The flag of Cuba consists of five alternating, horizontal stripes (three blue and two white) and a red equilateral triangle at the hoist (left), on which lies a white five-pointed star. It is called La Estrella Solitaria or the Lone star. The three blue stripes represent the three military districts, or three original provinces. The white stripes symbolize the purity of the patriot cause. The red triangle stands for strength and constancy, but it could also reflect Masonic influences since triangles are Masonic symbols for equality and were found in several other flags in the former Spanish empire. The color red is used to symbolize courage and bloodshed by the Cuban patriots. The white star represents independence. When the flag is horizontally placed, one of the tips of the star points upward, representing Cuba’s star rising from a field of blood directing the fight and lighting the road toward its liberty and independence.
Cuba’s flag was originally designed in 1849 in New York city by Venezuelan-Cuban General Narciso Lopez and Cuban poet Miguel Teurbe Tolon to symbolize the effort to have the US annex Cuba from Spain. The flag was officially adopted on May 20, 1902 the same day that the nation became independent. The flag was hoisted over the castles of the Tres Reyes del Morro in Havana. The specifications of the design were established just four years later, and to this day, the flag has remained unchanged.
The Cuban flag was carried in battle long before its official adoption. In fact, Lopez carried it in two battles: at Cardenas in 1850 and Playitas in 1851. Lopez and his troops may have lost both battles, but these were the first times the flag was raised in Cuba and he made history by introducing what would become Cuba’s official flag.