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Why did Texas confuse its state flag with Chile’s? Try to spot the difference, and learn what a “vexillologist” is.

Thanks to the eagle eyes of a Texan voter, the absentee ballot this election season in Atascosa County will not feature the flag of Chile. You can see the source of confusion below, but first, how did the Chilean flag end up on a Texan ballot?

As you will see,  the flags of the Latin American country and the U.S. state are remarkably similar. Both flags have a white stripe on top and a red stripe on the bottom. They also both have a single star in the middle of a blue field. A field is the background of a flag or the color behind the symbol.

(Incidentally, does the name Chile have anything to do with chile peppers? Here’s the answer.)

But here’s the difference. The Texas flag has blue all along the left side, while on the Chilean flag, the blue is only in the top left corner.

This is for certain: a vexillologist, a person who studies flags, would never have made that kind of mistake. (A vexillographer is someone who designs flags.) “Vexillology” comes from the Latin vexillum, which means “flag.”

Here are a few terms that a vexillologist would use to describe the situation:

• The fimbriation is a narrow border, often in white or gold, on a flag that separates two other colors.

• A canton is any quarter of a flag. For example, a canton is the field of stars in the U.S. flag.

• A figure or symbol that appears in the field of a flag is a charge.

Texas and Chile aren’t the only two places that share similar flags. Examine the flags of Iraq and Yemen. The flags of the U.S. and Liberia and the flags of Niger and India are also nearly flag doppelgangers.

27 Comments

  1. TexMex.the real American -  August 29, 2016 - 12:57 pm

    Look at the flags. We still are the lone star state in America.Chill no one took you balls. Chile had the flag first. So dill with it. And if you can’t figure it out you must be dyslexic.

    Reply
  2. haley -  May 19, 2011 - 12:41 pm

    they just copied our flag! JOKERS!

    Reply
    • Will Brinkley -  March 7, 2015 - 6:20 am

      Texas’ flag :1839
      Chile’s flag: 1817

      Oops!

      Reply
  3. jpg -  March 7, 2011 - 2:17 pm

    Texas flag was adopted in 1839, not 1939.

    Reply
  4. Carlos -  February 15, 2011 - 9:15 pm

    “quote” The flag of Chile resembles the US flag which probably influenced it since Chile’s flag was designed by American Charles Wood, a volunteer in the engineer corps of the Chilean army. It was adopted in 1817.”end quote”

    Cobblers – learn a little more history, where are the stars n bars? Pfft. Chilean flag 1817 – Texas Flag 1939

    The present flag was created by Minister Jose Ignacio Zenteno and designed by Antonio Arcos, a Spanish military, although some would sustain that it was Gregorio de Andia y Varela who designed it. It was established on 18 October 1817 under the Government of the Supreme Director, Captain General Bernardo O’Higgins through a decree of the Ministry of War headed by Secretary of State, Colonel José Ignacio Zenteno. The decree is only known by indirect reference as the original copy was never found. The national flag was used publicly for the first time on 12 February 1818, during the official proclamation of the Independence and the swearing ceremony of the flag, and it was carried by Colonel Tomas Guido.

    Reply
  5. louis paiz -  October 27, 2010 - 8:15 am

    hey american dude i think that the reason you get upset is not i but that someone needs a course in civics to learn the meaning of stripes and stars in our american flag so good luck. thank you.

    Reply
  6. american dude -  October 23, 2010 - 10:15 am

    Hey Louis, learn the language and then maybe you would understand what we are talking about.

    Reply
  7. Law Society Find A Solicitor -  October 23, 2010 - 12:07 am

    It’s Great blog that a Build nation I learned about vexillology– seems that a new -ology pops up every day…

    **************

    john

    Reply
  8. useless knowledge -  October 21, 2010 - 3:14 pm

    wheres the flags
    gosh why dont they have them

    Reply
  9. L.T. -  October 21, 2010 - 1:37 pm

    censored again — this must be the Vatican

    Reply
  10. coat of arms -  October 20, 2010 - 6:28 pm

    Build a nation.

    Reply
  11. Monica M. -  October 20, 2010 - 10:52 am

    My Kudoz to Ricardo Burgos, my feelings exactly. Born and raised in Chile I would like to see facts straight. Should there be any lack of knowledge about the history of Chile, I would kindly ask the contributors to this blog, to step aside, and return better informed and hopefully unbiased.
    Thanks,

    Reply
  12. Dog Gone -  October 20, 2010 - 10:40 am

    The terms you used – charge, field, fimbriate, canton, etc. are actually earlier terms derived from heraldry, from which flag design originates.

