A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from December 28, 2007
City Under Seven Flags (Laredo nickname)

Texas prides itself to have been under six different flags, but the city of Laredo was under seven flags. The short-lived (January- November 1840) Republic of Rio Grande was centered in Laredo. Research popularized in 1953 brought the little-known Republic of Rio Grande to the public’s attention, and the city of Laredo has publicized the fact ever since.

“The City Under Seven Flags” is stated by Wikipedia to be a Laredo nickname, but it is more a history lesson than a popularly used city nickname.


Wikipedia: Laredo, Texas
Laredo is the county seat of Webb County, Texas, United States, on the north bank of the Rio Grande (Río Bravo) river, across from Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico. According to the 2006 census estimate, the city population was 231,470. Laredo is part of the Laredo-Nuevo Laredo Metropolitan Area with a total population of 589,309. Laredo’s economy is primarily based on international trade with Mexico whereas it has the distinction of being the largest inland port in the United States. Most major transportation companies have a facility in Laredo. Laredo’s location along the southern end of IH-35 and in proximity with maquiladoras (manufacturers) in North Mexico promotes a vital role in the importance with the United States’ largest trading partner.

Laredo has the distinction of having seven flags flown over the city. Having been founded in 1755, Laredo grew from a villa to the Capital of the defunct Republic of the Rio Grande to the largest inland port on the United States-Mexican Border. Today, it has four international bridges and one railway bridge. Laredo’s weather is semi-arid during the summer and mild during the winter.
(...)
Nickname: The Gateway City” & “The City Under Seven Flags

Wikipedia: Six flags over Texas
Six flags over Texas is the slogan used to describe the six nations that have had sovereignty over various parts of the land now known as Texas. This slogan has been incorporated into shopping malls, theme parks (Six Flags) and other enterprises. The “six flags” are also shown on the reverse of the Seal of Texas. The Texas Historical Commission adopted standard designs for the Six Flags over Texas, which are published in the June 20, 1997 issue of the Texas Register, volume 22, pages 5959-5967.

Spain
The first flag belonged to Spain, which ruled parts of Texas from 1529 to 1685 and from 1690 to 1821. There were two versions of the Spanish flag used during this period. Both designs incorporate the “castle and lion” emblems of the Crown of Castile and Leon. The Spanish flag used in the reverse of the Texas state seal, which was also adopted by the Texas State Historical Commission, is the flag adopted by King Charles III, containing horizontal stripes of red-gold-red and the simple arms of Castile and Leon. This flag was used by Spain from 1793 to 1931.

France
The second flag belonged to France from 1685 to 1690. In 1684, French nobleman Rene Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle founded a colony on the Texas Gulf Coast called Fort Saint Louis. The colony was unsuccessful, and after La Salle’s murder, was soon abandoned. During this time, there was no official French flag, so a number of different designs are used in displays of the “six flags”.

Mexico
The third flag flown (1821 through 1836) was the flag of Mexico. Mexico obtained sovereignty from Spain in 1821. The Mexican flag displayed in the Austin Capitol is the one of the Mexican Republic of 1823 through 1864. This flag was in use in Texas until its independence from Mexico in 1836 (Texas’s declaration of independence).

Republic of Texas
The fourth flag belonged to the Republic of Texas from 1836 to 1845. The republic had two national flags during its history, the first being the so-called “Burnet Flag” (see Flag of Texas). The “Lone Star Flag”, the final national flag, is also the state flag.

Confederate States of America
The fifth flag belonged to the Confederate States of America from 1861 to 1865. During this time, the Confederacy had three national flags.

United States of America
The sixth flag belonged to the United States of America from 1845 to 1861 and from 1865 to this day.

Flag of the Republic of Rio Grande
There is a seventh flag for those who live in the southern part of Texas along the Rio Grande river: The flag of the Republic of the Rio Grande. It is not considered one of Texas’s flags because the Republic of Texas and the Republic of the Rio Grande both claimed some of the same land. However, in Laredo, the capital of the short-lived Republic of the Rio Grande, the local newspaper displays seven flags instead of six.

