The Venezuelan flag has changed over the years, but has always been inspired on the design by Navy Captain Lino de Clemente y Palacios and General Francisco de Miranda Rodríguez, which was approved for the first time on July 9, 1811 by the Supreme Congress of Venezuela.
This first flag did not include any stars. The seven stars were officialized as an element in the Venezuelan flag in 1812 as a recognition to the seven provinces that supported the Declaration of Independence on April 10, 1810: Margarita, Cumaná, Barcelona, Barinas, Mérida, Trujillo, and Caracas.
In 1816, after the fall of the Second Republic, independence hero Simón Bolívar returned to Venezuela to resume the fight against the Spaniards. He remained in Guayana, a southern unexplored area. It was in Guayana where Bolívar planned the strategy to defeat the enemy once again, which wound up in a victory thanks to resources provided by the southern territory. After the triumph of the Guayana Campaign, Bolívar orders an eighth star to be included in the Venezuelan flag in representation of the eighth liberated province on November 20, 1817.
HISTORY OF VENEZUELA'S FLAGS
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From that time to 1954, the Venezuelan flag changed several times. New versions of the flag starting in 1863 stuck to the seven-star design in honor to the original seven provinces that adopted and declared their independence from Spanish domination.
On February 17, 1954, the Venezuelan Congress approved a new Flag, Coat of Arms, and National Anthem Law. It dictated the seven stars to be located in the blue stripe, positioned forming a semi-circle. The seven-star flag remained as an official symbol until March 2006.
Late President Hugo Chávez proposed to change the flag in order to fulfill Simón Bolívar’s desire of including Guayana as the eighth freed province. After revising Chávez’s proposal, the National Assembly (comprised by that time only by pro-government deputies) abolished the 1954 Flag, Coat of Arms, and National Anthem Law on March 7, 2006. Two days later, the Legislative branch approved by decree the inclusion of the eighth star representing Guayana in the Venezuelan flag to honor Simón Bolívar’s 1817 resolution.
Text by Dubraska Vale.
Illustrations by Johana Gomez Ryczo & Marlon Correa