Flags, known to have been in use as early as 1000 BCE on the Indian subcontinent and across China, were used to identify leaders, armies and other groups of the era. The first national flags were adapted during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance periods, with many leaders of these periods adopting the flag of their patron saint to represent their country (England’s flag featured (and still does) the Cross of St George, for example).
For centuries flags have been vital tools to unite and rally citizens of a country, whether in peacetime or during war. Flags symbolize unity and a sense of belonging, and help people associate themselves with others from their own country or place. National flags were historically used primarily on the battlefield, but are now omnipresent, including at sporting events, schools, hotels and private residences. People everywhere, in all countries and from all socioeconomic backgrounds, proudly display the flags of their homeland as a sign of patriotism and pride.
The colors and emblems on national flags are not randomly selected. They tend to be representative of the history of the country or of its people and industry. The tri-color flag of Ireland, for example, includes three colors – green, white and orange. These colors symbolize the two major religious denominations in the country (Green for Catholic and Orange for Protestant) with the color white in the middle representing the call for peace between the two sects.
The slideshow above includes many interesting flags and we’ve also included some interesting information below about some of these flags:
- The flag of Mozambique is the only national flag in the world to feature a modern assault rifle, which stands for defiance and vigilance.
- Bermuda’s flag bears the British red ensign and a coat of arms that shows the 17th century ship Sea Venture that was deliberately crashed by Admiral George Somers in a bad storm.
- The flag of Swaziland was adopted on October 6, 1968 after Swaziland gained independence from Britain on September 6, 1968. The flag is based on the military flag given by King Sobhuza II to the Swazi Pioneer Corps in 1941 to remind them of the nation’s military traditions.
- The flag of the Isle of Man is based on the Manx coat of arms, which dates back to the 13th century
- The Bhutanese flag features a white dragon in the center of two colours, which symbolizes equality and the value given to each of the two factors. This white dragon Druk, also known as the Thunder Dragon, reflects the purity and cleanness of human actions and thoughts. The four pieces of jewellery in the hands of the dragon provide the wealth and security of the country.
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Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “flag”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 3 Jul. 2023, https://www.britannica.com/topic/flag-heraldry. Accessed 11 July 2023.
https://www.uk-featherflags.co.uk/blog/bizarre-flags/ February 2, 2017
https://pickvisa.com/blog/10-most-unusual-flags-in-the-world-and-their-secrets by Nargiz Mammadzade November 29, 2019