Colunga, since 2012
Nothing to say about this flag except that I like it. Spanish municipalities killing it lately on the vexillology front.
Ambrym, c. 1983
In 1994, Vanuatu’s 11 island councils merged into six new provinces. One of the old councils had been for Ambrym, a volcanic island in the centre of the country. The council flag had three plumes of smoke in the colours of the national flag. In the lower left corner was a boar’s tusk, a popular symbol on Vanuatu. Tusks were traditionally worn as pendants throughout the islands, and can be found on the national flag, the coat of arms, and several other provincial flags. Here they symbolized the unity of the island. The three stars above stood for the three local districts.
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.
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)
This island has one of the darker flags I’ve seen. The blue field represents Chesapeake Bay, the black bar represents the Virginia-Maryland state line, and the green circle represents the island sitting just south of it.
The island’s original settlers were from Devon and Cornwall (represented by St. Pirian’s Cross in the top left corner), and their descendants speak a peculiar dialect of English, which some have described as unchanged since the 17th century. It’s quite a trip to listen to. Doesn’t really sound American at all.
While reading a history of the Caucasus called The Ghost of Freedom, I came across this interesting little tidbit.
In fact, even the Circassian national flag—which bears a stars-and-arrows design that today can be found flying across the northwest Caucasus and among the ethnic Circassian diaspora—was the handiwork of David Urquhart, a querulous Scottish publicist who became the highlanders’ chief intercessor in the West
Urquhart’s flag was slightly different than the one currently used in Adygea. Where the modern flag has twelve stars standing for twelve tribes, the original had only seven. I can’t really tell why seven though. Maybe he just miscounted?
(designer: David Urquhart)
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.
King of Tonga, since 1862
This is a banner of Tonga’s coat of arms. The three stars stand for the country’s main island groups, and the three swords stand for Tonga’s three royal dynasties. The crown and dove are self-explanatory. The red cross in the centre of this royal standard is from the top-left corner national flag. Back in 1962, it was the entirety of the national flag.
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.
New York City Police Department, since 1919
The NYPD’s flag has 24 stars in three concentric rings, standing for the 3 cities, 9 towns and 12 villages that merged to form New York City in 1898. The five stripes stand for the five boroughs. Green was chosen because it has a long history of association with police in the city, dating all the way back to the 17th century Rattle Watch, who carried green-tinted lanterns as they patrolled New Amsterdam.
Happy Independence Day, Zambia! The Zambian flag often strikes people as weird because of how everything is shifted off to the right. But when you compare it with the old colonial flag you can kind of see where that arrangement came from. Take out the Union Jack, switch some colours around, and turn the wavy lines into vertical stripes, and you’ve basically got the Zambian flag.
Oh, and I guess you also have to get rid of the dead fish.
(designer: Gabriel Ellison [Zambia])
Taiwan Customs Administration, since 1977
A little postscript to yesterday’s entry. Nearly half a century after the Northern Expedition, the Republic of China (a.k.a. Taiwan) adopted a new customs service ensign. And wouldn’t you know it, the main colours of the flag are green and yellow. It ain’t much of a legacy for Horatio Nelson Lay, but it’s something.