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Know your country flag!
Monday, November 27, 2006
We have more than 200 different flags on our planet, but new ones come all the time.
It is hard to precisely confirm when was one ordinary piece of cloth, attached to a wooden pole, got shape that we know of today – shape of flag.
But we do know that it was always used as loyalty to certain divinity, leader or country.

For that intention, even the ancient Egyptians and Assyrians attached to their spears stiff flags with symbols of their Gods. Members of The Twelve Tribes of Israel used symbols of a lion, star or a ship, while on flags of ancient Greeks, there were figures of animals or letters. Historians do, however, agree that of all ancient people, ancient Rome used its banners at most and mostly as confirmation of its sovereignity.

Therefore they believe that Roman Empire Vexilum is precursor of today’s flags, even though it was attached to a laid down holder. Particularly, flags attached laterally to a pole, first showed up in China, and brought to the west by Arabs. Although we have more than 200 different national flags today, there are a lot of similarities between them, thanks to heraldry, whose basic rules for making of flags and crests haven’t changed since XI century, when it was common that every soldier wears symbols of its nobleman.

When kings couldn’t remember all those symbols, heraldic would explain to them during great battles, who is who and for who does he fought. One of the basic rules of heraldry for making of a flag is: alternatively placement of light and dark colors, that have to be clear and recognizable in a great distance.

Results of a study from 1999 shows that bloody red color, that in heraldry symbolizes prudence in battle, dominates among national symbols in the world. It is present on 74% of flags, than comes white color – color of peace and chastity (71%) and azure color – symbol of loyalty and truth (50%).

Meaning of colors in heraldry

- Gold or Yellow - generosity
- Silver or White - peace and chastity
- Black - stability, rarely sorrow
- Azure - loyalty, truth
- Red - courage and generosity
- Green - hope, joy, sometimes loyalty
- Purple - emperor's dignity, independence and righteousness
- Bloody Red - prudence in battle

Dark an light colors

According to that heraldry rule, color must not touch another color, or metallic with metallic.
So we place alternatively light color, metallic color (gold and silver, symbolized by yellow and white) and dark color like black, red, blue or green. Appliance of that rule can be seen on flags of Belgium, Greece, Netherlands and France.





Only exception from this rule is allowed for a flag of Vatican, where we have direct contact of two metallic colors – white and yellow.


Among newer flags, flag of South Africa stands out. It was adopted in 1994 and in compliance with rules of heraldry, it tells the whole history of this country: red, white and blue are “borrowed” from Netherlands flag.

South Africa

Independent Etiopia

Green, yellow and red, Ethiopian flag,


created in the end of XIX century, was a role model for many flags in Africa - Ghana, Congo, Senegal, Togo, Burkina Faso, Benin, Cameroon, Mali, Guinea Bissau.


Guinea Bissau







Because that country in Eastern Africa was the only one that kept its independence during colonialism, except during the short occupation by Italy from 1936-1941.

Stars arise

Stars and stripes, like on a USA flag,


are on many national flags of countries of Central America and South America - Cuba, Panama, Chile, Puerto Rico.



Puerto Rico

USA stars and stripes were borrowed by Liberia, because it was founded by former American slaves.


Circle as a Sun

For a circle in the centre of a flag, several Asian countries decided to put it on. But for those countries it has different meaning.
Hinomaru or red circle on a white base of Japan's flag represents Sun disc.


White circle on a flag of Laos symbolizes Full Moon.


Blue and red circle, surrounded by black symbols, on a flag of South Korea represents balance between four basic elements: sky, earth, water and fire.

South Korea

North likes cross

Cross is one of the oldest symbols on a flag and it is found on a banner of Denmark, Finland and Sweden.



Danish flag "daneborg" is one of the world's oldest, it was created during the Crusades.


By Miki
posted by Miki @ 01:10  
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