Flag

Flag

Overview
A flag is a piece of fabric with a distinctive design that is usually rectangular and used as a symbol, as a signaling device, or decoration. The term flag is also used to refer to the graphic design
Graphic design
Graphic design is a creative process – most often involving a client and a designer and usually completed in conjunction with producers of form – undertaken in order to convey a specific message to a targeted audience...

 employed by a flag, or to its depiction in another medium.

The first flags were used to assist military coordination on battlefields, and flags have since evolved into a general tool for rudimentary signalling and identification, especially in environments where communication is similarly challenging (such as the maritime environment where semaphore
Flag semaphore
Semaphore Flags is the system for conveying information at a distance by means of visual signals with hand-held flags, rods, disks, paddles, or occasionally bare or gloved hands. Information is encoded by the position of the flags; it is read when the flag is in a fixed position...

 is used).
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Encyclopedia
A flag is a piece of fabric with a distinctive design that is usually rectangular and used as a symbol, as a signaling device, or decoration. The term flag is also used to refer to the graphic design
Graphic design
Graphic design is a creative process – most often involving a client and a designer and usually completed in conjunction with producers of form – undertaken in order to convey a specific message to a targeted audience...

 employed by a flag, or to its depiction in another medium.

The first flags were used to assist military coordination on battlefields, and flags have since evolved into a general tool for rudimentary signalling and identification, especially in environments where communication is similarly challenging (such as the maritime environment where semaphore
Flag semaphore
Semaphore Flags is the system for conveying information at a distance by means of visual signals with hand-held flags, rods, disks, paddles, or occasionally bare or gloved hands. Information is encoded by the position of the flags; it is read when the flag is in a fixed position...

 is used). National flags are potent patriotic symbols with varied wide-ranging interpretations, often including strong military associations due to their original and ongoing military uses. Flags are also used in messaging, advertising
Advertising
Advertising is a form of communication used to persuade an audience to take some action with respect to products, ideas, or services. Most commonly, the desired result is to drive consumer behavior with respect to a commercial offering, although political and ideological advertising is also common...

, or for other decorative purposes. The study of flags is known as vexillology
Vexillology
Vexillology is the scholarly study of flags. The word is a synthesis of the Latin word vexillum, meaning 'flag', and the Greek suffix -logy, meaning 'study'. The vexillum was a particular type of flag used by Roman legions during the classical era; its name is a diminutive form of the word velum...

, from the Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 vexillum meaning flag or banner
Banner
A banner is a flag or other piece of cloth bearing a symbol, logo, slogan or other message. Banner-making is an ancient craft.The word derives from late Latin bandum, a cloth out of which a flag is made...

.

History


In antiquity, field sign
Field sign
A field sign is an unofficial differencing mark worn on a combatant's clothing to show the difference between friend and foe or a combatant and a civilian.-Examples:...

s or standards were used in warfare that can be categorized as vexilloid
Vexilloid
"Vexilloid" is a term used tenuously to describe vexillary objects used by countries, organizations, or individuals as a form of representation other than flags. Coined by Whitney Smith in 1958, he defined a vexilliod as:...

 or "flag-like". Examples include the Achaemenid battle standard Derafsh Kaviani
Derafsh Kaviani
The Derafsh Kaviani , was the legendary royal standard of the Sassanid kings. The banner was also sometimes called the "standard of Jamshid" , the "standard of Fereydun" , and the "royal standard" .-Name:The name Drafš e Kāvīān The Derafsh Kaviani (Middle Persian: Drafš e Kāvīān), was the...

, and the standards of the Roman legion
Roman legion
A Roman legion normally indicates the basic ancient Roman army unit recruited specifically from Roman citizens. The organization of legions varied greatly over time but they were typically composed of perhaps 5,000 soldiers, divided into maniples and later into "cohorts"...

s such as the eagle
Aquila (Roman)
The Aquila was the eagle standard of a Roman legion, carried by a special grade legionary known as an Aquilifer. One eagle standard was carried by each legion.-History:...

 of Augustus Caesar's Xth legion
Legio X Fretensis
Legio X Fretensis was a Roman legion levied by Augustus Caesar in 41/40 BC to fight during the period of civil war that started the dissolution of the Roman Republic...

, or the dragon standard
Draconarius
For the spider genus in the family Amaurobiidae, see : Draconarius .The draconarius was a type of signiferi who bore a cavalry standard known as a draco in the Roman army.- Name :...

 of the Sarmatians
Sarmatians
The Iron Age Sarmatians were an Iranian people in Classical Antiquity, flourishing from about the 5th century BC to the 4th century AD....

; the latter was let fly freely in the wind, carried by a horseman, but judging from depictions it was more similar to an elongated dragon kite than to a simple flag.

During the High Middle Ages
High Middle Ages
The High Middle Ages was the period of European history around the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries . The High Middle Ages were preceded by the Early Middle Ages and followed by the Late Middle Ages, which by convention end around 1500....

 flags came to be used primarily as a heraldic device
Heraldic flag
In heraldry and vexillology, an heraldic flag is any of several types of flags, containing coats of arms, heraldic badges, or other devices, used for personal identification....

 in battle, allowing more easily to identify a knight than only from the heraldic device painted on the shield.
Already during the high medieval period, and increasingly during the Late Middle Ages
Late Middle Ages
The Late Middle Ages was the period of European history generally comprising the 14th to the 16th century . The Late Middle Ages followed the High Middle Ages and preceded the onset of the early modern era ....

, city states and communes
Medieval commune
Medieval communes in the European Middle Ages had sworn allegiances of mutual defense among the citizens of a town or city. They took many forms, and varied widely in organization and makeup. Communes are first recorded in the late 11th and early 12th centuries, thereafter becoming a widespread...

 such as those of the Old Swiss Confederacy
Old Swiss Confederacy
The Old Swiss Confederacy was the precursor of modern-day Switzerland....

 also began to use flags as field signs.
Regimental flags for individual units became commonplace during the Early Modern period
Early modern period
In history, the early modern period of modern history follows the late Middle Ages. Although the chronological limits of the period are open to debate, the timeframe spans the period after the late portion of the Middle Ages through the beginning of the Age of Revolutions...

.

During the peak of the age of sail
Age of Sail
The Age of Sail was the period in which international trade and naval warfare were dominated by sailing ships, lasting from the 16th to the mid 19th century...

, beginning in the early 17th century, it has been customary (and later a legal requirement) for ships to carry flags designating their nationality; these flags eventually evolved into the national flags and maritime flags of today. Flags also became the preferred means of communication
Communication
Communication is the activity of conveying meaningful information. Communication requires a sender, a message, and an intended recipient, although the receiver need not be present or aware of the sender's intent to communicate at the time of communication; thus communication can occur across vast...

s at sea, resulting in various systems of flag signals; see, International maritime signal flags
International maritime signal flags
The system of international maritime signal flags is one system of flag signals representing individual letters of the alphabet in signals to or from ships...

.

Use of flags outside of military or naval context begins only with the rise of nationalist
Nationalism
Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...

 sentiment by the end of the 18th century; the earliest national flag
National flag
A national flag is a flag that symbolizes a country. The flag is flown by the government, but usually can also be flown by citizens of the country.Both public and private buildings such as schools and courthouses may fly the national flag...

s date to that period, and during the 19th century it became common for every sovereign state to introduce a national flag.

National flags






One of the most popular uses of a flag is to symbolize a nation
Nation
A nation may refer to a community of people who share a common language, culture, ethnicity, descent, and/or history. In this definition, a nation has no physical borders. However, it can also refer to people who share a common territory and government irrespective of their ethnic make-up...

 or country
Country
A country is a region legally identified as a distinct entity in political geography. A country may be an independent sovereign state or one that is occupied by another state, as a non-sovereign or formerly sovereign political division, or a geographic region associated with a previously...

. Some national flag
National flag
A national flag is a flag that symbolizes a country. The flag is flown by the government, but usually can also be flown by citizens of the country.Both public and private buildings such as schools and courthouses may fly the national flag...

s have been particularly inspirational to other nations, countries, or subnational entities in the design of their own flags. Some prominent examples include:
  • The flag of Denmark
    Flag of Denmark
    The national flag of Denmark, Dannebrog is red with a white Scandinavian cross that extends to the edges of the flag; the vertical part of the cross is shifted to the hoist side...

     is the oldest state flag
    State flag
    There are two separate meanings for the term state flag in vexillology – the flag of the government of a sovereign state, and the flag of an individual subnational state.-Government flag:...

     still in use (dates back to the 13th century). This flag, called the Dannebrog
    Flag of Denmark
    The national flag of Denmark, Dannebrog is red with a white Scandinavian cross that extends to the edges of the flag; the vertical part of the cross is shifted to the hoist side...

    , inspired the cross design
    Nordic Cross Flag
    The Nordic Cross Flag, Nordic Cross, or Scandinavian Cross is a pattern of flags usually associated with the flags of the Scandinavian countries of which it originated. All of the Nordic countries except Greenland have adopted such flags...

     of the other Nordic countries
    Nordic countries
    The Nordic countries make up a region in Northern Europe and the North Atlantic which consists of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden and their associated territories, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland...