    Reply
  13. Manu Salahudin Omowali Mateus -  October 19, 2010 - 9:34 pm

    SPURIOUS IS THE WORD FOR THE LAST 2000 YEARS THAT HAS CAUSED SO MUCH
    CONFUSION IN THE WORLD OF CHRISTIANITY. SPURIOUS —FALSE—- LIES—-
    ILLEGITIMATE BIRTH, BASTARD— NOT GENUINE.

    Reply
  14. louis paiz -  October 19, 2010 - 10:57 am

    how could that be does it has therteen stripes does it has the same amount of stars are the stars in the same order because is red and blue that does not mean that they are the same . what do the chile flag represent what do the star mean what simbolize thats the most important question.if an american disign it am sure he knew what he was doing.
    thank you.

    Reply
  15. Dickie -  October 19, 2010 - 8:48 am

    BLOGCHI, something’s making YOU unsteady.

    Reply
  16. Daniel Herek -  October 19, 2010 - 8:36 am

    The flag of Chile resembles the US flag which probably influenced it
    since Chile’s flag was designed by American Charles Wood, a volunteer in
    the engineer corps of the Chilean army. It was adopted in 1817.

    Reply
  17. #1 Skillet Fan -  October 19, 2010 - 7:28 am

    My brother has some friends from Chile, so if they moved to Texas then they could sport the Chilean flag and nobody know it lol

    Reply
  18. alorah -  October 19, 2010 - 6:48 am

    hmmmmmmm……….. I wonder which is which? ;(

    Reply
  19. Daniel -  October 19, 2010 - 6:04 am

    I didn’t even know that there was a word for someone who studies flags. Heck, I didn’t even know there were people who studied flags.

    Reply
  20. Ricardo Burgos -  October 19, 2010 - 5:53 am

    @ Mr. Rupert L.T.Rhyme. Pls be so kind to inform yourself before writing about foreign history and thus you’ll avoid exposing any lack of knowledge or excess of ignorance. Unless your source of information is Mr. Castro of Cuba or Mr. Kim from North Korea, you might know that former Chilean president Allende comitted suicide, certified by his own personal doctor, but conveniently shushed and disinformed for may years in order to profit from believers like -most apparently- you. And please let’s not start to discuss about General Pinochet’s goverment and his magnificent success ridding the country of the communist scum that had been until that moment trying to destroy the country and make it into another Cuba.

    Reply
    • mk -  December 8, 2014 - 9:49 am

      Ricardo Burgos is dishonest slime. Allende committed suicide rather than be expelled from his country by the junta. Pinochet was a monster, a criminal against humanity.

      Reply
    • Honestly -  May 19, 2016 - 3:46 pm

      Born and raised in Chile, there’s no proof of either, suicide or assassination. and unless you are trolling, why on earth do you believe Pinochet did something good. You cannot justify the killing, his dictatorship set chile back in terms of culture, society and lifestyle. And while I wouldn’t want to live in another Cuba, it’s not what Allende wanted to do. A lot of people died, doesn’t matter what they believed in, unless you have no regards for human life and/or are from the far right.

      Reply
  21. Jeff -  October 19, 2010 - 4:37 am

    I have one small criticism of this article: You didn’t have pictures of the two flags! Not even links to flags!

    Sure, I can google them to see it, but why wouldn’t the article already include that?

    Reply
  22. KStil -  October 18, 2010 - 2:58 pm

    I knew they were similar, and that one had blue all along the left side, but could never remember which was which…Now, hopefully it’s cemented in my brain a lot more. :) And I learned about vexillology– seems that a new -ology pops up every day…

    Reply
  23. FLAGS | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  October 18, 2010 - 9:22 am

    [...] Old Flags, New Flags, Red White and Blue flags — It seems simply natural with out mistakes being made with the Assassination of JFK in Texas and Salvador Allende in Chile by the USA, on 911, 1973 installing Pinochet helped by the CIA — too much more it drags. — But the Bushes, CIA, 911 Cheney,Texas, 911 Chile socialism dots keep making us unsteady. — Once again Enuf already. — It’s time to wave our flags.–>>Rupert L.T.Rhyme [...]

    Reply

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