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Civic heraldry of the United States > Puerto Rico
The coat of arms of Lares is based upon a flag created by Dr. Ramón Emeterio Betances y Alacán, who was an Puertorrican independence activist, born in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico in 1827 and died in France in 1898. This flag created by 1867-68 was inspired by Dominican flag, because Dr. Betances was an Dominican Republic ambassador to France and by the Dominican support to the Puertorrican struggle for independence from Spain. This flag was presented by Manuel Rojas (an underground partner of Betances in Puerto Rico) to the underground Revolutionary Council meeting in Lares in June 1868 and the Council members approved it.
The Lares flag was used officially for first time on the mountainous town of Lares on September 23, 1868 when a revolutionary underground army of volunteers took this town expelling its Spanish authorities and proclaimed in it the Republic of Puerto Rico the same day.
The lack of reinforcements waited from outside and the superior firepower of Spaniards defeated the Revolutionary Army headed by Manuel Rojas on Sept. 24, 1868 in San Sebastián, Puerto Rico (a market town near west of Lares), and the revolution was crushed same day. The original Lares flag was taken by a Spain's army officer as a war prize and many years later transferred to the puertorrican people. Now is exhibited on University of Puerto Rico's Museum.
The features of this flag (and over the coat of arms too) have this meaning:
- Top blue rectangles: Freedom from Spain
- White cross: Fatherhood and Equality for all Puertoricans
- Upper red rectangles: The blood restrained by independence fighters
- White star over left blue rectangle: the country free and independent
Many years later, in 1952, the Lares Municipality decided that the historical flag raised in 1868 must be the Municipality ensign too, in memory of the defeated Independence Revolution that Lares housed and supported. The coat of arms adopted same year has the same pattern of flag by the same reason.
Literature : Image received from Juan Morales, Florida, USA; background from Harold Marquez, Mayagüez
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