    : Norway
    Flag of Norway
    The flag of Norway is red with an indigo blue Scandinavian cross outlined in white that extends to the edges of the flag; the vertical part of the cross is shifted to the hoist side in the style of the Dannebrog, the flag of Denmark.- History :...

    , Sweden
    Flag of Sweden
    The flag of Sweden is a Scandinavian cross that extends to the edges of the flag. This Scandinavian cross represents Christianity. The design and colours of the Swedish flag are believed to have been inspired by the present Coat of arms of Sweden of 1442, which is blue divided quarterly by a cross...

    , Finland
    Flag of Finland
    The flag of Finland , also called Siniristilippu , dates from the beginning of the 20th century. On a white background, it features a blue Nordic cross, which represents Christianity. The state flag has a coat of arms in the centre, but is otherwise identical to the civil flag. The swallow-tailed...

    , Iceland
    Flag of Iceland
    The flag of Iceland was officially described in Law No. 34, set out on 17 June 1944, the day Iceland became a republic. The law is entitled "The Law of the National Flag of Icelanders and the State Arms" and describes the Icelandic flag as follows:...

    , and regional Scandinavian flags for the Faroe Islands
    Flag of the Faroe Islands
    The flag of the Faroe Islands is an offset cross, which represents Christianity, following as with other Nordic flags the tradition set by Dannebrog. The flag is called Merkið which means "the banner" or "the mark"...

    , Åland
    Flag of Åland
    The flag of Åland refers to the geographical and political position of the Finnish islands of Åland. It is the Swedish flag defaced by a red cross symbolising Finland...

    , Scania
    Flag of Skåneland
    The flag of Scania, or the Scanian Cross Flag is a provincial flag, representing Scania, the southernmost province of Sweden.There are two other more official regional flags, one being the banner of arms of Skåne Regional Council , adopted 9 February 1999: On a field of blue a yellow crowned...

     and Bornholm
    Flag of Bornholm
    The flag of Bornholm emerged in the mid-1970s after a design by local painter Bent Kaas, and is used to some extent. Mainly as a souvenir bought by tourists, military units while on exercise in Denmark and on foreign missions, and by mainly German sailors visiting Bornholm. It is the Danish flag...

    , as well as flags for the non-Scandinavian Shetland
    Flag of Shetland
    The flag of Shetland was designed by Roy Grønneberg and Bill Adams in 1969. It was unofficially created to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the transfer of the islands from Norway to the Kingdom of Scotland and the 500 years before as part of Norway....

     and Orkney
    Flag of Orkney
    The new official Orkney Community Flag was the winner of a public flag consultation in February and March 2007. In the flag consultation the people of Orkney were asked for their preferred design from a short list of 5, all of which had been approved by the Court of the Lord Lyon...

    .
  • The flag of the Netherlands
    Flag of the Netherlands
    The flag of the Netherlands is a horizontal tricolour of red, white, and blue. Since 1937, the flag has officially been the national flag of the Netherlands and of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.-Description:...

     is the oldest tricolor
    Tricolour
    A tricolour is a flag or banner more-or-less equally divided into three bands of differing colours...

    , first appearing in 1572 as the Prince's Flag in orange–white–blue. Soon the more famous red–white–blue began appearing—it is however unknown why, though many stories are known. After 1630 the red–white–blue was the most commonly seen flag. The Dutch Tricolor has inspired many flags but most notably those of Russia
    Russia
    Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

    , New York City
    New York City
    New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

    , and South Africa
    South Africa
    The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

     (the 1928–94 flag as well the current flag).
  • The national flag of France
    Flag of France
    The national flag of France is a tricolour featuring three vertical bands coloured royal blue , white, and red...

     was designed in 1794. As a forerunner of revolution, France's tricolour flag style has been adopted by other nations. Examples: Italy
    Flag of Italy
    The flag of Italy is a tricolour featuring three equally sized vertical pales of green, white, and red, with the green at the hoist side...

    , Costa Rica
    Flag of Costa Rica
    The official flag of the Republic of Costa Rica is based on a design created in 1848. The state/national flag, also used as the military ensign, includes the coat of arms of Costa Rica...

    , Dominican Republic, Ireland
    Flag of Ireland
    The national flag of Ireland is a vertical tricolour of green , white, and orange. It is also known as the Irish tricolour. The flag proportion is 1:2...

    , Haiti
    Flag of Haiti
    The flag of Haiti consists of two horizontal bars, blue over red, defaced by a white panel bearing the Haitian coat of arms.The coat of arms depicts a trophy of weapons ready to defend freedom and a royal palm for independence...

    , Romania
    Flag of Romania
    The national flag of Romania is a tricolour with vertical stripes: beginning from the flagpole, blue, yellow and red. It has a width-length ratio of 2:3....

    , Mexico
    Flag of Mexico
    The flag of Mexico is a vertical tricolor of green, white, and red with the national coat of arms charged in the center of the white stripe. While the meaning of the colors has changed over time, these three colors were adopted by Mexico following independence from Spain during the country's War...

    , etc.
  • The flag of Russia
    Flag of Russia
    The flag of Russia is a tricolour flag of three equal horizontal fields, white on the top, blue in the middle and red on the bottom. The flag was first used as an ensign for Russian merchant and war ships and only became official in 1896...

    , the source for the Pan-Slavic colors red, white and blue, adopted by many Slavic
    Slavic peoples
    The Slavic people are an Indo-European panethnicity living in Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, North Asia and Central Asia. The term Slavic represents a broad ethno-linguistic group of people, who speak languages belonging to the Slavic language family and share, to varying degrees, certain...

     states and peoples as their symbols. Examples: Slovakia
    Flag of Slovakia
    The current form of the flag of Slovakia was adopted by Slovakia's Constitution, which came into force on 3 September 1992. The flag, in common with other Slavic nations, uses the white, blue and red colours....

    , Serbia
    Flag of Serbia
    The flag of Serbia is a tricolour consisting of three equal horizontal bands, red on the top, blue in the middle and white on the bottom. The same tricolour, in some variations, was the flag of Serbia throughout its history, and is the ethnic flag of the Serbian people.The state flag bears the...

    , Croatia
    Flag of Croatia
    The flag of Croatia is one of the state symbols of Croatia. It consists of three equal size, horizontal stripes in colours red, white and blue. The flag combines the colours of the flags of the Kingdom of Croatia , the Kingdom of Slavonia and the Kingdom of Dalmatia...

    , and Slovenia
    Flag of Slovenia
    The national flag of Slovenia features three equal horizontal bands of white , blue, and red, with the Slovenian coat of arms located in the upper hoist side of the flag centered in the white and blue bands...

    .
  • The Union Flag
    Union Flag
    The Union Flag, also known as the Union Jack, is the flag of the United Kingdom. It retains an official or semi-official status in some Commonwealth Realms; for example, it is known as the Royal Union Flag in Canada. It is also used as an official flag in some of the smaller British overseas...

     (Union Jack) of the United Kingdom
    United Kingdom
    The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

     is the most commonly used. British colonies typically flew a flag based on one of the ensigns based on this flag, and many former colonies have retained the design to acknowledge their cultural history. Examples: Australia
    Flag of Australia
    The flag of Australia is a defaced Blue Ensign: a blue field with the Union Flag in the canton , and a large white seven-pointed star known as the Commonwealth Star in the lower hoist quarter...

    , Fiji
    Flag of Fiji
    Prior to ceding the country to British rule in 1874, the government of Fiji adopted a national flag featuring blue and white vertical stripes, with in the centre a red shield depicting a white dove. This flag ceased to be used when the colonial era began and Fiji relinquished its independence...

    , New Zealand
    Flag of New Zealand
    The flag of New Zealand is a defaced Blue Ensign with the Union Flag in the canton, and four red stars with white borders to the right. The stars represent the constellation of Crux, the Southern Cross....

    , Tuvalu
    Flag of Tuvalu
    The current flag of Tuvalu was instated when the country became independent in 1978, after the separation from the Gilbert Islands in 1976.-Features:...

    , and also the Canadian provinces of Manitoba
    Flag of Manitoba
    The flag of Manitoba is a variation of the Red Ensign which bears the shield of the provincial coat of arms. This flag was approved by the passage of a bill in the Manitoba Legislative Assembly on May 11, 1965. Queen Elizabeth II having given permission for the use of the Union device in October...

    , Ontario
    Flag of Ontario
    The flag of Ontario was enacted by the Flag Act on May 21, 1965 in the Legislature of the Province of Ontario. The flag is a defaced Red Ensign, with the Union Flag in the canton and the Ontario shield of arms in the fly....

     and British Columbia
    Flag of British Columbia
    The flag of British Columbia is based upon the shield of the provincial arms of British Columbia. At the top of the flag is a rendition of the Union Flag, defaced in the centre by a crown, representing the province's origins as a British colony, with a setting sun below.-History:The British...

