In an effort to drum up enthusiasm for the war effort, the British authorities in Burma took the unusual step of approving a new flag without the Union Jack on it. The new flag was just a blue field with the colonial badge in the center, and it was used until the Japanese occupation in 1942. After the war the old colonial ensign was used until independence.
Wikipedia, in typical Wikipedia fashion, incorrectly identifies this as the flag of the Jaffna kingdom, a Tamil state on Sri Lanka that was conquered by the Portuguese in the early seventeenth-century. In fact, this is a modern flag used by a pretender with a dubious claim to that non-existent throne who lives in the Netherlands and is most well-known for appearing on some dumb British reality show.
I have to say, if I was China I would be very concerned about a possible Taiwanese flying camel invasion right about now.
Cocos (Keeling) Islands, since 2004
There aren’t many places in the world that have brackets in the official name. The parenthetical Keeling comes from the discoverer of the islands, Captain William Keeling. Cocos is just the fancy scientific name for the coconut genus.
(designer: Mohd Isa Minkom)
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])
Kukurečani, until 2003
The emblem of the former municipality of Kukurečani was a sun with wheat sheaves for rays. A fitting symbol for a Macedonian farming town.
From time to time weird unsourced flags show up on Wikipedia. Earlier this year, a user named EG111111 uploaded flags for each of the seven provinces of Equatorial Guinea, listing only “Own work” as their source.
This one is the most conventional, and the easiest one for me to convert to vector image. Some of the others are… well, see for yourself. Where did they come from? Did EG11111 invent them or document real world flags? I’m guessing it’s the former, but it’s tough to say one way or another. Just another reason why you should be wary of Wikipedia.
(designer: EG111111 [?])
British Indian Ocean Territory, since 1990
The BIOT is an unusual territory and it has an unusual ensign with a wavy white and blue background. The device on the fly is a palm tree with a crown over it, which seems to be imperialist shorthand for “We control a tropical island.” Looking at this flag you would never know that there was a whole group of people that called this place home. Then again, maybe that’s kind of the point.
Panama tried to break away from Colombia several times in the 19th century. After an uprising in 1855, the Republic of New Granada (as Colombia was called back then) tried to appease the rebels by making an autonomous state on the isthmus. In 1858, New Granada became a federal republic called the Granadine Confederation, and each of the country’s eight states was given its own flag. Although “own” might be a bit of an exaggeration, since they were all nearly identical. The design was the Confederation’s red-blue-yellow vertical tricolour with the national coat of arms on a white oval in the centre. Around the oval was a red band, which had the country’s name on top and the state’s name on the bottom.
The Granadine Confederation quickly fell into civil war. The rebel liberal general Tomás Cipriano de Mosquera entered Bogota in 1861 and overthrew the sitting conservative government, changing the country’s name to the United States of Colombia and adopting a new coat of arms and flag. Panama’s flag changed accordingly. Finally, with the adoption of a unitary constitution in 1886, the state of Panama became just another province.
Dnipropetrovsk, since 2002
Ukrainian oblasts have some pretty great flags, apparently. Where Ivano-Frankivsk has its happy crow, Dnipropetrovsk has a grumpy Cossack. But to me the really interesting part of the flag is those two wavy lines in the centre. The blue one represents the Dnieper River, and the yellow one is a “river of molten metal”, representing the steel industry. A river of molten metal! Incredible.
Also interesting: the flag is supposed to be affixed to the pole with golden nails. You can see a really tiny illustration of how it’s supposed to look on this page. Also interesting is that the design appears to continue past the edge of the flag and actually wrap around the pole. Pretty complex!
Ugh. Okay, so the five stars stand for five racial groups, and they’re pretty much the ones you would expect: White for Europeans, black for Africans, brown for "Hindustanis" and Javanese people, red for “Amerindians”, and yellow for Chinese people. Not a pretty flag, and not helped by the gross Power Rangers-style colour coding.
(designer: Frank Essed)
The Venda bantustan was granted its quote-unquote independence from South Africa on 13 September 1979. The colours of the flag were taken from traditional Venda beadwork.