Wikipedia: Republic of the Rio Grande
The Republic of the Rio Grande existed briefly in North America between the Republic of Texas and Mexico, from January 17 to November 6, 1840.

30 March 1840, North American and Daily Advertiser (Philadelphia, PA), pg. 2:
The most important news is contained in a letter from Col. Fisher, of the Texan army, published in the New Orleans papers. The colonel states that a convention was held at Laredo, (a town on the left bank of the Rio Grande,) which declared its independence from Mexico, organized a provisional government for the “Republic of Rio Grande,” and installed a general council.

10 April 1840, Wilkes Barre (PA) , “The New Republic of Rio Grande,” pg. 1:
The new republic of Rio Grande is situated principally to the westward of Texas, and comprises the provinces of Tamaulipas, Coahila, and New Leon.

13 November 1910, Laredo (TX) Times, pg. 12, col. 3:
Though all of the twelve ladies present yesterday afternoon were enthusiastic for the work of the league, they decided that twelve were not enough to perfect organization and decided to produce “Texas Under Seven Flags” some time in January.

22 February 1953, Galveston (TX) Daily News, “Rio Grande Republic Shown by Research,” pg. 25, cols. 5-8:
LAREDO, Feb. 21 (UP)—A shadowy chapter in Texas’ past—the rise and quick fall of the Republic of the Rio Grande—has been illuminated by a scholar’s research.

The republic was carved in 1840 from Northern Mexico and Southwest Texas by a group of rebels who in our time would be called states righters. Laredo was its capital.

The short-lived nation had a flag. Old-timers in this Southwest Texas border city contend, therefore, that seven flags have flown over Texas instead of the long-accepted figure of six.

The Seventh Flag
They say that although the republic didn’t encompass all of Texas, its flag should take its place beside other banners which have waved over the state—those of France, Spain, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the U.S.A. and the Confederacy.

Jack Yeaman, Laredo editor, has written an account of the little-known nation based on documented reports by Dr. David Martell Vigness, Schreiner Institute professor. In a dissertation finished a year ago Vigness reportedly authenticates every detail of the republic, which came into being early in 1940 and died in the waning months of the same year.

24 October 1954, San Antonio (TX) Express and News, pg. 10B, col. 1:
We see by the Express and News where Laredo is thinking of seceding from Texas once more.

Laredo did that last year—when it set up the Republic of the Rio Grande. In fact, historically, the Laredo area did, at one time, become the headquarters of the Republic of the Rio Grande movement.

All this gave the historic old border city the distinction of out-Texasing Texas: Laredo has served under seven flags, Texas under six. The seventh flag, of course, was the Republic of the Rio Grande.

20 September 1965, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Laredo Has Dedication for New Center,” section B, pg. 8:
LAREDO, Texas (UPI)—Laredo’s new 1.5-million-dollar civic center was dedicated Saturday in a ceremony that emphasized the seven flags that have flown over the city.

Six flags have flown over the rest of Texas. But an additional flag—the flag of the republic of the Rio Grande—has flown over Laredo.

30 March 1969, San Antonio (TX) Express and News, pg. 25, col. 1 ad:
LAREDO CIVIC CENTER
The new Laredo Civic Center was designed to stress the heritage of the City of Laredo under seven flags. The seven arches represent these seven flags.

20 April 1975, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Los Dos Laredos Build to Expand Tourism Roles” by Jean Simmons, section C, pg. 7:
Had the chosen site been Laredo, there never would have been a Six Flags Over Texas, the state’s No. 1 tourist attraction.

It would have been Seven Flags Over Texas (where would that have left Six Flags Over Georgia or Six Flags Over Mid-America?).

Laredo, you see, was once capital of the ill-fated Republic of the Rio Grande. The small building that served as the capitol building is now a museum, in front of which fly seven flags that have waved over the border city.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Friday, December 28, 2007 • Permalink