    , and the American state of Hawaii
    Flag of Hawaii
    The flag of the state of Hawaii is the official standard symbolizing Hawaii as a U.S. state. The same flag had also previously been used by the kingdom, protectorate, republic, and territory of Hawaii...

    ; see commons:Flags based on British ensigns.
  • The flag of the United States
    Flag of the United States
    The national flag of the United States of America consists of thirteen equal horizontal stripes of red alternating with white, with a blue rectangle in the canton bearing fifty small, white, five-pointed stars arranged in nine offset horizontal rows of six stars alternating with rows...

    , also nicknamed The Stars and Stripes or Old Glory. Some nations imitated this flag so as to symbolize their similarity to the United States and/or the American Revolution
    American Revolution
    The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

    . Examples: Liberia
    Flag of Liberia
    The Liberian flag bears close resemblance to the flag of the United States, showing the ex-American slave origins of the country. The Liberian flag has similar red and white stripes, as well as a blue square with a white star in the canton.- Symbolism :...

    , Chile
    Flag of Chile
    The national flag of Chile, consists of two unequal horizontal bands of white and red and a blue square the same height as the white band in the canton, which bears a white five-pointed star in the center. It was adopted on October 18, 1817...

    , Malaysia
    Flag of Malaysia
    -Flag anthem:The Jalur Gemilang flag anthem was introduced in 1997. The lyrics were written by Pak Ngah.-Original lyrics:-Flag anthem:The Jalur Gemilang flag anthem was introduced in 1997. The lyrics were written by Pak Ngah.-Original lyrics:-Flag anthem:...

    , Uruguay
    Flag of Uruguay
    The national flag of Uruguay has a field of nine equal horizontal stripes alternating white and blue. The canton is white, charged with the Sun of May, from which 16 rays extend, alternating between triangular and wavy...

    , and the French region of Brittany
    Flag of Brittany
    The flag of Brittany is called the Gwenn-ha-du, pronounced , which means white and black in Breton. It is also unofficially used in the département of Loire-Atlantique, although this now belongs to the Pays de la Loire and not to the région of Brittany, as the territory of Loire-Atlantique is...

    .
  • The original tricolor Flag of Iran
    Flag of Iran
    The current flag of Iran was adopted on 29 July 1980, and is a reflection of the changes brought about by the Iranian Revolution. Its field is a tricolour comprising equal horizontal bands of green, white, and red...

    , the source for the Pan-Iranian colors
    Pan-Iranian colors
    The Pan-Iranian colors, green, white and red, are colors used on the flags of some countries and autonomous provinces inhabited by Iranian peoples...

     green, white and red adopted by many Indo-Iranian
    Indo-Iranians
    Indo-Iranian peoples are a linguistic group consisting of the Indo-Aryan, Iranian, Dardic and Nuristani peoples; that is, speakers of Indo-Iranian languages, a major branch of the Indo-European language family....

     or Aryan
    Aryan
    Aryan is an English language loanword derived from Sanskrit ārya and denoting variously*In scholarly usage:**Indo-Iranian languages *in dated usage:**the Indo-European languages more generally and their speakers...

     states and peoples as their symbols. Examples: Tajikistan
    Flag of Tajikistan
    Tajikistan was the last of the former Soviet republics to reveal a new flag , which was adopted in November 1992. The one common link between this and the 1953 SSR flag is the choice of colors - red, white and green. The former Tajik SSR, sometimes referred to as the "Tadzhik SSR" , added white and...

    , Kurdistan, Republic of Ararat
    Republic of Ararat
    The Republic of Ararat or Kurdish Republic of Ararat was a self-proclaimed Kurdish state. It was located in the northeasten part of modern Turkey, being centered on Karaköse Province...

    , Talysh-Mughan
    Talysh-Mughan Autonomous Republic
    The Talysh-Mughan Autonomous Republic was a short-lived self-proclaimed autonomous republic in Azerbaijan, that lasted from June to August 1993. It was located in extreme southeastern Azerbaijan, envisaging to consist in the 7 administrative districts of Azerbaijan around the regional capital city...

    .
  • Ethiopia
    Ethiopia
    Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

     was seen as a model by emerging Africa
    Africa
    Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

    n states of the 1950s and 1960s, as it was one of the oldest independent states in Africa. Accordingly, its flag
    Flag of Ethiopia
    The flag of Ethiopia is a flag that was adopted on February 6, 1996. It conforms to the specifications set forth in article 3 of the 1995 Constitution of Ethiopia. The three traditional colours date back to Emperor Menelik and were first used in a flag in 1897...

     became the source of the Pan-African colors
    Pan-African colours
    Two different sets of three colours are referred to as the Pan-African colours: the red, green and gold first used in the flag of Ethiopia and Eritrea before the countries broke apart; and the red, green and black adopted by the American-based Universal Negro Improvement Association and African...

    , or "Rasta colors". Examples: Togo
    Flag of Togo
    The flag of Togo was adopted on April 27, 1960. It has five equal horizontal bands of green alternating with yellow. There is a white five-pointed star on a red square in the upper hoist-side corner...

    , Senegal
    Flag of Senegal
    The origins of the flag of Senegal lie in the former Mali Federation, whose flag was identical, spare for a stylized black silhouette in the central section. It bears the Pan-African colours. The flag in its modern form was officially adopted on August 20, 1960.-Historical flags:...

    , Ghana
    Flag of Ghana
    The flag of Ghana was designed to replace the flag of the United Kingdom upon attainment of independence in 1957. It was flown until 1959, and then reinstated in 1966. It consists of the Pan-African colours of red, yellow, and green, in horizontal stripes, with a black five-pointed star in the...

    , Mali
    Flag of Mali
    The flag of Mali is a tricolour with three equal vertical stripes. From the hoist the colours are green, gold, and red, the pan-African colors. The flag is identical to the flag of Guinea, with the exception that the colors are in reverse order.The current flag was adopted on March 1, 1961...

    .
  • The flag
    Flag of Turkey
    The flag of Turkey is a red flag with a white crescent moon and a star in its centre. The flag is called Ayyıldız or Albayrak . The Turkish flag is referred to as Alsancak in the Turkish National Anthem....

     of Turkey
    Turkey
    Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

    , which is very similar to last flag of the old Ottoman Empire
    Ottoman Empire
    The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

    , has been an inspiration for the flag designs of many other Muslim nations. During the time of the Ottomans the crescent
    Crescent
    In art and symbolism, a crescent is generally the shape produced when a circular disk has a segment of another circle removed from its edge, so that what remains is a shape enclosed by two circular arcs of different diameters which intersect at two points .In astronomy, a crescent...

     began to be associated with Islam
    Islam
    Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

     and this is reflected on the flags of Algeria
    Flag of Algeria
    The national flag of Algeria consists of two equal vertical bars, green and white, charged in the center with a red star and crescent...

    , Azerbaijan
    Flag of Azerbaijan
    The flag of Azerbaijan is the national flag of Azerbaijan. It consists of an horizontal tricolour of blue, red, and green, with a white crescent and an eight-pointed star centered in the red band. The blue band refers to the nation's Turkic heritage, the red stands for progress, and the green...

    , Comoros, Libya
    Flag of Libya
    The Libyan Independence Flag or Flag of Libya was the original flag of the Kingdom of Libya introduced in 1951 following the creation of the Libyan state in the post World War II period...

    , Malaysia
    Flag of Malaysia
    -Flag anthem:The Jalur Gemilang flag anthem was introduced in 1997. The lyrics were written by Pak Ngah.-Original lyrics:-Flag anthem:The Jalur Gemilang flag anthem was introduced in 1997. The lyrics were written by Pak Ngah.-Original lyrics:-Flag anthem:...

    , Mauritania
    Flag of Mauritania
    The flag of Mauritania is the common name for the national flag of Mauritania in north-west Africa. The flag was adopted on April 1, 1959. It was introduced under the instructions of Moktar Ould Daddah, and the subsequent constitution of 22 March 1959....

    , Pakistan
    Flag of Pakistan
    The national flag of Pakistan was adopted in its present form during a meeting of the Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947, just three days before the country's independence, when it became the official flag of the Dominion of Pakistan. It was afterwards retained by the current-day Islamic...

     and of Tunisia
    Flag of Tunisia
    The flag of Tunisia, adopted as national flag in 1959, was in origin the naval ensign of the kingdom of Tunis, adopted either in 1831 or 1835 by Al-Husayn II ibn Mahmud...

    .
  • The Pan-Arab colors
    Pan-Arab colors
    The Pan-Arab colors are black, white, green, and red. They were first combined in the flag of the Arab Revolt in 1916. They are used currently in the flags of Jordan, Kuwait, Palestinian Authority, Sahrawi Republic, Sudan, Libya and the United Arab Emirates. A sub-set of the Pan-Arab colors are...

