Colombian Flag

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Francisco de Miranda was the person who originally created the common yellow, blue and red flag of Gran Colombia that Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela, with slight variations, share today. Miranda gave at least two sources of inspiration for his flag. In a letter written to Count Simon Romanovich Woronzoff in 1792, Miranda stated that the colors were based on a theory of primary colors given to him by the German writer and philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Miranda described a late-night conversation which he had with Goethe at a party in Weimar during the winter of 1785. Fascinated with Miranda's account of his exploits in the United States Revolutionary War and his travels throughout the Americas and Europe, Goethe told him that, "Your destiny is to create in your land a place where primary colors are not distorted.” He proceeded to clarify what he meant: `“First he explained to me the way the iris transforms light into the three primary colors then he proved to me why yellow is the most warm, noble and closest to white light; why blue is that mix of excitement and serenity, a distance that evokes shadows; and why red is the exaltation of yellow and blue, the synthesis, the vanishing of light into shadow. It is not that the world is made of yellows, blues and reds; it is that in this manner, as if in an infinite combination of these three colors, we human beings see it. A country Goethe concluded starts out from a name and a flag, and it then becomes them, just as a man fulfills his destiny.” After Miranda later designed his flag based on this conversation, he happily recalled seeing a fresco by Lazzaro Tavarone in the Palazzo Belimbau in Genoa that depicted Christopher Columbus unfurling a similar-coloured flag in Veragua during his fourth voyage. In his military diary, Miranda gave another possible source of inspiration: the yellow, blue and red standard of the Burger Guard of Hamburg, which he also saw during his travels in Germany. In the 1801 plan for...
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