President of Zambia
Orange is hardly a common flag colour, but Zambia’s never been one for traditional colour schemes. The African Fish Eagle in the crest is the same as the one on the national flag. Before independence it was on the shield in a blue compartment, grasping a dead fish.
There’s a decent photo of the flag in flight here.

President of Zambia

Orange is hardly a common flag colour, but Zambia’s never been one for traditional colour schemes. The African Fish Eagle in the crest is the same as the one on the national flag. Before independence it was on the shield in a blue compartment, grasping a dead fish.

There’s a decent photo of the flag in flight here.

Rwanda, since 2001
I’ve always really liked a good blue-yellow-green colour scheme. I think part of it is it’s not too overused (Gabon and Saint Vincent are the only other countries that have it) but part of it is just feels really vibrant. It’s the colour of a bright sunny summer day and it just conveys this feeling of hopefulness and vitality. A good choice for Rwanda.

(designer: Alphonse Kirimobenecyo)

Rwanda, since 2001

I’ve always really liked a good blue-yellow-green colour scheme. I think part of it is it’s not too overused (Gabon and Saint Vincent are the only other countries that have it) but part of it is just feels really vibrant. It’s the colour of a bright sunny summer day and it just conveys this feeling of hopefulness and vitality. A good choice for Rwanda.

(designer: Alphonse Kirimobenecyo)

Lithuania (naval jack), 1927-40
There was a set of pre-war naval flags that weren’t readopted when Lithuania regained its independence in 1991. They all featured the double cross from the Lithuanian coat of arms. The state and naval ensigns had the national tricolour with a white cross on a red shield. This naval jack was a lot more distinct.

Lithuania (naval jack), 1927-40

There was a set of pre-war naval flags that weren’t readopted when Lithuania regained its independence in 1991. They all featured the double cross from the Lithuanian coat of arms. The state and naval ensigns had the national tricolour with a white cross on a red shield. This naval jack was a lot more distinct.

Romani people, since 1971
April 8 is International Romani Day. The Romani flag is blue and green, symbolizing the heavens and the earth. The red chakra wheel represents their history of travel, and may also be a nod to their Indian origins.

Romani people, since 1971

April 8 is International Romani Day. The Romani flag is blue and green, symbolizing the heavens and the earth. The red chakra wheel represents their history of travel, and may also be a nod to their Indian origins.

Sabah, 1963-1981
In the 1981 state election, the United Sabah National Organization was utterly crushed. They had already been in opposition since 1976, but this time they were reduced to a mere three seats out of 48. (The winning party had 44.) The new government stripped the state flag of USNO colours, replacing it with one that looked a lot like the Czechoslovakian flag. In 1988 the old pattern was restored, but the yellow stripe was removed and the green and brown colours were replaced with a second and third shade of blue.

Sabah, 1963-1981

In the 1981 state election, the United Sabah National Organization was utterly crushed. They had already been in opposition since 1976, but this time they were reduced to a mere three seats out of 48. (The winning party had 44.) The new government stripped the state flag of USNO colours, replacing it with one that looked a lot like the Czechoslovakian flag. In 1988 the old pattern was restored, but the yellow stripe was removed and the green and brown colours were replaced with a second and third shade of blue.

East Indonesia, 1946-1950
After World War II, the Dutch established several Indonesian puppet states in a last ditch attempt to keep a hold on their former colony. By the end of 1948 there were six: East Sumatra, South Sumatra, Madura, Pasundan, East Java, and East Indonesia.
The five western states all had simple tricolour and bicolour flags with various combinations of green, white, and gold. East Indonesia was a bit of an exception. Its flag was the only one to actually include the national colours of red over white, although here too they were tempered by green and gold.
On 27 December 1949, the Dutch-backed states and the much larger Republic of Indonesia were united (along with various other territories and autonomous areas) under the aegis of the Republic of the United States of Indonesia. Over the next eight months, the states were dissolved into the Republic of Indonesia, which once again declared independence from the Netherlands on 17 August 1950.

East Indonesia, 1946-1950

After World War II, the Dutch established several Indonesian puppet states in a last ditch attempt to keep a hold on their former colony. By the end of 1948 there were six: East Sumatra, South Sumatra, Madura, Pasundan, East Java, and East Indonesia.

The five western states all had simple tricolour and bicolour flags with various combinations of green, white, and gold. East Indonesia was a bit of an exception. Its flag was the only one to actually include the national colours of red over white, although here too they were tempered by green and gold.

On 27 December 1949, the Dutch-backed states and the much larger Republic of Indonesia were united (along with various other territories and autonomous areas) under the aegis of the Republic of the United States of Indonesia. Over the next eight months, the states were dissolved into the Republic of Indonesia, which once again declared independence from the Netherlands on 17 August 1950.

Burma, 1939-1941, 1945-1948
Even though Burma didn’t become a separate colony until 1937, and didn’t officially get a badge until 1939, the peacock on a gold field had been used as an informal coat of arms since 1915. The design was based off old silver coins minted by the Konbaung Dynasty.

Burma, 1939-1941, 1945-1948

Even though Burma didn’t become a separate colony until 1937, and didn’t officially get a badge until 1939, the peacock on a gold field had been used as an informal coat of arms since 1915. The design was based off old silver coins minted by the Konbaung Dynasty.

