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Blue & White Explained

The story heads back to the 5th Century Byzantine Empire (formerly the Roman Empire), when Blue was the colour of nobility… it was expensive to manufacture, and owing blue clothes was a matter of great social prestige.

The Empire held St Mary in great regard, as she was depicted wearing blue robes, indicating that she was very special. Mosaics from the 5th Century Byzantine show her in a deep shade of blue. The tradition continued during the Renaissance, too.

To paint her, artists used lapis lazuli, a deep blue metamorphic rock with great value for its intense colour. This rock was more expensive than gold, and was imported from Afghanistan.

Now, one can move forward to the 18th Century. Charles III, the King of Spain, was a devoted worshipper of St Mary. He was married for five years, but did not have children. So, he prayed harder. When he finally became a father, he owed it entirely to his prayers offered to St Mary. To commemorate this, he created an order in 1771 of St Mary to honour her: the Order of Charles III.

The shades for the new order were blue (in St Mary honour) and white. The question arises here: Why did Argentina adopt this? In 1808, Napoleon Bonaparte conquered Spain, and removed Ferdinand VII, the grandson of King Charles III, from the throne.

Napoleon installed his brother Joseph on the throne. This move caused revolts. Argentina was a colony of Spain at that period of time. Rebels, loyal to Ferdinand VII, wore the colours of the Order of Charles III. In 1810, the Argentine War of Independence broke out.

Manuel Belgrano, the rebel leader, created the Cockade (ribbon knot) of Argentina. In 1812, the rebels won, and the new Government officially adopted the Cockade as a national symbol. In 1816, the Cockade, along with a sun, found its place in the national flag of Argentina.

In the 1880s, football came to the Latin American country. In 1908, members of the national football team of Argentina wore pale blue and white, in a rare first. And 114 years later, Lionel Andrés Messi lifted the FIFA World Cup in Qatar in the same uniform that was born of a female saint, a king who wanted a kid, and a French Emperor.

Source: Readingroomindia (Instagram)

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