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Salta Province (Argentina)

Provincia de Salta

Last modified: 2011-06-10 by
Keywords: salta | provincia de salta | sun: 32 rays | star: 6 points (white) | star: 6 points (silver) | star: 6 points (yellow) | stars: 23 | poncho | mourning | hexagram | department | güemes (martín miguel) |
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[Province of Salta flag] 100:141
image by Francisco Gregoric, 04 Aug 2006

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Description of the flag

The flag of Salta was officially adopted by Law No. 6946 of the government of the province on June 5, 1997, after a contest for designing the flag organized by the Ministry of Education, under resolution No. 1820.

According to the members of the jury, more than four thousand proposals were presented.

The chosen design has the symbolic elements that appeared most times among the others proposals presented: the provincial coat of arms, the poncho of Salta, and a symbolic representation of the departments.

The flag has the color of the poncho of Salta: Burgundy (dark red). The field is of five horizontal stripes, from top to bottom, Burgundy, black, Burgundy, black and Burgundy of

This way of distributing the black and burgundy stripes resembles the traditional poncho used in the province of Salta.

Some of the devices at the center of the field have elements we find on the provincial coat of arms, but this symbol is not the coat of arms. The elements are: a light blue ellipse with a golden border. At the middle of the ellipse, a six pointed silver star with a yellow 32 rays sun at the center of that star. Around the ellipse, 23 smaller golden stars of similar design representing the 23 municipalities of the province. In both cases (central bigger silver star, and 23 smaller golden stars) they are also called spurs or spurs wheels.

António Martins, 02 Jun 1998, Luis Havas, 28 Sep 1999, Jaume Ollé, 01 Sep. 2000, Francisco Gregoric and Gus Tracchia, 04 Aug 2006

The flag color (dark-Burgundy-red,) resembles the tonality of the ponchos, used by the local gauchos during the war of independence 1810-1823. Much have been said about the origin and reason of the color: The gauchos were led by Martín Güemes, which many venture to say that his name is from Wymess from nearby Dundee, County of Fife, Scotland, and the color of the poncho, is derived from the tartan from the Wymes / McDuff clan. However archaeologists from Salta, theorize that ancient aboriginal cultures from the Calchaqui region of Salta, used this type of dark red already since it was made from local roots.
Gustav Tracchia, 27 Mar 2000

As explained by Prof. María Cristina Fernández during the International Congress of Vexillology XXI-Vexilobaires 2005, the design of the poncho of Salta is a traditional one. The dark-red color has been used for several centuries in the region.

The poncho of Salta has two characteristics:

General Martín Miguel de Güemes was one of the most important heroes (and martyr) of the War of Independence and the Governor of the Intendence of Salta.

Between 1815 and 1821, General Güemes prevented several royalist invasions that came from Upper Perú (present day Bolivia) and helped to preserve the independence of the country.

These sagas are usually known as the "Guerra Gaucha" (Gaucho War), because Güemes troops were mounted gaucho soldiers who made often used of guerrilla warfare. Some of Güemes troops, wore the distinctive dark red poncho of the region.

Therefore, as with the flag of Salta, every time a salteño (person born in Salta) is wearing this poncho, he pays homage to General Martín Miguel de Güemes and the heroes of Independence. The flags does not have the black bow ties.
Francisco Gregoric, 04 Aug 2006

Flag Law

Quoted by Jaume Ollé 1 Sep 2000 and Francisco Gregoric 04 Aug 2006

English Translation: Law translated by Francisco Gregoric and Gus Tracchia, 04 Aug 2006.

Construction sheet of the flag as attached with the text of the law

[Construction sheet of the Salta flag]
image by Francisco Gregoric, based on information provided by Prof. María Cristina Fernández, 04 Aug 2006

According to the construction sheet next to the flag law, the flag is defined as 1 m × 1.41 m. The exact ratio is then of 100:141 (or it could be defined as approx. 5:7). The black stripes are 0.10 m wide, and are located 0.10 m from the edges. So the proportion should be

The central symbol (ellipse surrounded by 23 stars) is just defined by two dimensions [0.50 m × 0.43 m].

