At first glance, the flags of Chile and Texas look almost identical. Comprising of the same elements (a lone star on a blue background at the top half of the design and a couple of horizontal red and white bands) results in many people around the world – even Americans and Texans! – often failing to tell them apart.
Why are they so similar and how can we tell them apart?
Apart from consisting from the same elements, both flags have a rectangular shape with a length to width ratio of 3:2. However, there are subtle but discernible differences than can help determine which is which: The blue vertical stripe on the Texas flag stretches from the top to the bottom of the flag, enclosing the lone star, which occupies the middle of this area. In contrast, the Chilean flag features its star in the upper left corner, with the bottom red horizontal stripe occupying the whole length of the flag.
What do those common symbols stand for?
The symbols may be common, but they represent different principles: The Chilean flag’s star signifies honor and progress as well as the power exerted by the government. Its white color denotes the white snow covering the Andes; its blue color symbolizes the Pacific Ocean and the sky, while the red color represents the blood its heroes shed so that the their country would achieve independence. On the other hand, the white, blue and red colors on the Texas flag (which have to exactly match the colors of the Flag of the United States) illustrate the Texan values of purity, loyalty and bravery respectively; at the same time, the Lone Star symbolizes unity as one for God, State, and Country, while its five points stand for the traits of a typical Texas citizen: fortitude, loyalty, righteousness, prudence, and broad-mindedness.
Which came first?
All the aforementioned suggest that there is no direct relationship between the flags of Texas and Chile. Integrating a great historical importance and having gone through several phases, the Chilean flag preceded the Texan one, taking its current form in October 1817; the coat of arms (initially featured in the center) was removed in 1934. The Texas flag was officially adopted in January 1839, as the national flag of the Republic of Texas, earning the nickname “Lone Star”. Weirdly enough, the Spanish equivalent of those words (“La Estrella Solitaria”) is also used at times when talking about the Chilean flag.
As for their creators, things get a little blurry: It is acknowledged that Charles B. Stewart drew an early image of the Lone Star Flag, yet the person who came up with the design for the Texan flag remains unknown. Similarly, a Spanish soldier, Antonio Arcos, has been credited with designing the Chilean flag; however, it has also been debated that it was actually Gregorio de Andía y Varela who drew it.
- Both Chilean and Texan citizens are in fact known to be proud and loyal people. However, this form of patriotic love hasn’t turned out to be strong enough to prevent a significant number of Texans from lapsing into an embarrassing mistake: apparently owing to the striking similarities and the lack of an official Texas flag emoji, many Texans often resort to the Chilean flag emoji when texting! The mistake is so frequently made that a resolution to the 85th Texas Legislature has been recently introduced to deter people from using the Chilean flag as a replacement for the Texan one!
- Federal law demands that Chileans wave the flag in their homes and at the workplaces on national holidays. Needless to say, abusing the flag is considered to be a serious offense. Similarly, intentionally damaging, defacing, mutilating or burning the Texan flag is considered a misdemeanor.