Illustration of a flag with a green, white and red stripe and blue text underneath on a white background
The colors of the Mexican flag originally held different meanings than today: The green stripe represented the Mexican Independence Movement, the white stripe represented Catholic faith, and the red stripe represented the union with Europe and the Americas. Today the green stripe represents hope, the white stripe unity, and the red stripe represents blood to pay tribute to those who died in the war for independence.
This depiction, although accurate in color, is missing a key element, an eagle that is placed in the center of the flag. Without the eagle, these colors depict the flag of Italy. The eagle was officially added to the tri-colors in 1821 when Mexico gained sovereignty. Prior to the national flag being established, the honorary flag depicted the virgin of Guadalupe. The eagle was introduced in 1821 by Agustín de Iturbide, an emperor who placed a crown on the eagle as a symbol of the Mexican empire. Since that time, the flag has had 8 different iterations, all featuring the tri-color and eagle.