The national flag of Chile, consists of two unequal horizontal bands of white and red and a blue square the same height as the white band in the canton, which bears a white five-pointed star in the center. It was adopted on 18 October 1817. The Chilean flag is also known in Spanish as La Estrella Solitaria (The Lone Star).
The star represents a guide to progress and honor; blue symbolizes the sky and the Pacific Ocean, white is for the snow-covered Andes, and red stands for the blood spilled to achieve independence.
According to the epic poem La Araucana, the colors were derived from those from the flag flown by the Mapuche during the Arauco War. "Flag Day" is held each year on the ninth of July to commemorate the 77 soldiers who died in the 1882 Battle of La Concepción.
A sample Guñelve.
The adoption of the star configuration goes back to the star used by the Mapuches. According to O'Higgins, the star of the flag was the Star of Arauco. In Mapuche iconography, the morning star or Venus, (Mapudungun: Wünelfe or the Hispanicized Guñelve) was represented through the figure of an octagram star or a foliated cross. Although, the star which was finally adopted bore a star having five points with the design of the guñelve remaining reflected in an asterisk inserted in the center of the star, representing the combination of European and indigenous traditions.
Current Chilean flag.
These designs soon fell into oblivion due to the difficulty in the flag's construction. So, the embroidered seal and the eight-pointed asterisk disappeared while the star was kept completely upright. In 1854 the proportion was determined in keeping with the colors of the flag, leaving the canton as a square and the ratio of hoist to fly set to 2:3. Finally in 1912, the diameter of the star was established, the precedence of the colors in the presidential flag and decorative cockade was determined, setting the order as blue, white and red from top to bottom or from left to right of the viewer.
Time of Flags by the artist Ricardo Meza, located on the wall of the stairway access to the second floor of La Moneda Palace.
Few records remain of the original design, the most valuable being that of the flag used in the Declaration of Independence, which had a width of two meters and a length just over two feet. The flag was protected by various hereditary institutions until it was stolen in 1980 by members of the Revolutionary Left Movement as a protest against the military dictatorship. This group kept the specimen and returned it in late 2003 to the National Historical Museum, where it can be found today.
There is a rather popular legend in Chile that claims this third Chilean flag won a "Most Beautiful National Flag in the World" contest. Its most common version states that this happened in 1907 in Blankenberghe, Belgium, in the coast of the Baltic Sea. Other versions of this story say this happened in the 19th century, or that the Chilean flag was placed second after the French flag; there are even variations that talk about Chile's national anthem, placing it either in the first place or second, after La Marseillaise. The fact that the only documented version of this story gets basic details wrong (Belgium has a coast on the North Sea, not the Baltic Sea) doesn't reflect well on its historical accuracy.