These figures should be considered as the dimensions of the external virtual ellipse that surrounds the 23 stars.

Therefore, the exact dimensions of the light blue ellipse, the six pointed silver star, the sun and the small 23 stars are not given in the construction sheet of the law.

All the dimensions defined in the flag law are just for an indoors flag.
Francisco Gregoric, 04 Aug 2006

Variations of the flag

The flag law defines the characteristics for the flag, however the central symbol is defined just in general terms, therefore different variants and details could co-exist.

Faceless sun flag

[Printed Province of Salta flag] 100:141
image by Francisco Gregoric, 05 Aug 2006

Although the sun should have a face like the sun of the Provincial Coat of Arms and the sun of the Argentine National Flag, some outdoors printed flags of Salta have been made with a faceless sun.

In these outdoors flags, the central six pointed star is white instead of the silver embroidered star shown on the indoors flags.
Francisco Gregoric, 05 Aug 2006

Incorrect Salta flags

Sometimes flags with narrower black stripes could be seen. However these are wrong designs since the width of the black stripes is clearly defined by the construction sheet of the flag law, and the flag should be

Another wrong unofficial version that it is found in some flags is that they have a different ratio from the one defined by the legislation. The construction sheet of the flag law just defines one possible dimension and official ratio as 1 m wide × 1.41 m long.

Therefore, if making a flag bigger or smaller flag, the same ratio should be kept.

However longer flags of 3:5 ratio for example, could be seen.
Francisco Gregoric, 05 Aug 2006

Photos: Other sites: Other sources:

The colors of the flag in taxis

The cabs of the City of Salta are painted with the colors of the provincial flag. The central symbol appears in the front of the car, and the black stripes in the sides.
Francisco Gregoric, 05 Aug 2006

Photos: Other sources:

Provincial Flag’s Day, Song and Monument

Flag’s Day

By Provincial Law No 7368, the 8 of October has been established as Salta Flag’s Day. This day was chosen because on October 8, 1814, the Province of Salta was created by order of Gervasio Antonio de Posadas, then the Supreme Director (President) of the United Provinces of the River Plate (Argentina).

Before, Salta had been a part of Tucumán Province. When Salta was established as an autonomous province its territory included also other areas that nowadays are part of Argentina and Bolivia, like Jujuy, Tarija and Santa María.
Francisco Gregoric, based on information provided by Rodolfo Aredes, 06 Aug 2006

English Translation:

Law translated by Francisco Gregoric and Gus Tracchia, 06 Aug 2006

On October 8, 2005 Salta Flag’s Day was celebrated for the first time. The governor of the Province Juan Carlos Romero alongside several provincial and national authorities, police, security and armed forces members were present in the ceremony.

More than 700 students from local schools took the oath to the provincial flag, and two schools received a provincial flag each.

Finally the new song “Bandera Salteña” was sung by several local singers.
Francisco Gregoric, 06 Aug 2006

Provincial Flag Song

According to the electronic newspaper "Salta al dia", 29 June 2005, the Secretary of Culture, appointed by the Governor of the Province, has launched a contest for the flag song of the province ("Canción a la Bandera de la Provincia"). The article seems to state that the lyrics of the song ("el texto literario") is the object of the context, not yet the music.

The contest is open to all the natives of the Province of Salta, wherever they live. The proposals will be recieved from 27 June to 13 July and the jury will deliberate from 14 to 19 July. The winner will be awarded 1,500 $, a plaque and a diploma.
Ivan Sache, 30 Jun 2005

On July 20, 2005 the government of Salta announced that after studying the proposals the jury decided that none of them reached the level wanted, and the contest was declared void. So, it was decided to ask again for new proposals to song writers.