    , green, white, red and black, are derived from the flag of the Great Arab Revolt
    Arab Revolt
    The Arab Revolt was initiated by the Sherif Hussein bin Ali with the aim of securing independence from the ruling Ottoman Turks and creating a single unified Arab state spanning from Aleppo in Syria to Aden in Yemen.- Background :...

     as seen on the flags of Jordan
    Flag of Jordan
    The flag of Jordan, officially adopted on 16 April 1928, is based on the flag of the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire during World War I. The flag consists of horizontal black, white, and green bands that are connected by a red chevron. The colors stand are the Pan-Arab Colors, representing...

    , Kuwait
    Flag of Kuwait
    The flag of Kuwait was adopted on September 7, 1961, and officially hoisted November 24, 1961.Before 1961, the flag of Kuwait, like those of other Gulf states, was red and white with the word "الكويت" in the middle. The present flag is in the Pan-Arab colours, but each colour is also significant...

    , Sudan
    Flag of Sudan
    The flag of Sudan was adopted on May 20, 1970, and consists of a horizontal red-white-black tricolor, with a green triangle at the hoist. The flag is based on the Arab Liberation Flag shared by Egypt, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, that uses a subset of the Pan-Arab colors in which green is less...

    , Syria
    Flag of Syria
    The flag of Syria was re-adopted in 1980. The flag was formerly the flag of the United Arab Republic.-History:The first modern flag of Syria was adopted in 1920, and was similar to the current flag of Jordan with the green and white colours reversed...

    , the United Arab Emirates, Western Sahara, Egypt
    Flag of Egypt
    The flag of Egypt is a tricolour consisting of the three equal horizontal red, white, and black bands of the Arab Liberation flag dating back to the Egyptian Revolution of 1952. The flag bears Egypt's national emblem, the Eagle of Saladin centered in the white band...

    , Iraq
    Flag of Iraq
    The flag of Iraq consists of the three equal horizontal red, white, and black bands of the Arab Liberation Flag. The flag has been in use since 1963, with several changes to the green symbols in the central white band, the most recent version bearing the Takbir rendered in green. Following the U.S...

    , Yemen
    Flag of Yemen
    The flag of Yemen was adopted on May 22, 1990, the day that North Yemen and South Yemen were unified. The flag is essentially the Arab Liberation Flag of 1952, introduced after the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 in which Arab nationalism was a dominant theme...

     and Palestine
    Palestinian flag
    The Palestinian flag is based on the Flag of the Arab Revolt, and is used to represent the Palestinian people , and the Palestinian Authority.-Description:...

    .
  • The Soviet flag
    Flag of the Soviet Union
    The flag of the Soviet Union consisted of a plain red flag, with a setting or cross-peen hammer crossed with a sickle and a red star in the upper canton...

    , with its golden symbols of the hammer and sickle
    Hammer and sickle
    The hammer and sickle is a part of communist symbolism and its usage indicates an association with Communism, a Communist party, or a Communist state. It features a hammer and a sickle overlapping each other. The two tools are symbols of the industrial proletariat and the peasantry; placing them...

     on a red field, was an inspiration to flags of other communist
    Communism
    Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

     states, such as East Germany, People's Republic of China
    Flag of the People's Republic of China
    The flag of the People's Republic of China is a red field charged in the canton with five golden stars. The design features one large star, with four smaller stars in a semicircle set off towards the fly...

    , Vietnam
    Flag of Vietnam
    The flag of Vietnam, also known as the "red flag with yellow star" , was designed in 1940 and used during an uprising against French rule in Cochinchina that year. The flag was used by the Việt Minh, a communist-led organization created in 1941 to oppose Japanese occupation...

    , Angola
    Flag of Angola
    The national flag of Angola came into use at independence on November 11, 1975. It is split horizontally into an upper red half and a lower black half.As in some other African countries, this flag is a modification of the ruling party's flag...

    , Afghanistan
    Flag of Afghanistan
    The flag of Afghanistan was adopted by the transitional government of the Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan in 2002–2004. This flag is similar to the one flown in Afghanistan during the monarchy between 1930 and 1973...

     and Mozambique
    Flag of Mozambique
    The flag of Mozambique was adopted on May 1, 1983. It includes the image of an AK-47 with a bayonet attached to the barrel and is the only national flag in the world to feature such a modern rifle....

    .
  • The flag
    Flag of Venezuela
    The current flag of Venezuela was introduced in 2006.The basic design includes a horizontal tricolor of yellow, blue, and red, dating to the original flag introduced in 1811, in the Venezuelan War of Independence....

     of Venezuela
    Venezuela
    Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

    , created by Francisco de Miranda
    Francisco de Miranda
    Sebastián Francisco de Miranda Ravelo y Rodríguez de Espinoza , commonly known as Francisco de Miranda , was a Venezuelan revolutionary...

     to represent the independence movement in Venezuela that later gave birth to the "Gran Colombia", inspired the flags of Colombia
    Flag of Colombia
    After Miranda later designed his flag based on this conversation, he happily recalled seeing a fresco by Lazzaro Tavarone in the Palazzo Belimbau in Genoa that depicted Christopher Columbus unfurling a similar-coloured flag in Veragua during his fourth voyage....

     and Ecuador
    Flag of Ecuador
    The flag of Ecuador, which consists of horizontal bands of yellow , blue and red, was first adopted on September 26, 1860. The design of the current flag was finalized in 1900 with the addition of the coat of arms in the center of the flag. Before using the yellow, blue and red tricolor, Ecuador...

    , both sharing three bands of yellow, blue and red with the flag of Venezuela.
  • The flag
    Flag of Argentina
    The national flag of Argentina is a triband, composed of three equally wide horizontal bands coloured light blue, white and light blue. There are multiple interpretations on the reasons for those colors...

     of Argentina
    Argentina
    Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

    , created by Manuel Belgrano
    Manuel Belgrano
    Manuel José Joaquín del Corazón de Jesús Belgrano , usually referred to as Manuel Belgrano, was an Argentine economist, lawyer, politician, and military leader. He took part in the Argentine Wars of Independence and created the Flag of Argentina...

     during the war of independence, was the inspiration for the United Provinces of Central America's flag, which in turn was the origin for the flags of Guatemala
    Flag of Guatemala
    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 Atlantic Ocean ; and the sky over the country . The white color signifies peace and purity.In the center of the...

    , Honduras
    Flag of Honduras
    This national flag of Honduras was adopted on March 7, 1866, based on the flag of the Federal Republic of Central America.In 1823 Honduras joined the United Provinces of Central America and adopted their flag. In 1866 it was amended; five cerulean stars were placed in the center to represent the 5...

    , El Salvador
    Flag of El Salvador
    The flag of El Salvador was inspired by the flag of the Federal Republic of Central America, and by the flag of Argentina, the country that sent one of the first fleets to help consummate the independence of Central American republics from Spain....

    , and Nicaragua
    Flag of Nicaragua
    The flag of Nicaragua was officially adopted on August 27, 1971 . It is based on the flag of the United States of Central America and inspired by the Argentine flag.-Overview:...

    .
  • The Flag of Greece
    Flag of Greece
    The flag of Greece , officially recognized by Greece as one of its national symbols, is based on nine equal horizontal stripes of blue alternating with white...

    , nicknamed "Ἡ Γαλανόλευκη" (Gr: The Blue-and-white) was designed in 1807 and standardised in its current form in 1980. it is blue and white in colour, with an equilateral white cross on a rectangular blue background in the upper left (mast) corner and nine horizontal stripes alternating between blue and white, the two extreme ones being blue and the third one being the "continuation" of the cross' horizontal bar. The cross symoblises the Christian faith of the country and the nine stripes the number of the syllables of the War of Independence motto "Ἐλευθερία ἤ Θάνατος" (Ε-λευ-θε-ρι-α-η-θα-να-τος, pronounced: Eleftheria i thanatos, Gr: Freedom or Death) or, in another version, the number of the letters of the wword "Ἐλευθερία".


National flag designs are often used to signify nationality in other forms, such as flag patch
Flag patch
A flag patch is a piece of fabric displaying the national flag of a country. The image of the flag is usually produced by embroidery, using different colored threads. It can also be produced by printing directly on the fabric, although this is less common...

es.

Civil flags



A civil flag is a version of the national flag that is flown by civilians on non-government installations or craft. The use of civil flags was more common in the past, in order to denote buildings or ships that were not manned by the military. In some countries the civil flag is the same as the war flag
War flag
A war flag is a variant of a national flag for use by the nation's military forces on land. The nautical equivalent is a naval ensign — the battle ensign...

 or state flag
State flag
There are two separate meanings for the term state flag in vexillology – the flag of the government of a sovereign state, and the flag of an individual subnational state.-Government flag:...

, but without the coat of arms, such as in the case of Spain
Flag of Spain
The flag of Spain , as it is defined in the Spanish Constitution of 1978, consists of three horizontal stripes: red, yellow and red, the yellow stripe being twice the size of each red stripe...

, and in others it's an alteration of the war flag.

War flags


Several countries (including the United Kingdom
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 and the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

) have had unique flags flown by their armed forces
Armed forces
The armed forces of a country are its government-sponsored defense, fighting forces, and organizations. They exist to further the foreign and domestic policies of their governing body, and to defend that body and the nation it represents from external aggressors. In some countries paramilitary...

