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.
Ascension Island, since 2013
Four years after it started looking for one, Ascension finally has a flag of its own. The tiny South Atlantic island forms a single overseas territory with Saint Helena (1300km away) and Tristan da Cunha (3200km away). Until the flag raising on Saturday, it was the last British possession without a flag (excluding the Sovereign Base Areas on Cyprus).
The final version is a lot like the proposal I reported last year, but the scroll has been removed and a helmet with green and white mantling has been added.
Today is Cinco de Mayo, a holiday which commemorates the Mexican victory at the Battle of Puebla. This is obviously a big deal in the state Puebla, which proudly carries the date right in the middle of its coat of arms.
Like most all Mexican sates, Puebla has no official flag. Instead a white field with the state coat of arms on it is widely used.
Canadian Army, since 1998
The Canadian flag doesn’t often appear on other flags, but all three branches of the Canadian Forces have adopted ensigns that put the national flag up in the corner. The jack of the Royal Canadian Navy came first in 1968, followed by the Royal Canadian Air Force ensign in 1985, and finally the flag of the Canadian Army in 1998. The flag includes the army’s badge, which was adopted at the same time.
Americana, until 1998
Brazil is home to a small population of Confederados, descendants of Confederates who fled to Brazil in the aftermath of the American Civil War. Most of the immigrants settled in the neighbouring cities of Americana and Santa Bárbara d’Oeste, in the state of São Paulo.
Americana’s former flag and coat of arms were inspired by the Confederate Battle Flag. The symbol was removed in 1998, not for any political reason (it’s not as controversial down there), but rather because the Confederados now only make up 10% of the city’s population.
José de San Martín personally designed Peru’s first national flag. Legend has it he was inspired by a flock of Andean flamingos in flight. In March 1822 this flag was replaced by a more standard design, a horizontal tricolour of red-white-red with a sun in the middle. That flag proved too easy to confuse with the Spanish flag, so the bars were rotated. The sun was replaced by the Peruvian coat of arms in 1825, resulting in the current design.
(designer: José de San Martín)