Finally a song named “Bandera Salteña”, with music by Eduardo Falú, one of the most important folklorist composers of Argentina, and lyrics by Hugo Roberto Ovalle was chosen. During the celebration of Salta Flag’s Day on October 8, 2005, it was sung by the famous singers from Salta Juan Carlos Saravia and “Chango” Nieto, with the Chorus Arsis.
Francisco Gregoric, 06 Aug 2006

Provincial Flag Monument

A monument dedicated to the provincial flag was inaugurated in Salta City on July 6, 2005 by governor Juan Carlos Romero. According to information published in the Salta al Día digital newspaper and the INFOBAE newspaper, the monument is located in the Incas Avenue, next to the Civic Center Grand Bourg.

It was designed by architects Gustavo Meyer and Javier Zamarián who won a contest made by the provincial government. The monument is made of materials that could resist weather and vandalism.

The monument recalls the Pachamama (Mother Earth in Quechua Religion). It has central circular main plaza surrounded by 23 sculptures that recall each departments of the Province. The central square could be used in public meetings or ceremonies. It has the colors of the provincial flag of Salta. The monument also has vegetation spaces plus ramps and bridges allowing the visitor to reach the central area.
Francisco Gregoric, 06 Aug 2006

Other sites: Other sources:

Provincial Coat of Arms

[Province of Salta Coat of Arms]
image by Francisco Gregoric, 06 Aug 2006

The provincial coat of arms of Salta was adopted by Law No. 2027 on September 21, 1946.

It has an oval shape like several Argentine provincial coats of arms. The color is light blue.

The six-pointed silver star recalls a star-shaped medal given to General Martín Miguel de Güemes after the victory of the Battle of Humahuaca in 1817 over the Spanish royalist army. The 32 rays sun with face stands for the efforts made by Salta during the Independence War.

Both laurel branches without any fruits symbolize the victories of Salta’s Armies. These branches are hold together by a light blue ribbon, like the one that appeared in the medal given to Güemes.
Francisco Gregoric, 06 Aug 2006

Other sources:

Historical flags of Salta

Flag of 1813

[Reconstruction of the flag raised in Salta in 1813] [Reconstruction based upon written sources only] [two-sided]
image by Francisco Gregoric, 24 Feb, 2008

After some defeats on 1812 and beginning of 1813, the Army of the North commanded by General Manuel Belgrano, achieved three important victories: the battles of Las Piedras, Tucumán and Salta. Shortly after that, on May 25th, 1813, the cities of Salta and Jujuy celebrated the third anniversary of the May Revolution. General Manuel Belgrano was in Jujuy and as a present, gave a new flag to the city in order to replace the royalist standard used until then in parades during special ceremonies and occasions.

In the City of Salta, something similar happened. A new standard was raised that day to replace the royalist one. However this standard (or flag) was not apparently a gift by General Belgrano as in the case of Jujuy, but a new one made by the people of Salta themselves.
Francisco Gregoric, 7 Aug 2006

This flag was not intended as a provincial flag (Salta did not even exist as an autonomous province in 1813) but as a symbol to replace the Royalist standards used in parades during official celebrations or religious holidays in the City of Salta.
Francisco Gregoric, 24 Feb 2008

Flag design

This new standard is described by the Governor-Mayor Feliciano Chiclana in a letter preserved at the Archivo General de la Nación (General National Archives) of Buenos Aires. That letter was sent on June 6, 1813, to the Executive Power of the United Provinces in Buenos Aires.

Chiclana writes:

English translation:

Translated by Francisco Gregoric and Gus Tracchia, 7 Aug 2006 and 24 Feb 2008

Just by following this description is not possible to be completely sure of the exact shape and design of this standard or flag, because nothing is written about the field of this flag. No information is given about how the colors sky blue an white were distributed, or number or design of the stripes, if any.

