the seal of the assembly on the reverse, and on April 27 the coat of arms became a national emblem. Although the coat of arms is not currently shown on flags, the Buenos Aires-born military leader Manuel Belgrano ordered to paint it over the flag he gave to the city of San Salvador de Jujuy, and during the Argentine War of Independence most flags had the coat of arms.

Flag of Ecuador National flag

The national flag of Ecuador, which consists of horizontal bands of yellow, blue and red, was first adopted by law in 1835 and later on 26 September 1860. The design of the current flag was finalized in 1900 with the addition of the coat of arms in the center of the flag. Before using the yellow, blue and red tricolor, Ecuador used white and blue flags that contained stars for each province of the country. The design of the flag is very similar to those of Colombia and Venezuela, which are also former constituent territories of Gran Colombia. All three are based on a proposal by Venezuelan General Francisco de Miranda, which was adopted by Venezuela in 1811 and later Gran Colombia with some modifications. There is a variant of the flag that does not contain the coat of arms that is used by the merchant marine. This flag matches Colombia's in every aspect, but Colombia uses a different design when her merchant marine ships are at sail. Along with Haiti, Afghanistan, Bolivia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, and Venezuela, it is one of only eight national flags whose design incorporates a depiction of the flag itself.

Flag of Peru National flag

The flag of Peru was adopted by the government of Peru in 1824, and modified in 1950. According to the article 49 of the Constitution of Peru, it is a vertical triband with red outer bands and a single white middle band. Depending on its use, it may be defaced with different emblems, and has different names. Flag day in Peru is celebrated on 7 June, the anniversary of the Battle of Arica.

Argentine War of Independence

The Argentine War of Independence was fought from 1810 to 1818 by Argentine patriotic forces under Manuel Belgrano, Juan José Castelli and José de San Martín against royalist forces loyal to the Spanish crown. On July 9, 1816, an assembly met in San Miguel de Tucumán, declared full independence with provisions for a national constitution.

José Bernardo de Tagle y Portocarrero, Marquis of Torre Tagle

José Bernardo de Tagle y Portocarrero, the ivMarquis of Torre Tagle, was a Peruvian soldier and politician who served as the Interim President of Peru in 1823 as well as the fifth President of Peru from 1823 to 1824.

National Flag Memorial (Argentina)

The National Flag Memorial in Rosario, Argentina, is a monumental complex built near the shore of the Paraná River. It was inaugurated on June 20, 1957, the anniversary of the death of Manuel Belgrano, creator of the Argentine flag, who raised it for the first time on an island on the opposite shore of the river on February 27, 1812.

The First Triumvirate was the executive body of government that replaced the Junta Grande in the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata. It started its functions on September 23, 1811, and was replaced on October 8, 1812.

Jujuy Exodus

The Jujuy Exodus was an episode of the Argentine War of Independence. It was a massive forced displacement of people from the Jujuy Province, by orders of General Manuel Belgrano, conducted by his patriot forces that were battling a Royalist army. The population was compelled to leave under the threat of execution.

Cockade of Argentina

The Argentine cockade is one of the national symbols of Argentina, instituted by decree on February 18, 1812 by the First Triumvirate, who determined that "the national cockade of the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata shall be of colours white and light blue [...]".

Pío de Tristán

Juan Pío de Tristán y Moscoso was a Peruvian general and politician who served as the second President of South Peru from October 12, 1838 to February 23, 1839. He was nominally the last viceroy of Peru, serving in that capacity from December 1824 to January 23, 1826, but not exercising power.

First Upper Peru campaign

The first Upper Peru campaign was a military campaign of the Argentine War of Independence, which took place in 1810. It was headed by Juan José Castelli, and attempted to expand the influence of the Buenos Aires May Revolution in Upper Peru. There were initial victories, such as in the Battle of Suipacha and the revolt of Cochabamba, but it was finally defeated during the Battle of Huaqui that returned Upper Peru to Royalist influence. Manuel Belgrano and José Rondeau would attempt other similarly ill-fated campaigns; the Royalists in the Upper Peru would be finally defeated by Sucre, whose military campaign came from the North supporting Simón Bolívar.

Flag Day (Argentina)

The National Flag Day is the holiday dedicated to the Argentine flag and to the commemoration of its creator, Manuel Belgrano. It is celebrated on June 20, the anniversary of Belgrano's death in 1820. This date was designated in 1938.

Feliciano Chiclana

Feliciano Antonio Chiclana was an Argentine lawyer, soldier, and judge.

Battle of Tucumán

The Battle of Tucumán was a battle fought on 24 and 25 September 1812 near the Argentine city of San Miguel de Tucumán, during the Argentine War of Independence. The Army of the North, commanded by General Manuel Belgrano, defeated the royalist troops commanded by General Pío de Tristán, who had a two-to-one advantage in numbers, halting the royalist advance on Argentina's northwest. Together with the Battle of Salta, on 20 February 1813, the victory at Tucumán allowed the Argentine troops to reaffirm the borders under their control.

Army of the North

The Army of the North, contemporaneously called Army of Peru, was one of the armies deployed by the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata in the Spanish American wars of independence. Its objective was freeing the Argentine Northwest and the Upper Peru from the royalist troops of the Spanish Empire. It was headed by Hipólito Vieytes (1810), Juan José Castelli (1810–1811), Juan Martín de Pueyrredón (1811–1812), Manuel Belgrano (1812–1814), José de San Martín (1814), José Rondeau (1814–1816), Manuel Belgrano (1816–1819) and Francisco Fernández de la Cruz (1819–1820).

Timeline of the Argentine War of Independence

The Argentine War of Independence was fought from 1810 to 1818 by Argentine patriotic forces under Manuel Belgrano, Juan José Castelli and José de San Martín against royalist forces loyal to the Spanish crown. On July 9, 1816, an assembly met in San Miguel de Tucumán, declared full independence with provisions for a national constitution.

Bicentennial of the flag of Argentina

The Bicentennial of the flag of Argentina was celebrated on February 27, 2012. It commemorated the 200th anniversary of the creation of the flag of Argentina by Manuel Belgrano, during the Argentine War of Independence. Most celebrations took place at Rosario, as the event took place in that city.


  1. "Argentina - Argentina´s Flag Day". Argentina - Official Promotion Portal for Argentina. 18 June 2010. Archived from the original on 25 June 2010. Retrieved 17 October 2010. The first time the flag was raised in Buenos Aires was the August 23, 1812, in the church tower of St. Nicholas of Bari, current place of the Obelisk.
  2. Torres, p. 20
  3. Torres, p. 21
  4. "Siendo preciso enarbolar bandera, y no teniéndola, la mandé hacer blanca y celeste conforme a los colores de la escarapela nacional" (Belgrano) - Torres, p. 22 (in Spanish)
  5. Torres, pp. 23-24
  6. El Museo Histórico Nacional restaura la bandera más antigua del país Archived 2011-07-18 at the Wayback Machine (in Spanish)
  7. 1 2 La bandera de Belgrano vuelve a vivir gracias a la restauración (in Spanish)