, rather than the national flag
National flag
A national flag is a flag that symbolizes a country. The flag is flown by the government, but usually can also be flown by citizens of the country.Both public and private buildings such as schools and courthouses may fly the national flag...

.

Other countries' armed forces (such as those of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 or Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

) use their standard national flag. The Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

' armed forces may use their standard national flag, but during times of war the flag is turned upside down. Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

's flag is also turned upside down during times of war. These are also considered war flags, though the terminology only applies to the flag's military usage.

Large versions of the war flag flown on the warship
Warship
A warship is a ship that is built and primarily intended for combat. Warships are usually built in a completely different way from merchant ships. As well as being armed, warships are designed to withstand damage and are usually faster and more maneuvrable than merchant ships...

s of countries' navies
Navy
A navy is the branch of a nation's armed forces principally designated for naval and amphibious warfare; namely, lake- or ocean-borne combat operations and related functions...

 are known as battle ensign
Battle ensign
A battle ensign is the name given to a large war flag which is flown on a warship's mast just before going into battle.The flag identified the allegiance of the ship in what could be a very confusing situation, with thick clouds of gunsmoke obscuring the ships in action, hence the large size of...

s. In war waving a white flag is a banner of truce.

Four distinctive African flags currently in the collection of the National Maritime Museum
National Maritime Museum
The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England is the leading maritime museum of the United Kingdom and may be the largest museum of its kind in the world. The historic buildings forming part of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site, it also incorporates the Royal Observatory, Greenwich,...

 in Britain were flown in action by Itsekiri
Itsekiri
The Itsekiri are an ethnic group of Nigeria's Niger Delta area, Delta State. The Itsekiri presently number between 800,000–1,000,000 people and live mainly in the Warri South, Warri North and Warri South West local government districts of Delta State on the Atlantic Coast of Nigeria...

 ships under the control of Nana Olomu
Nana Olomu
Nana Olomu was an Itsekiri chief and merchant from the Niger Delta region of southern Nigeria. He was the fourth Itsekiri chief to hold the position of Governor of Benin River.-Background to conflict with the British:...

 during conflict in the late 19th century. One is the flag generally known as the Benin flag
Flag of the Benin Empire
The putative flag of the Benin Empire is a distinctive late 19th-century West African flag, frequently but probably erroneously described as the flag of the Empire of Benin. It is one of four currently held at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich near London. The Museum however describes...

 and one is referred to as Nana Olomu's flag.

International flags


Among international flags are the Flag of the United Nations
Flag of the United Nations
The flag of the United Nations was adopted on October 20, 1947, and consists of the official emblem of the United Nations in white on a blue background. The emblem's design is described as:...

, the Olympic flag, the Paralympic flag, The EU flag and the World Flag
World Flag
The World Flag was created to raise awareness and funding for non-profit organizations working in the areas of Education, World Health, Human Rights and the Environment...

.

Flags at sea


Flags are particularly important at sea, where they can mean the difference between life and death, and consequently where the rules and regulations for the flying of flags are strictly enforced. A national flag flown at sea is known as an ensign
Ensign
An ensign is a national flag when used at sea, in vexillology, or a distinguishing token, emblem, or badge, such as a symbol of office in heraldry...

. A courteous, peaceable merchant ship
Merchant Navy
The Merchant Navy is the maritime register of the United Kingdom, and describes the seagoing commercial interests of UK-registered ships and their crews. Merchant Navy vessels fly the Red Ensign and are regulated by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency...

 or yacht
Yacht
A yacht is a recreational boat or ship. The term originated from the Dutch Jacht meaning "hunt". It was originally defined as a light fast sailing vessel used by the Dutch navy to pursue pirates and other transgressors around and into the shallow waters of the Low Countries...

 customarily flies its ensign (in the usual ensign position), together with the flag of whatever nation it is currently visiting at the mast (known as a courtesy flag). To fly one's ensign alone in foreign waters, a foreign port or in the face of a foreign warship traditionally indicates a willingness to fight, with cannon
Cannon
A cannon is any piece of artillery that uses gunpowder or other usually explosive-based propellents to launch a projectile. Cannon vary in caliber, range, mobility, rate of fire, angle of fire, and firepower; different forms of cannon combine and balance these attributes in varying degrees,...

, for the right to do so. As of 2009, this custom is still taken seriously by many naval and port authorities and is readily enforced in many parts of the world by boarding, confiscation and other civil penalties.

In some countries yacht ensigns are different from merchant ensigns in order to signal that the yacht is not carrying cargo
Cargo
Cargo is goods or produce transported, generally for commercial gain, by ship, aircraft, train, van or truck. In modern times, containers are used in most intermodal long-haul cargo transport.-Marine:...

 that requires a customs
Customs
Customs is an authority or agency in a country responsible for collecting and safeguarding customs duties and for controlling the flow of goods including animals, transports, personal effects and hazardous items in and out of a country...

 declaration. Carrying commercial cargo on a boat with a yacht ensign is deemed to be smuggling
Smuggling
Smuggling is the clandestine transportation of goods or persons, such as out of a building, into a prison, or across an international border, in violation of applicable laws or other regulations.There are various motivations to smuggle...

 in many jurisdictions.

There is a system of international maritime signal flags
International maritime signal flags
The system of international maritime signal flags is one system of flag signals representing individual letters of the alphabet in signals to or from ships...

 for numerals and letters of the alphabet. Each flag or pennant has a specific meaning when flown individually.

As well, semaphore flags
Flag semaphore
Semaphore Flags is the system for conveying information at a distance by means of visual signals with hand-held flags, rods, disks, paddles, or occasionally bare or gloved hands. Information is encoded by the position of the flags; it is read when the flag is in a fixed position...

 can be used to communicate on an ad hoc basis from ship to ship over short distances.

Traditionally, a vessel flying under the courtesy flag of a specific nation, regardless of the vessel's country of registry, is considered to be operating under the law of her 'host' nation.

Shapes and designs


Flags are usually rectangular in shape (often in the ratio 2:3, 1:2, or 3:5), but may be of any shape or size that is practical for flying, including square, triangular, or swallow tailed. A more unusual flag shape is that of the flag of Nepal
Flag of Nepal
The national flag of Nepal is the world's only national flag that is non-quadrilateral in shape. The flag is a simplified combination of two single pennons, the vexillological word for a pennant. Its crimson red is the colour of the rhododendron, the country's national flower. Red is also the sign...

, which is in the shape of two stacked triangles. Other unusual flag shapes include the flag of Ohio
Flag of Ohio
The flag of the state of Ohio was adopted in 1902 and designed by John Eisemann, for the 1901 Pan-American Exposition.-Design:The large blue triangle represents Ohio's hills and valleys, and the stripes represent roads and waterways...

 and the flag of Tampa.

Many flags are dyed through and through
Through and through
Through and through describes a situation where an object, real or imaginary, passes completely through another object, also real or imaginary...

 to be inexpensive to manufacture, such that the reverse side is the mirror image
Mirror image
A mirror image is a reflected duplication of an object that appears identical but reversed. As an optical effect it results from reflection off of substances such as a mirror or water. It is also a concept in geometry and can be used as a conceptualization process for 3-D structures...

 of the obverse (front) side, generally the side displayed when the flag is flying from the observer's point of view from left, the side of the pole, to right. This presents two possibilities:
  1. If the design is symmetrical in an axis parallel to the flag pole, obverse and reverse will be identical despite the mirror-reversal, such as the Indian Flag
    Flag of India
    The National flag of India is a horizontal rectangular tricolour of deep saffron, white and India green; with the Ashok Chakra, a 24-spoke wheel, in navy blue at its centre. It was adopted in its present form during a meeting of the Constituent Assembly held on 22 July 1947, when it became the...

     or Canadian Flag
    Flag of Canada
    The national flag of Canada, also known as the Maple Leaf, and , is a red flag with a white square in its centre, featuring a stylized 11-pointed red maple leaf. Its adoption in 1965 marked the first time a national flag had been officially adopted in Canada to replace the Union Flag...

  2. If not, the obverse and reverse will present two variants of the same design, one with the hoist on the left (usually considered the obverse side, see flag illustrations), the other with the hoist on the right (usually considered the reverse side of the flag). This is very common and usually not disturbing if there is no text in the design. See also US reverse side flag.


Some complex flag designs are not intended for through and through implementation, requiring separate obverse and reverse sides if made correctly. In these cases there is a design element (usually text) which is not symmetric and should be read in the same direction, regardless of whether the hoist is to the viewer's left or right. These cases can be divided into two types:
  1. The same (asymmetric) design may be duplicated on both sides. Such flags can be manufactured by creating two identical through and through flags and then sewing them back to back, though this can affect the resulting combination's responsiveness to the wind. Depictions of such flags may be marked with the symbol , indicating the reverse is congruent to (rather than a mirror image of) the obverse.
  2. Rarely, the reverse design may differ, in whole or in part, from that of the obverse. Examples are the flag of Paraguay
    Flag of Paraguay
    The flag of Paraguay was adopted in 1842. It is the only national flag with different emblems on its obverse and reverse sides.-Description:...

