The tricolour on Araucania’s current flag [top] may be unremarkable, but that coat of arms is damn slick. This proposal from around 2006 [bottom] on the other hand just looks kind of sickly.
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.
Pitcairn Islands, since 1984
On 23 January 1790, the HMS Bounty was burned by its former crew off the shores of Pitcairn Island. Nearly two centuries later, the island got its first official flag on the standard British model. The coat of arms has the ship’s anchor and bible on it.
With a population of around 50, Pitcairn is the least populated of Britain’s remaining overseas territories. Even the British Antarctic Territory has more people during the summer.
Colunga, since 2012
Nothing to say about this flag except that I like it. Spanish municipalities killing it lately on the vexillology front.
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.
France (royal ensign), 1814-1815, 1815-1830
The Bourbon Restoration left something to be desired as far as national symbols went. The royals had their fancy fleur-de-lis-spangled banners and whatnot, but the national flag was a plain white sheet with nothing on it. I mean, come on. Would you want to fly that? The July Revolution of 1830 saw the permanent restoration of the Tricolore.
The Grey Crowned Crane has graced Uganda’s flag since the colonial era. It was chosen as a badge by governor Frederick J. Jackson, no doubt because of his enthusiasm for ornithology and game hunting. After his retirement he devoted himself to writing about the birds of Kenya and Uganda, publishing his first book in 1926 and dying before he could finish the second.
(designer: Sir Frederick John Jackson)
The Union Jack has worked its way onto a lot of flags over the years, but I wouldn’t have expected to see it in Chile. Apparently, gold and copper mining around Coquimbo attracted a fair number of English immigrants in the mid-19th century, and they made enough of an impact to get a place on the city’s coat of arms.
South Africa (civil ensign), 1912-1928
The Duke of Connaught went down to South Africa in 1910 to open Parliament for the first time, and it was decided that a flag should be adopted for the occasion. This led to the creation of the South African Red Ensign. The badge was divided into four quarters: the allegorical figure of Hope for the Cape Province, a pair of wildebeests for Natal, an orange tree for the Orange Free State, and a wagon for Natal. A white disc was added in 1912.
The flag was more or less ignored by the South African public. Folks of English descent tended to fly the unadorned Union Jack, while Afrikaners preferred the flags of the old Boer Republics. The unpopularity of the flag lead Prime Minister (and noted racist) J.B.M. Hertzog to rhetorically ask, “Have we ever yet heard of a flag of any country which was so stillborn?”
Republic of China Air Force, since 1981
The Taiwanese air force has a pretty sick emblem: The “Blue Sky with a White Sun” roundel surrounded by wings, sheaves of wheat, and a plum blossom.
The cross on the Latvian Prime Minister’s flag is made out of the maroon and white stripes from the flag of Latvia. According to legend, those stripes were first created in the Middle Ages, when a wounded Latvian leader was wrapped in a white sheet after a battle. The bit under his body stayed white and everything else was stained red with his blood.
There’s a very similar legend about the origins of the flag of Austria. In their version, Duke Leopold V’s white surcoat was stained with blood at the 1191 Siege of Acre, and when he took off his belt he saw the striking red and white pattern, which he took for his own coat of arms.
Nice stories, sure, but they don’t quite square with what I know about capillary action.
Nunatsiavut, since 2003
Nunatsiavut is an autonomous Inuit region in northern Labrador, not to be confused with the nearby the territory of Nunavut. Like Nunavut, Nunatsiavut has an inukshuk on its flag. It’s rendered in the white, green, and blue of Labrador’s flag.
I’ve always thought this flag looks a bit funny. Almost like the individual rocks have a “waving flag” effect drawn on top of them or something.