The national flag of Uruguay consists of a field of nine equal alternating blue and white horizontal stripes. There are 4 blue and 5 white stripes. The top and bottom stripes are white. Lying on a white background on the upper left, or canton part of the flag is a Sun of May. The banner was inspired by the national colors of Argentina and by the design of the United States flag.
The white and blue stripes on the Uruguayan flag represent the original 9 departments of Uruguay. These nine departments are: Canelones, Cerro Largo, Colonia, Durazno, Maldonado, Montevideo, Paysandu, San Jose, and Soriano.
The Sun of May that lies on the flag’s canton has been used as a national symbol since the 19th century. It features a yellow sun bearing a human smiling face (delineated in black), with 16 rays that alternate between triangular and wavy. According to the historian Diego Abad de Santillan, the Sun of May features are said to represent those of Inti, the Inca god of the sun. It is also called the May Sun because on May 25, 1810, when the process of independence from Spain had started, the sun appeared suddenly from the clouds and rain. The Sun of May signifies independence, and its color represents unity, truth, clarity, majesty, abundance, and riches. It is a symbol for liberty and benevolence and represents a new nation to the world. The 16 alternating straight and wavy rays symbolize light and heat respectively. The Sun of May emblem was inspired by the May Revolution that occurred from May 18 to May 25, 1820 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It also appears on the flag of Argentina and the coat of arms of Bolivia.
The flag of Uruguay was first adopted by law on December 16, 1828 and had 19 stripes. Then on July 11, 1830, when it was last officially adopted, a new law reduced the number of stripes to nine. The flag was designed by Joaquin Suarez, the first head of state of Uruguay, in 1828. He later was President of Uruguay from 1843 until 1852.