    , the flag of Oregon
    Flag of Oregon
    The flag of the state of Oregon is a two-sided flag in navy blue and gold with an optional gold fringe. On the front is the escutcheon from the state seal and on the reverse is a gold figure of a beaver, the state animal. Oregon is the only U.S. state to have a two-sided flag.-History:The current...

    , and the historical flag of the Soviet Union
    Flag of the Soviet Union
    The flag of the Soviet Union consisted of a plain red flag, with a setting or cross-peen hammer crossed with a sickle and a red star in the upper canton...

    . Depictions of such flags may be marked with the symbol .

Common designs on flags include crosses, stripes, and divisions of the surface, or field, into bands or quarters—patterns and principles mainly derived from heraldry
Heraldry
Heraldry is the profession, study, or art of creating, granting, and blazoning arms and ruling on questions of rank or protocol, as exercised by an officer of arms. Heraldry comes from Anglo-Norman herald, from the Germanic compound harja-waldaz, "army commander"...

. A heraldic coat of arms may also be flown as a banner of arms, as is done on both the state flag of Maryland
Flag of Maryland
The flag of the state of Maryland consists of the heraldic banner of George Calvert, 1st Baron Baltimore. It is the only state flag in the United States to be based on English heraldry. The flag of the state of Maryland consists of the heraldic banner of George Calvert, 1st Baron Baltimore. It is...

 and the flag of Kiribati
Flag of Kiribati
The flag of Kiribati: the upper half is red with a gold frigatebird flying over a gold rising sun , and the lower half is blue with three horizontal wavy white stripes to represent the ocean and the 3 groups...

.

The de jure flag of Libya
Flag of Libya
The Libyan Independence Flag or Flag of Libya was the original flag of the Kingdom of Libya introduced in 1951 following the creation of the Libyan state in the post World War II period...

, which consists of a rectangular field of green, is the only national flag using a single color and no design or insignia.

Colors are normally described with common names, such as "red", but may be further specified using colorimetry
Colorimetry
Colorimetry is "the science and technology used to quantify and describe physically the human color perception."It is similar to spectrophotometry, but is distinguished by its interest in reducing spectra to the physical correlates of color perception, most often the CIE 1931 XYZ color space...

.

The smallest flag is a 700 nm wide flag of Turkey
Flag of Turkey
The flag of Turkey is a red flag with a white crescent moon and a star in its centre. The flag is called Ayyıldız or Albayrak . The Turkish flag is referred to as Alsancak in the Turkish National Anthem....

. (A human hair is typically 50,000 nm in diameter). It was produced at the Bilkent University
Bilkent University
İhsan Doğramacı Bilkent University, commonly referred to as Bilkent University or Bilkent, is the first private, nonprofit university in Turkey with the fundamental aim of creating a center of excellence in higher education and research...

 Nanophysics Department.

Religious flags


Flags can play many different roles in religion. In Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

, prayer flags are used, usually in sets of five differently colored flags. Many national flags and other flags include religious symbols such as the cross, the crescent, or a reference to a patron saint. Flags are also adopted by religious groups and flags such as the Jain flag
Jain flag
The flag of Jainism was first mentioned in a holy text dating 5th century BC. It has five colours: White, Red, Orange, Green and Dark Blue .It is also believed that the complexion of all the 24 Tirthankaras was of one of these 5 colours...

 and the Christian flag
Christian Flag
The Christian Flag is a flag designed in the early 20th century to represent all of Christianity and Christendom, and has been most popular among Christian churches in North America, Africa and Latin America. The flag has a white field, with a red Latin cross inside a blue canton. The shade of red...

 are used to represent a whole religion.

Linguistic flags


As languages rarely have a flag designed to represent them, it is a common but unofficial practice to use national flags to identify them. Examples of this use include:
  • representing language skills of an individual, like a staff member of a company
  • displaying available languages on a multilingual website or software.

Though this can be done in an uncontroversial manner in some cases, this can easily lead to some problems for certain languages:
  • languages generating language dispute, such as Romanian
    Romanian language
    Romanian Romanian Romanian (or Daco-Romanian; obsolete spellings Rumanian, Roumanian; self-designation: română, limba română ("the Romanian language") or românește (lit. "in Romanian") is a Romance language spoken by around 24 to 28 million people, primarily in Romania and Moldova...

     and Moldavian
    Moldovan language
    Moldovan is one of the names of the Romanian language as spoken in the Republic of Moldova, where it is official. The spoken language of Moldova is closer to the dialects of Romanian spoken in northeastern Romania, and the two countries share the same literary standard...

     which some consider two different languages; and
  • languages spoken in more than one country
    World language
    A world language is a language spoken internationally which is learned by many people as a second language. A world language is not only characterized by the number of its speakers , but also by its geographical distribution, and its use in international organizations and in diplomatic relations...

    , such as English, Arabic, French, German, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian or Spanish.

In this second case, common solutions include symbolising these languages by:
  • the flag of the country where the language originated
  • the flag of the country having the largest number of native speakers
  • a mixed flag of the both (when this is not the same)
  • the flag of the country most identified with that language in a specific region (e.g. Portuguese Language: Flag of Portugal in Europe and Flag of Brazil in South America)


Thus, on the Internet, it is most common to see the English language associated to the flag of the United Kingdom
Flag of the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland uses as its national flag the royal banner known as the Union Flag or, popularly, Union Jack. The current design of the Union Flag dates from the union of Ireland and Great Britain in 1801...

, but sometimes to the flag of England
Flag of England
The Flag of England is the St George's Cross . The red cross appeared as an emblem of England during the Middle Ages and the Crusades and is one of the earliest known emblems representing England...

, the flag of the United States
Flag of the United States
The national flag of the United States of America consists of thirteen equal horizontal stripes of red alternating with white, with a blue rectangle in the canton bearing fifty small, white, five-pointed stars arranged in nine offset horizontal rows of six stars alternating with rows...

 or a US-UK mixed flag, usually divided diagonally.

In sports


Because of their ease of signalling and identification, flags are often used in sport
Sport
A Sport is all forms of physical activity which, through casual or organised participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical fitness and provide entertainment to participants. Sport may be competitive, where a winner or winners can be identified by objective means, and may require a degree...

s.
  • In association football, linesmen
    Assistant referee (association football)
    In association football, an assistant referee is one of several officials who assist the referee in controlling a match. Two officials, traditionally known as linesmen , stand on the touchlines, while a fourth official assists administrative or other match related tasks as directed by the referee...

     carry small flags along the touch lines. They use the flags to indicate to the referee
    Referee (football)
    A referee presides over a game of association football. The referee has "full authority to enforce the Laws of the Game in connection with the match to which he has been appointed" , and the referee's decisions regarding facts connected with play are final, so far as the result of the game is...

     potential infringements of the laws, or who is entitled to possession of the ball that has gone out of the field of play, or, most famously, raising the flag to indicate an offside offence. Officials called touch judges use flags for similar purposes in both codes of rugby
    Rugby football
    Rugby football is a style of football named after Rugby School in the United Kingdom. It is seen most prominently in two current sports, rugby league and rugby union.-History:...

    .
  • In American
    American football
    American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

     and Canadian football
    Canadian football
    Canadian football is a form of gridiron football played exclusively in Canada in which two teams of 12 players each compete for territorial control of a field of play long and wide attempting to advance a pointed prolate spheroid ball into the opposing team's scoring area...

    , referee
    Referee
    A referee is the person of authority, in a variety of sports, who is responsible for presiding over the game from a neutral point of view and making on the fly decisions that enforce the rules of the sport...

    s use penalty flag
    Penalty flag
    The penalty flag is a yellow cloth used in several field sports including American football and lacrosse by game officials to identify and sometimes mark the location of penalties or infractions that occur during regular play. It is usually wrapped around a weight, such as sand or beans so it can...

    s to indicate that a foul has been committed in game play. The phrase used for such an indication is flag on the play. The flag itself is a small, weighted handkerchief, tossed on the field at the approximate point of the infraction; the intent is usually to sort out the details after the current play from scrimmage has concluded. In American football, the flag is usually yellow; in Canadian football, it is usually orange.
  • In yacht racing
    Yacht racing
    Yacht racing is the sport of competitive yachting.While sailing groups organize the most active and popular competitive yachting, other boating events are also held world-wide: speed motorboat racing; competitive canoeing, kayaking, and rowing; model yachting; and navigational contests Yacht racing...

    , flags are used to communicate information from the race committee boat to the racers. Different flags hoisted from the committee boat may communicate a false start, changes in the course, a cancelled race, or other important information. Racing boats themselves may also use flags to symbolize a protest or distress. The flags are often part of the nautical alphabetic system of International maritime signal flags
    International maritime signal flags
    The system of international maritime signal flags is one system of flag signals representing individual letters of the alphabet in signals to or from ships...

    , in which 26 different flags designate the 26 letters of the Latin alphabet.

