The grumpy lion on Kenya’s colonial ensign was originally on a white disc, but for some reason they got rid of it in 1921. I guess they wanted to make their flag as dark and ugly as possible?
It’s now been 50 years since that flag flew over Nairobi. Kenya became an independent country on 12 December 1963.
County Durham, since 2013
The wave of local flag design continues to spread across England. The county to adopt a flag is County Durham. It’s new flag, a counterchanged St Cuthbert’s Cross on a blue and yellow background, was unfurled at Durham Cathedral on 21 November. And unlike some other named crosses, this cross is literally the cross of St. Cuthbert. As in they found it in his coffin.
(designers: Holly Moffat, Katie Moffat)
International Civil Aviation Organization, since 1993
7 December is International Civil Aviation Day, celebrating the 1944 signing of the Chicago Convention that established the ICAO. In anticipation of its 50th anniversary, the ICAO adopted an official flag, which is basically the UN flag with some slick looking wings. The organization had an unofficial flag around 1947, but the emblem on there was replaced in 1950.
United Kingdom (proposed), 2013
This one comes from a BBC News article about the fate of the British flag if Scotland secedes. (Short answer: probably nothing.) It doesn’t seem to be a proposal for a post-Scotland UK though. Rather it combines the crosses of St. George, St. Andrew, St. David, and St. Patrick into a crazy new pinwheel design. Kind of like a modern reinterpretation of the process that created the current Union Jack. I can’t imagine it would ever become a national flag, but wouldn’t it be rad if it did?
(designer: John Yates)
Colunga, since 2012
Nothing to say about this flag except that I like it. Spanish municipalities killing it lately on the vexillology front.
Eureka Rebellion, 1854
In 1854, disgruntled gold miners in Ballarat raised what would eventually become known as the Eureka flag. There had been other flags with the Southern Cross before, but I believe this was the first that featured just the cross with no Union Jack. The rebellion was put down when the government stormed the blockade on 3 December 1854.
In the nearly 160 years since then, the flag has taken on some pretty ugly connotations. At first it was just a nationalist symbol, one especially favoured by unions and the political left, but in recent decades it’s been adopted by opponents of immigration, white supremacists, and neo-nazis.
(designer: Henry Ross)
The coat of arms of Leipzig combines the arms of two of its medieval rulers, the Margrave of Meissen on the left and the Margrave of Landsberg on the right. The three largest cities in Saxony all have variations on this design. Dresden’s used to be identical, but at some point the blue bars were changed to black. Chemnitz has the lion on the right instead of the left.
Pittsburgh and Philly have some of the oldest city flags in America, and both of them also have designated ensigns for use by riverboats. The Philadelphia version has the city’s full coat of arms, while the Pittsburgh version just has the castle from the crest.
Pittsburgh’s flag is clearly a copy of Philadelphia’s template, but it’s interesting that no other American cities saw the need to have an ensign. I guess it’s a Pennsylvania thing.
(designer: Henry Christopher McCook [Philadelphia])
Asturias (ceremonial flag), since 1990
There are actually three different official flags of Asturias, all of which feature the Victory Cross carried by Pelagius in the battle of Battle of Covadonga. On the ceremonial flag, the cross includes all of the ornate decorations and jewels that it has in real life. On the flag for everyday use the cross is plain gold. And on the flag for indoor use, the plain gold flag is centred. Some Asturian nationalists have started to use an even simpler flag, with a plain golden cross covering the entire blue field. Like the flag of Sweden but centred.
Kraków (banner), since 2002
Since 1815, Krakow’s city flag has been a simple white-over-blue horizontal bicolour. But in 2002 a new flag called a banner (chorągiew) was created. It seems to be specially for use by the city government.
President of the Republic of Korea, since 1967
The Presidential standard of South Korea has two phoenixes over a hibiscus flower. The hibiscus is South Korea’s floral emblem, and its use as a national symbol has been recorded as far back to the 1598 Battle of Noryang.
Sergipe, 1920-1937, since 1952
The flag of Sergipe is one of three Brazilian state flags base on the short-lived provisional flag of the Republic used from 15 November to 19 November 1889 (the other two being Piauí and Goiás). The first proposal had four stars and four stripes, representing four major estuaries in the state. A fifth star was added for a fifth estuary in 1920 but the number of stripes remained the same. Kind of like the estuary version of the American flag.
(designer: José Rodrigues Bastos Coelho)
Métis people, since 1816
Louis Riel was executed by the Canadian government on 16 November 1885. Even though the infinity flag had been around for a good fifty years before his rebellions, Riel used a mishmash of flags, strewn with shamrocks, fleurs-de-lis, harps, and buffalo. Rather than the blue (or sometimes red) found on the current flag, the main colours where white, gold, and green.
King of the Belgians, since 2013
Today is the King’s Feast in Belgium. I have no idea what that means, but I assume it involves the King having some kind of feast? Anyway, the royal standard changes with every new monarch, as it has the royal cypher in each of the four corners.