Some possibilities could be guessed: maybe, it could have been a horizontal two stripes bicolor flag of light blue and white. Several horizontal two stripes flags were used in those times. Or maybe it could have been a horizontal three stripes flag with the same configuration than the present day Argentine flag. Another possibility is a design similar to the flag of Jujuy raised the same day, that was white, but the sky blue was present in the coat of arms.
Francisco Gregoric, 07 Aug 2006 and 24 Feb 2008

However it could be concluded that it was a two sided flag or standard with a reverse different from the obverse.

The images of the obverse and reverse are based on a modern reconstruction (20 Century) of this standard made as a real fabric flag. This reconstruction is located in the offices of the General Director of Security (Police chief) of the Provincial Government of Salta. The flag has been reconstructed following the text by Chiclana. However nothing was written by Chiclana about number or orientation of stripes. He just described the colors. Therefore this modern reconstruction with two vertical stripes, white at hoist and sky blue at fly is hypotetical.
Francisco Gregoric, 24 Feb 2008

Reverse of the flag

[Reverse of the reconstruction of the flag raised in Salta in 1813] [Reconstruction based upon written sources only] [two-sided] [reverse]
image by Francisco Gregoric, 24 Feb, 2008

The coat of arms described on the reverse of the flag is a variation of the City of Salta traditional coat of arms. During the Spanish colonial times that coat of arms was made with a Spaniard conqueror fighting and defeating an Indian. But in this variant used by patriots in 1813, the Indian is winning the battle over the Spaniard.

[A variation of this design is still used as coat of arms of the City of Salta. Nowadays all the elements appear but the Indian at the top of the hill. The hill with trees, river and the Spaniard are present. It also has a dog.]
Francisco Gregoric, 07 Aug 2006 and 24 Feb 2008

The reverse of the modern reconstruction of the standard in the offices of the General Director of Security (Police chief) of the provincial government of Salta can be seen. The vertical two stripes reconstruction is located in a divisory of rooms. Therefore both sides can be seen from the contiguous offices.
Francisco Gregoric, 24 Feb 2008

Unknown destiny of the historical flag

According to this description the standard had pieces of gold and silver. Apparently it was an embroidered standard (or at last some parts of it were embroidered), while the flag used the same day May 25, 1813 in the city of Jujuy was painted.

This text by Feliciano Chiclana is the only description known of this standard. There is just a second document written some days earlier that mentions that the flag value was 100 Pesos.

According to this lack of information, it could be said that apparently this flag may not have stayed for a long time. Maybe it could have been lost, hidden or destroyed during one of the several Spanish royalist invasions to Salta during the 1810s.

This flag raised in Salta on May 25, 1813 is one of the biggest vexillological misteries in Argentina’s History.
Francisco Gregoric, 07 Aug 2006 and 24 Feb 2008

Other sites: Sources:

A provincial flag of Salta used during Rosas and Urquiza times?

[Salta flag used during Rosas and Urquiza times?]
image by António Martins, 11 Dec 2004

According to David Prando’s article in Banderas 79 [pdo01], Salta Province had its own flag in the 19 Century. Exact dates are not known, but the flag was created before 1836, and it was still in use in 1849. The images from Prando show two coats of arms where the flag is pictured, [in both images the flag is] swallow tailed.
Jaume Ollé, 12 June 2002

[Editor’s note: According to the article quoted, this flag may have been used sometime between 1829 and 1862 during the times of Juan Manuel de Rosas, and Justo José de Urquiza]


I am a History teacher from Salta Province. I can say that the 19 Century provincial flag of Salta you show, never existed. There was not any provincial flag in 1820-1849.

This flag you show appeared just as a drawing in a seal used for short time in the times of [Juan Manuel de] Rosas Argentine Confederation. In that seal, the flag appeared next to the Argentine national flag. But this flag was not a provincial flag. It was just a cavalry guidon called banderola de caballería in Spanish. It was used in long spears carried by cavalry soldiers. In Argentina these cavalry guidons usually had this shape.

Today, in cavalry military and gaucho parades it is still usual to see them carrying spears with guidons.
Juan José Saravia, 26 July 2006

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