Peru-Bolivian Confederation, 1836-1839
There were actually two Perus in the Peru-Bolivian Confederation. The Republic of South Peru got an entirely new flag and coat of arms when it declared independence in 1836, but North Peru kept the old Peruvian state symbols. The coats of arms of the three constituent states were put together onto this kind of cluttered national flag.

Peru-Bolivian Confederation, 1836-1839

There were actually two Perus in the Peru-Bolivian Confederation. The Republic of South Peru got an entirely new flag and coat of arms when it declared independence in 1836, but North Peru kept the old Peruvian state symbols. The coats of arms of the three constituent states were put together onto this kind of cluttered national flag.

Wiltshire, since 2009
Most of the recenty-adopted English county flags have been fairly traditional, but this one goes a bit beyond the standard heraldry toolkit. The curved stripes repesent the green downs of the country with the white chalk underneath them.
That bird in the centre is called the Great Bustard. What a name!
(designer: Helen Pocock)

Wiltshire, since 2009

Most of the recenty-adopted English county flags have been fairly traditional, but this one goes a bit beyond the standard heraldry toolkit. The curved stripes repesent the green downs of the country with the white chalk underneath them.

That bird in the centre is called the Great Bustard. What a name!

(designer: Helen Pocock)

British Virgin Islands, since 1999
"Vigilate" is latin for "be vigilant." Why is this not still a verb? Imagine telling someone to vigilate!

British Virgin Islands, since 1999

"Vigilate" is latin for "be vigilant." Why is this not still a verb? Imagine telling someone to vigilate!

Tobago (proposed), 1977
Red represents the blood shed by slaves, black represents the country as a whole, and green represents nature. In the centre is a map of Tobago in gold, with the island’s motto beneath it.
Gotta say Tobago, Trinidad’s got you beat on this one.
(designer: Claudette Hector Daniel)

Tobago (proposed), 1977

Red represents the blood shed by slaves, black represents the country as a whole, and green represents nature. In the centre is a map of Tobago in gold, with the island’s motto beneath it.

Gotta say Tobago, Trinidad’s got you beat on this one.

(designer: Claudette Hector Daniel)

Tibet, since c.1925
Tibet’s flag wasn’t particularly well-known among Tibetans until after China took over. That’s because it was mainly an army flag, used as a national flag only when circumstances demanded it. It was not for example flown on government buildings.
It’s been said that the Japanese monk Aoki Bunkyo had a hand in designing the Tibetan flag, but by 1925 he had already been out of the country for almost a decade. It’s possible he helped design the earlier version, or that this flag is older than we think.

Tibet, since c.1925

Tibet’s flag wasn’t particularly well-known among Tibetans until after China took over. That’s because it was mainly an army flag, used as a national flag only when circumstances demanded it. It was not for example flown on government buildings.

It’s been said that the Japanese monk Aoki Bunkyo had a hand in designing the Tibetan flag, but by 1925 he had already been out of the country for almost a decade. It’s possible he helped design the earlier version, or that this flag is older than we think.

Quintana Roo, since 2013
Most Mexican states don’t have official flags, although they occasionally fly white flags with the state coat of arms in the centre. The state of Quintana Roo became something like the third state to adopt an official flag and they chose… a white flag with the state coat of arms in the centre. Great.

Quintana Roo, since 2013

Most Mexican states don’t have official flags, although they occasionally fly white flags with the state coat of arms in the centre. The state of Quintana Roo became something like the third state to adopt an official flag and they chose… a white flag with the state coat of arms in the centre. Great.

Namibian Police Force, since 2009
The Namibian police flag is on the model of South African police flag, only it has a diagonal line instead of a horizontal one, which kind of messes up the composition a bit.

Namibian Police Force, since 2009

The Namibian police flag is on the model of South African police flag, only it has a diagonal line instead of a horizontal one, which kind of messes up the composition a bit.

Czech-Roma Flag (art project), 2013
A Slovakian artist named Tomáš Rafa was recently fined for “defamation of the Czech flag” by authorities in Prague after making a series of paintings that combined the Roma flag with the flag of the Czech Republic.
You know, I like flags a lot, but there’s a dark side lurking underneath these dumb colourful rectangles. They have the power to become not just symbols of hatred, but weapons. Tools for spreading and celebrating the most vicious kinds of nationalism and racism. The Czech flag is great and everything, but it’s not a holy object to be revered, and it shouldn’t be used as a racist bludgeon against artists and persecuted minorities. There ain’t nothing good lying down that path.
(designer: Tomáš Rafa)

Czech-Roma Flag (art project), 2013

A Slovakian artist named Tomáš Rafa was recently fined for “defamation of the Czech flag” by authorities in Prague after making a series of paintings that combined the Roma flag with the flag of the Czech Republic.

You know, I like flags a lot, but there’s a dark side lurking underneath these dumb colourful rectangles. They have the power to become not just symbols of hatred, but weapons. Tools for spreading and celebrating the most vicious kinds of nationalism and racism. The Czech flag is great and everything, but it’s not a holy object to be revered, and it shouldn’t be used as a racist bludgeon against artists and persecuted minorities. There ain’t nothing good lying down that path.

(designer: Tomáš Rafa)