The flag of Bolivia was adopted in 1851. The civil flag consists of a rectangular shape with three horizontal stripes: the top stripe is red, the middle stripe is yellow, and the bottom stripe is green. The state flag consists of the three-striped civil flag with the Bolivian coat of arms in the center.
Bolivia’s coat of arms features a central cartouche, an oblong-shaped scene, containing an alpaca, plains and mountains, a rising sun, and a tree and a wheat plant. This scene represents Bolivia’s diverse landscape and its natural resources. Behind and to either side of the cartouche are three Bolivian flags, two muskets, and laurel branches. An Andean condor rests on top of the cartouche. The laurel branches represent peace and the condor represents the Bolivian people’s willingness to defend their nation. A close look at this coat of arms reveals a Phrygian hood on top of the left musket and an axe on top of the right musket. These are traditional symbols of liberty and freedom.
The colors of the Bolivian flag have several meanings. According to some sources, the red stands for the bloodshed during Bolivia’s quest for independence, the yellow stands for Bolivia’s natural resources, and the green stands for Bolivia’s fertile land.
Bolivia also includes the Wiphala flags among its national symbols. These flags represent the Incans that are indigenous to Bolivia. The Wiphala is a square checkered flag with yellow, orange, red, purple, blue, green, and white patchwork squares in several different diagonal patterns. The designs are seven squares across and seven squares down and their specific patterns represent individual suyus, or Incan regions. The colors also have significance: red stands for the earth and for man, orange for society and culture, yellow for energy, white for time, green for nature, blue for the heavens, and purple for government and self-determination.