  • In auto
    Auto racing
    Auto racing is a motorsport involving the racing of cars for competition. It is one of the world's most watched televised sports.-The beginning of racing:...

     and motorcycle racing, racing flags
    Racing flags
    Racing flags are traditionally used in auto racing and similar motorsports to indicate track condition and to communicate important messages to drivers. Typically, the starter, sometimes the grand marshal of a race, waves the flags atop a flag stand near the start/finish line...

     are used to communicate with drivers. Most famously, a checkered flag of black and white squares indicates the end of the race, and victory for the leader. A yellow flag is used to indicate caution requiring slow speed and a red flag requires racers to stop immediately. A black flag is used to indicate penalties.

  • In addition, fans of almost all sports wave flags in the stands to indicate their support for the participants. Many sports teams have their own flags, and, in individual sports, fans will indicate their support for a player by waving the flag of his or her home country.
  • Capture the flag
    Capture the flag
    Capture the Flag is a traditional outdoor sport generally played by children, where two teams each have a flag and the objective is to capture the other team's flag, located at the team's "base," and bring it safely back to their own base...

     is a popular children's sport.
  • In Gaelic football
    Gaelic football
    Gaelic football , commonly referred to as "football" or "Gaelic", or "Gah" is a form of football played mainly in Ireland...

     and Hurling
    Hurling
    Hurling is an outdoor team game of ancient Gaelic origin, administered by the Gaelic Athletic Association, and played with sticks called hurleys and a ball called a sliotar. Hurling is the national game of Ireland. The game has prehistoric origins, has been played for at least 3,000 years, and...

     a green flag is used to indicate a goal while a white flag is used to indicate a point
  • In Australian rules football
    Australian rules football
    Australian rules football, officially known as Australian football, also called football, Aussie rules or footy is a sport played between two teams of 22 players on either...

    , the goal umpire
    Umpire (Australian rules football)
    An umpire is an official in the sport of Australian rules football.-Origins:Unlike many other codes of football, where the official is called a referee, in Australian Football, the officials borrow their title from the game of cricket, which is played on the same types of fields and was an...

     will wave two flags to indicate a goal (worth six points) and a single flag to indicate a behind (worth one point).
  • For safety, dive flags
    Glossary of SCUBA diving
    -A-F:Altitude Diving : diving at a location where the water surface is more than about above sea level, and which requires special dive tables or dive computers to calculate allowed depths and times for safety....

     indicate the locations of underwater scuba divers
    Scuba diving
    Scuba diving is a form of underwater diving in which a diver uses a scuba set to breathe underwater....

    .
  • In water sports such as Wakeboarding and Water-Skiing, an orange flag is held in between runs to indicate someone is in the water.
  • Flag poles with flags of all shapes and sizes are used by marching bands, drum corps, and winter guard teams use flags as a method of visual enhancement in performances.

In politics


Social and political movements have adopted flags, to increase their visibility and as a unifying symbol.

The socialist
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 movement uses red flag
Red flag
In politics, a red flag is a symbol of Socialism, or Communism, or sometimes left-wing politics in general. It has been associated with left-wing politics since the French Revolution. Socialists adopted the symbol during the Revolutions of 1848 and it became a symbol of communism as a result of its...

s to represent their cause. The anarchist
Anarchism
Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations...

 movement has a variety of different flags, but the primary flag associated with them is the black flag. In the 1970s, the rainbow flag was adopted as a symbol of the LGBT social movements
LGBT social movements
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender social movements share inter-related goals of social acceptance of sexual and gender minorities. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their allies have a long history of campaigning for what is generally called LGBT rights, also called gay...

. Bisexual
Bisexual pride flag
The bisexual pride flag was designed by Michael Page in 1998 in order to give the bisexual community its own symbol comparable to the Gay pride flag of the larger LGBT community...

 and transgender pride flag
Transgender Pride flag
Transgender flags the Transgender Pride flag is a symbol of transgender pride and diversity, and transgender rights.The Transgender Pride flag was created by Monica Helms in 1999, and was first shown at a pride parade in Phoenix, Arizona, United States in 2000.The flag represents the transgender...

s were later designed, in an attempt to emulate the rainbow flag's success.

Some of these political flags have become national flags, such as the red flag of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 and national socialist banners for Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

. The present Flag of Portugal
Flag of Portugal
The flag of Portugal is the national flag of the Portuguese Republic. It is a rectangular bicolour with a field unevenly divided into green on the hoist, and red on the fly. The lesser version of the national coat of arms is centered over the colour boundary at equal distance from the upper and...

 is based on what had been the political flag of the Portuguese Republican Party previous to the 5 October 1910 revolution
5 October 1910 revolution
The revolution of 1910 was a republican coup d'état that occurred in Portugal on 5 October 1910, which deposed King Manuel II and established the Portuguese First Republic....

 which brought this party to power.

Vehicle flags



Flags are oftentimes representative of an individual's affinity or allegiance to a country, team or business and can be presented in various ways. A popular trend that has surfaced revolves around the idea of the 'mobile' flag in which an individual displays their particular flag of choice on their vehicle. These items are commonly referred to as car flags and are usually manufactured from high strength polyester material and are attached to a vehicle via a polypropylene pole and clip window attachment.

Swimming flags


In Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

, Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

, and the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 a pair of red/yellow flags is used to mark the limits of the bathing area on a beach, usually guarded by surf lifesavers. If the beach is closed, the poles of the flags are crossed. The flags are colored with a red triangle and a yellow triangle making a rectangular flag, or a red rectangle over a yellow rectangle. On many Australian beaches there is a slight variation with beach condition signaling. A red flag signifies a closed beach (or, in the UK, some other danger), yellow signifies strong current or difficult swimming conditions, and green represents a beach safe for general swimming. In Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

, a red and yellow flag indicates that it is safe to swim; a red flag that it is unsafe; and no flag indicates that there are no lifeguards on duty. Blue flags may also be used away from the yellow-red lifesaver area to designate a zone for surfboarding and other small, non-motorised watercraft.

Reasons for closing the beach include:
  • dangerous rip
  • hurricane warning
  • no lifeguard
    Lifeguard
    A lifeguard supervises the safety and rescue of swimmers, surfers, and other water sports participants such as in a swimming pool, water park, or beach. Lifeguards are strong swimmers and trained in first aid, certified in water rescue using a variety of aids and equipment depending on...

    s in attendance
  • overpolluted
    Pollution
    Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into a natural environment that causes instability, disorder, harm or discomfort to the ecosystem i.e. physical systems or living organisms. Pollution can take the form of chemical substances or energy, such as noise, heat or light...

     water
  • shark
    Shark
    Sharks are a type of fish with a full cartilaginous skeleton and a highly streamlined body. The earliest known sharks date from more than 420 million years ago....

    s
  • tsunami
    Tsunami
    A tsunami is a series of water waves caused by the displacement of a large volume of a body of water, typically an ocean or a large lake...

  • wave
    Wave
    In physics, a wave is a disturbance that travels through space and time, accompanied by the transfer of energy.Waves travel and the wave motion transfers energy from one point to another, often with no permanent displacement of the particles of the medium—that is, with little or no associated mass...

    s too strong


A surf flag exists, divided into four quadrants. The top left and bottom right quadrants are black, and the remaining area is white.

Signal flag
International maritime signal flags
The system of international maritime signal flags is one system of flag signals representing individual letters of the alphabet in signals to or from ships...

 "India" (a black circle on a yellow square) is frequently used to denote a "blackball" zone where surfboards cannot be used but other water activities are permitted.

Railway flags


Railways use a number of colored flags. When used as wayside signals they usually use the following meanings (exact meanings are set by the individual railroad company):
  • red = stop
  • yellow = proceed with care
  • green or white = proceed.
  • a flag of any color waved vigorously means stop
  • a blue flag on the side of a locomotive means that it should not be moved because someone is working on it (or on the train attached to it). A blue flag on a track means that nothing on that track should be moved. The flag can only be removed by the person or group that placed it.
  • In the railway dominated steel industry this principle of "blue flag and tag" was extended to all operations at Bethlehem Steel, Lackawanna, NY. If a man went inside a large machine or worked on an electrical circuit for example, his blue flag and tag was sacrosanct. The "Lock Out/Tag Out" practice is similar and now used in other industries to comply with safety regulations.


At night, the flags are replaced with lanterns showing the same colors.

Flags displayed on the front of a moving locomotive are an acceptable replacement for classification lights and usually have the following meanings (exact meanings are set by the individual railroad company):
  • white = extra (not on the timetable)
  • green = another section following
  • red = last section


Additionally, a railroad brakeman will typically carry a red flag to make his or her hand signals more visible to the engineer. Railway signal
Railway signal
A signal is a mechanical or electrical device erected beside a railway line to pass information relating to the state of the line ahead to train/engine drivers. The driver interprets the signal's indication and acts accordingly...

s are a development of railway flags.

