The flag of Guatemala features two colors: sky blue and white. The two sky blue stripes represent the fact that Guatemala is a land located between two oceans, the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean sea; and the sky over the country (see Guatemala's National Anthem). The white color signifies peace and purity.
In the center of the flag is the Guatemalan coat of arms. It includes the Resplendent Quetzal, the national bird of Guatemala that symbolizes liberty; a parchment scroll bearing the date of Central America's independence from Spain, 15 September 1821; crossed rifles, indicating Guatemala's willingness to defend itself by force if need be; a bay laurel crown, the symbol for victory; and crossed swords, representing honor.
The Central American flag was used in Guatemala until 1851, when a pro-Spanish faction took over and added the Spanish colors of red and yellow to the flag. The original colors were restored on August 17, 1871, but as vertical (rather than horizontal) stripes and with a new coat of arms.
The Resplendent Quetzal previously appeared in the 1830s in the flag of Los Altos, the sixth state in the Federal Republic.