Mexican and Italian flag: differences and similarities

The Mexican flag is often compared and confused with that of Italy. What are the differences and similarities between the Mexican and Italian flags?

Mexican and Italian flag: differences and similarities
Mexican flag. From Wikimedia Commons

The Mexican flag is considered one of the most beautiful in the world, although it is generally compared and confused with that of Italy. Find out what are the differences and similarities between the Mexican and Italian flags. Although many presume that the Italian flag served as an inspiration for the Mexican one, both have important differences, which are listed below.

The Mexican flag consists of a rectangle, with a proportion of 4 to 7, divided into three vertical stripes of identical measures, with the colors green, white and red. The Italian flag has a 2:3 ratio, so it is a less elongated rectangle.

The Italian flag uses a lighter green and red. It is inspired by a standard (with those same colors) given by Napoleon in 1796 to a group of soldiers of the Lombard Legion who voluntarily joined the French army. The Mexican one has in the center of the white strip the National Shield, with a diameter of three-quarters of the width of this strip.

From 1943 to 1945, the Italian Social Republic used a shield in the center of its war flag, representing an eagle with open wings, however, with the fall of Mussolini this symbol was discarded. On February 24, Mexico celebrates the day of the flag, whose current design was approved by Congress on December 23, 1967.

It is popularly considered that the colors of the Mexican flag have a meaning, derived from the struggle for Independence, however, officially green, white and red are not associated with a historical concept.

White: The Catholic faith (religion) and purity of the people's ideals. Red: Union (between Europeans and Americans) Green: Independence (Independence from Spain) During Benito Juarez's term in office, another concept was given to the national colors. Green: Hope. White: Unity. Red: The blood of national heroes.

The Italian flag also has its myths. It is said that Napoleon gave his Italian allies a standard inspired by the French flag itself, but he changed the blue for green, which he chose because of the vegetation of the island of Corsica, while others consider it is related to the green uniforms of the militia of Milan. Another version points out that green is associated with the region of Lombardy.

When Italy became a republic in 1946, the Mexican naval insignia was a simple tricolor, for this reason, by demand of the international naval authorities, Italy could not adopt a single national flag with similar characteristics to France. Considering its possible derivation from the French tricolor, the Italian tricolor is similar to many of the flags supposedly of similar origins.

The Italian flag is particularly similar to the flag of Ireland, which is green, white, and orange (a shade very similar to the red used in the flag of Italy), but with different proportions (1:2 against 2:3) and the flag of Ivory Coast, where the colors, orange, white and green have been reversed, although the proportions are the same. Confusion may also exist between the Italian flag and the Hungarian flag, which, looking at 1:2, has the same colors in a horizontal position with a higher shade of red.

Mexican and Italian flags: Their story is different

The Mexican flag tricolor has been used continuously for longer than the Italian. It all started with the Mexican War of Independence when several flags were used. The first one was the "Bandera Siera", used by Nicolas Bravo and his troops in 1810. Since then, the Mexican flag has had these colors.

Italian flag
Italian flag. From Wikimedia Commons

The current national flag was adopted on September 16, 1968, and was confirmed by law on February 24, 1984. The current version is an adaptation of the design approved by the presidential decree in 1916 by Venustiano Carranza, where the eagle was changed to look from the side, instead of from the front. Before the adoption of the current national flag, official flags were used by the government. All these flags have used the tricolor pattern, the only difference being the changes in the coat of arms, which was always kept in the center of the white stripe.

Meanwhile, in Italy, the tricolor is said to have been used for the first time between November 13 and 14, 1794, in a cockade worn by a group of students from the University of Bologna, led by Luigi Zamboni and Giovanni Battista de Rolandis, who tried to instigate a popular mob to overthrow the Catholic government of Bologna.

The first official Italian tricolor was adopted on January 1, 1797, when the XIV Parliament of the Cispadana Republic, under the proposal of deputy Giuseppe Compagnoni de Lugo, decreed to make universal the .... standard or flag of three colors, green, white, and red.

Between 1848 and 1861, a sequence of events led to the independence and unification of Italy (except for Venice, Rome, Trento, and Trieste, known as unredeemed Italy, which were unified with the rest of Italy in 1866, 1870, and 1918 respectively); this period of Italian history is known as the Risorgimento or resurgence. During this period, the tricolor became the symbol under which all the efforts of the Italian people toward freedom and independence were united.

Foreign Minister confuses Mexican and Italian flags

Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya has humorously apologized on her Twitter account, after including the Mexican flag instead of the Italian one in one of the several messages she has written about the Spanish-Italian summit. In the same message, the minister said that the summit was being held in "Palma de Mallorca," while the city has been officially called "Palma" since 2016, so she has also corrected that in her next message.

"Decidedly, the night has been short and it shows, apologies", wrote the minister and repeated her message but with the Italian flag, after several users of the network warned her of her mistake.

González Laya usually uses the flags of the countries she travels to in her Twitter messages to report on her activities. Mexico's flag is very similar to Italy's, except that its red and green tones are somewhat darker and it includes the national coat of arms in its central strip.