Flagpoles



A flagpole, flagstaff, or staff can be a simple support made of wood or metal. If it is taller than can be easily reached to raise the flag, a cord is used, looping around a pulley at the top of the pole with the ends tied at the bottom. The flag is fixed to one lower end of the cord, and is then raised by pulling on the other end. The cord is then tightened and tied to the pole at the bottom. The pole is usually topped by a flat plate or ball called a "truck" (originally meant to keep a wooden pole from splitting) or a finial
Finial
The finial is an architectural device, typically carved in stone and employed decoratively to emphasize the apex of a gable or any of various distinctive ornaments at the top, end, or corner of a building or structure. Smaller finials can be used as a decorative ornament on the ends of curtain rods...

 in a more complex shape.
Very high flagpoles may require more complex support structures than a simple pole, such as guy wires, or need be built as a mast.

Since 2011 with 165 m (541 ft) the tallest free-standing flagpole in the world is the Dushanbe Flagpole
Dushanbe Flagpole
Rising 165 metres in the air, the world’s tallest flagpole landed Tajikistan in the Guinness Book of World Records in August 2011. Built by American David Chambers, the tubular steel pole sections were built in Dubai, transported by sea to Iran, then shipped by truck - through Iran, Turkmenistan...

 in Tajikistan
Tajikistan
Tajikistan , officially the Republic of Tajikistan , is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east....

, beating the formerly record holding National Flagpole
National Flag Square
National Flag Square is a large city square by Neftchiler Avenue in Bayil, Baku, Azerbaijan. Confirmed by the Guinness Book of Records, the flag flies on a pole 162 meters high and measures 70 by 35 meters which was the world's tallest flag, until it was overtaken by the 165 meter flagpole of...

 in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

 (size: 162 m; 532 ft). The North Korean flag at Kijŏng-dong is among the world's largest.

The largest flag regularly hoisted in the world is the Brazilian national flag flown in the Square of the Three Powers
Praça dos Três Poderes
Praça dos Três Poderes is a plaza in Brasília, the capital of Brazil. The name is derived from the presence of the three governmental powers around the plaza: the Executive, represented by the Palácio do Planalto ; the Legislative represented by the Congresso Nacional ; and the Judiciary,...

 in Brasilia
Brasília
Brasília is the capital city of Brazil. The name is commonly spelled Brasilia in English. The city and its District are located in the Central-West region of the country, along a plateau known as Planalto Central. It has a population of about 2,557,000 as of the 2008 IBGE estimate, making it the...

, the Brazilian capital. This flag is about 3380 square meters (8740 square feet) and has never come down since opening in the mid 1960s.

Design


Flagpoles can be designed in one piece with a taper (typically a steel taper or a Greek entasis
Entasis
In architecture, entasis is the application of a convex curve to a surface for aesthetic purposes. Its best-known use is in certain orders of Classical columns that curve slightly as their diameter is decreased from the bottom upwards. In the Hellenistic period some columns with entasis are...

 taper), or be made from multiple pieces to make them able to expand. In the United States, ANSI/NAAMM
Ansi
Ansi is a village in Kaarma Parish, Saare County, on the island of Saaremaa, Estonia....

 guide specification FP-1001-97 covers the engineering design of metal flagpoles to ensure safety.

Flags and communication


Semaphore
Flag semaphore
Semaphore Flags is the system for conveying information at a distance by means of visual signals with hand-held flags, rods, disks, paddles, or occasionally bare or gloved hands. Information is encoded by the position of the flags; it is read when the flag is in a fixed position...

 is a form of communication that utilizes flags. The signalling is performed by an individual using two flags (or lighted wands), the positions of the flags indicating a symbol. The person who holds the flags is known as the signalman. This form of communication is primarily used by naval
Navy
A navy is the branch of a nation's armed forces principally designated for naval and amphibious warfare; namely, lake- or ocean-borne combat operations and related functions...

 signallers. This technique of signalling was adopted in the early 19th century and is still used in various forms today.

The colors of the flags can also be used to communicate. For example; a white flag means, among other things, surrender or peace, a red flag can be used as a warning signal, and a black flag can mean war, or determined to defeat enemies.

Orientation of a flag is also used for communication, though the practice is rarely used given modern communication systems. Raising a flag upside-down was indicative that the raising force controlled that particular area, but that it was in severe distress.

Flapping


When blown by the wind, flags are subject to wave-like motions that grow in amplitude along the length of the flag. This is sometimes ascribed to the flag pole giving vortex shedding
Vortex shedding
Vortex shedding is an unsteady flow that takes place in special flow velocities . In this flow, vortices are created at the back of the body and detach periodically from either side of the body. See Von Kármán vortex street.Vortex shedding is caused when a fluid flows past a blunt object...

, however flags that are held by lanyard
Lanyard
A lanyard is a rope or cord exclusively worn around the neck or wrist to carry something. Usually it is used where there is a risk of losing the object or to ensure it is visible at all times. Aboard a ship, it may refer to a piece of rigging used to secure objects...

s also can be seen to flap.

See also


Lists and galleries of flags
  • Gallery of sovereign-state flags
    Gallery of sovereign-state flags
    This gallery of sovereign-state flags shows the flags of sovereign states that appear on the list of sovereign states. For other flags, please see flags of active autonomist and secessionist movements, flags of formerly independent states, and gallery of dependent territory flags...

  • List of flag names
  • List of flags
  • List of flags by country
  • Timeline of national flags
    Timeline of national flags
    This page lists the different number of flags and/or modifications made on the flags of current sovereign nations since beginning of the 18th century.- Africa :- Asia :-Europe:- North America :- Oceania:- South America :...

  • Unofficial flags
    Unofficial flags
    Unofficial flags are either flags in regular use that have no official status or flag concepts that have appeared in various publications....


Notable flag-related topics
  • False flag
    False flag
    False flag operations are covert operations designed to deceive the public in such a way that the operations appear as though they are being carried out by other entities. The name is derived from the military concept of flying false colors; that is flying the flag of a country other than one's own...

  • Flag Day
    Flag Day
    A flag day is a flag-related holiday—either a day designated for flying a certain flag , or a day set aside to celebrate a historical event such as a nation's adoption of its flag....

  • Flag desecration
    Flag desecration
    Flag desecration is a term applied to various acts that intentionally destroy, damage or mutilate a flag in public, most often a national flag. Often, such action is intended to make a political point against a country or its policies...

  • Flag etiquette
  • Flag Patch
    Flag patch
    A flag patch is a piece of fabric displaying the national flag of a country. The image of the flag is usually produced by embroidery, using different colored threads. It can also be produced by printing directly on the fabric, although this is less common...

  • Flag semaphore
    Flag semaphore
    Semaphore Flags is the system for conveying information at a distance by means of visual signals with hand-held flags, rods, disks, paddles, or occasionally bare or gloved hands. Information is encoded by the position of the flags; it is read when the flag is in a fixed position...

  • Flag terminology
    Flag terminology
    Flag terminology is a jargon used in vexillology, the study of flags, to describe precisely the parts, patterns, and other attributes of flags and their display.-Description of standard flag parts and terms:...

  • Flag throwing
    Flag throwing
    The art of flag throwing dates back to medieval guilds . A guild's banner or flag was considered a symbol of purity, and as such it was not allowed to touch the ground....

  • Pledge of Allegiance
    Pledge of Allegiance
    The Pledge of Allegiance of the United States is an expression of loyalty to the federal flag and the republic of the United States of America, originally composed by Christian Socialist Francis Bellamy in 1892 and formally adopted by Congress as the pledge in 1942...

  • Standard-bearer
    Standard-bearer
    A standard-bearer is a person who bears an emblem called an ensign or standard, i.e. either a type of flag or an inflexible but mobile image, which is used as a formal, visual symbol of a state, prince, military unit, etc.This can either be an occasional duty, often seen as an honour , or a...

     (also enumerates various types of standards, both flag types and immobile ensigns)
  • Vexillology
    Vexillology
    Vexillology is the scholarly study of flags. The word is a synthesis of the Latin word vexillum, meaning 'flag', and the Greek suffix -logy, meaning 'study'. The vexillum was a particular type of flag used by Roman legions during the classical era; its name is a diminutive form of the word velum...



Miscellaneous
  • Flags of the World
    Flags of the World
    Flags of the World is an Internet-based vexillological association and resource. Its principal project is the Internet's largest website devoted to vexillology, containing comprehensive information about all kinds of flags, and an associated mailing list...

    , an Internet-based vexillological association and resource
  • Petrosomatoglyph
    Petrosomatoglyph
    A petrosomatoglyph is an image of parts of a human or animal body incised in rock. Many were created by Celtic peoples, such as the Picts, Scots, Irish, Cornish, Cumbrians, Bretons and Welsh. These representations date from the Early Middle Ages; others of uncertain purpose date back to megalithic...

     Symbols and prehistory
  • Jolly Roger
    Jolly Roger
    The Jolly Roger is any of various flags flown to identify a ship's crew as pirates. The flag most commonly identified as the Jolly Roger today is the skull and crossbones, a flag consisting of a human skull above two long bones set in an x-mark arrangement on a black field. This design was used by...


External links