6. Chile ‘Patria Vieja’
Often a country starts out as an idea, or an expression of a desire for a national identity, independence, or self-determination. This is especially so with nations that grow out of former colonial dominions. Chile, like much of South America, had a long and ancient history of civilisation – in this case the Incas – but that all changed with the arrival of the Spanish Conquistadors. After some years of Spanish control, many Chileans began to think that they would quite like to control themselves*. But there remained those who were loyal to Spain and a civil war ensued, until the national junta was established on 18 September 1810. The first stage of Chilean self governance is known as the Patria Vieja (old republic) and lasted from 1810 to 1814, with the country led by an aristocrat named José Miguel Carrera. The flag of the Patria Vieja is most commonly depicted as having three horizontal stripes of blue, white and yellow. A couple of meanings for the colours are given: the three branches of government (majesty popular, law, and force); features of nature (sky, Andes, fields). It should be noted that due to the transitory nature of the government at this time that it was difficult to enforce uniformity of the national symbols and it was not rare to see the flag with the stripes in a different order or with various symbols included. After 1814 it was all change again and the flag was replaced with a new one (which is itself now a dead flag).
* Please excuse my extreme contraction of hundreds of years’ worth of history into just a few words.