1. Nordfriesland, since 1972

    The three symbols on the sails represent the three districts that were merged to form Nordfiresland in 1970: a fish for Südtondern, a plough for Husum, and a bull’s head for Eiderstedt.

    I love the look of this flag. Feels very dynamic and triumphant for some reason.

    (designer: Wilhelm Horst Lippert)

     
  2. Bong County

    Another great Liberian flag here. Orange and pink are rare colours on their own and the two of them together are even rarer. Here the pink half is in the shape of a mountain range, giving the flag the look of a rugged landscape at sunset. The shield with the tools is a bit unnecessary but overall it looks great. 

     
  3. Catalonia

    The Catalan senyera is one of the oldest national symbols in Europe, although not one that’s been used continuously for its entire history. It was probably created some time in the 12th or 11th centuries in the County of Barcelona, and from there it spread to the whole Crown of Aragon. In addition to Catalonia, the alternating red and yellow bars appear on the flags of Aragon, Valencia, and the Balearic Islands.

    Independence advocates fly a version of this flag witah a blue triangle and white star at the hoist called the estelada. 

     
  4. Talysh National Movement

    The Talysh people are an Iranian-speaking group that lives around the border of Azerbaijan and Iran. Like the Tajiks over in central Asia, they use the Iranian red-white-green colours on their national flag.

     
  5. Macedonia, 1995 proposals

    When Macedonia had to change its flag in 1995, the task of designing it fell to artist Miroslav Grčev. The country was no longer allowed to use the Vergina Sun symbol, but the government still wanted to have a red and yellow flag with a sun in the centre. Grčev looked to other flags with the sun on them and found they fit into four categores: plain circles like on the flag of Japan (top), discs surrounded by rings of triangles like on the flag of Taiwan (middle), more ornate suns with alternating straight and curvy rays like on the flag of Argentina (bottom), and radial rays like on the flag of Arizona. That fourth category was the one that ended up being used on the national flag.

    The actual proposal for that flag, by the way, looked somewhat different than what was eventually adopted. Rather than being at a 1:2 ratio, Grčev’s final version was at the golden ratio (around 1:1.618), and there was no separation between the disc and the rays. That would have been a bit of an improvement, I think. Still, the flag as it stands is pretty solid, especially given all the constraints.

    (designer: Miroslav Grčev)

     
  6. Sulawesi, 1953 proposal

    This flag was flown by guerillas in Southwest Sulawesi under the leadership of Kahar Muzakkar, who declared the whole island to be a part of the “Islamic State of Indonesia” on 7 August 1953. Not sure what the three stars mean, but it’s interesting to note that the same thing happened in Aceh a month later, and the rebels there flew a green flag with a white crescent and four stars. Maybe it was some kind of number of provinces thing?

    Modern separatists use flags with the distinctive outline of the island.

     
  7. Bonaire, since 1981

    Bonaire’s Flag Day is September 6, even though the flag was adopted on December 11. Not sure how that happened but whatever. The blue, white, and yellow parts of the flag represent the sea, sky, and sun respectively. The six points on the star represent six regions (villages?) of the island, and it lies at the centre of a compass to represent people who have come there to Bonaire from around the world.

    There are some pictures from last year’s celebration on this blog.

     
  8. FROLINAT, 1966-1993

    The National Liberation Front of Chad was an insurgent group from the north of the country in the decades following independence. Like the flag of the national government, the FROLINAT flag doesn’t look particularly African.

     
  9. Uzbekistan, since 1991

    I’m surprised I’ve never had an Uzbek flag on here before. There’s a lot of double meaning on the flag. Blue represents water but is also allegedly the colour used by Timur’s empire. Green represents nature and a crescent moon represnts the birth of a new republic, but both symbols can also represent Islam. 

     
  10. Kyrgyzstan, since 1992

    The crossed lines on the flag are a tündük, which is the top part of a Kyrgyz yurt. I’m not 100% positive but I believe that makes this the world’s first and only yurt-based flag.

    As far as post-Soviet flag design goes this is one of the better examples. Apparently the flag was originally supposed to be blue and white, but it was thrown out because in some parts of southern Kyrgyzstan blue is the colour of mourning, and southern MPs wanted to lodge a protest against the all-northern composition of the flag design group. In the end the old Communist red and yellow won out. Would have looked better the other way but still an excellent symbol.

    Apparently there was another proposal for a flag that had “blue, white, orange and green” with the tunduk in the top right corner. How exactly that would have worked I don’t know

    (designers: Edil Aidarbekov, Bekbosun Zhaichybekov, Sabyr Iptarov, Zhusup Matayev, Mamatbek Sydykov)

     
  11. Saint Albert, since 1980

    The Alberta town has a very preppy looking flag. It looks like it should be a polo shirt or something. The blue area represents the original Francophone and Métis settlers of the town, while the red represents the Anglophones that came later.

     
  12. Saint Kitts and Nevis Coast Guard, since 1967?

    St. Kitts has a designated “naval ensign”, but no navy per se. The coast guard flies it instead, and even then only on the two largest of its five vessels. So I guess that means there are only two of these flags flying in the world?

    The design is on the model of the British white ensign: White field, red cross, and the national flag in the top left quadrant. This stretches the national flag out to a kind of ridiculous 4:9 ratio, which kind of messes up the star placement.

     
  13. Liberia, 1827-1847

    August 24 is Liberia’s Flag Day. As a colony, Liberia distinguished itself from the United States by adding a cross to its flag instead of a field of stars. After independence, the cross was replaced with a star and the number of stripes reduced to eleven. Some reports have a Latin cross (the tall kind) instead of a Greek cross.

     
  14. Vilches, since 2009

    "Vilches, The City of Quilters."

     
  15. King of Morocco

    Today is the birthday of King Mohammed VI. His royal standard is a square green flag with the Moroccan coat of arms in the centre. The original drawing of the arms had the Atlas Mountains in between the red field and the rising sun, but nowadays they’ve been replaced with an abstract diamond pattern. 

    While looking up the blazon for this coat of arms, I learned that the technical term for that curvy horizon bar is a “fess embowed”. Those heralds had a weird sounding name for everything.