1. Honduras, since 1866

    Before 1866, Honduras didn’t actually have a legally defined national flag. It kept using the old Central American blue-white-blue tricolour mostly out of inertia. If you look on flag charts from that era they generally just don’t have an entry on Honduras at all. 

    Even after 1866 the five-star flag was only a merchant ensign, officially speaking. Flag charts from that time period, when they do show Honduras, almost always just show a plain blue-white-blue flag (or they get it mixed up with one of its neighbours). It wasn’t until World War I that foreign sources started consistently using the five-star version. In 1949 five-star flag was standardized and made the sole national flag.

    September 1 is Honduran Flag Day.

  2. President of Equatorial Guinea, 1986 proposal

    Equatorial Guinea has never had a presidential standard, but a couple of them were floated in the 1980s. The flag has the silk-cotton tree from the coat of arms, with three stars to represent President Obiang Nguema’s colonel rank.

    (designers: Tomas Rodriguez and Antonio Manzano)

  3. Telanganaunofficial flag reported c. 2002

    This four-striped flag is reported as the “Telenganan national flag” in a book called the Encyclopedia of the Stateless Nations. Who specifically designed and used this flag it doesn’t say, and I can’t find any more on it. Wikimedia Commons also has another version that goes yellow-blue-red-green.

  4. Little Russia, 1990s proposal

    This was another pro-Russian flag used in Ukraine after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Like the tricolour proposal, it uses purple to represent the Cossacks. Little Russia, or “Malorossiya” was a historical name of Ukraine while it was in the Russian empire. Like the recent proposal for a "Novorossiyan" flag, it seems to be based on the Russian naval ensign.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Vilches, since 2009

    "Vilches, The City of Quilters."

  9. Mosquito Coast, 1834-1860

    20 August is World Mosquito Day. This has to do with malaria prevention and is completely unrelated to the Mosquito Coast, which was a British protectorate in Nicaragua. There are a bunch of different drawings of this flag with anywhere between six and twelve stripes, and the Union Jack is sometimes shown as a square. After 1860, the Nicaraguan flag replaced the Union Jack.

  10. Afghanistan, 1992-2001

    Afghanistan has only dispensed with its black-red-green tricolour a handful of times since it was first adopted in 1928. There was Bacha-i-Saqao’s unusual red-black-white tricolour from 1929, the red flag of the Khalq government from 1978, and then this flag, which was adopted by the Islamic State of Afghanistan in 1992. The green stood for Islam, the white for purity, and the black for the country’s dark past. Once the Taliban took over they started flying white flags, and after they were forced out of power the old black-red-green was restored.

  11. Afghanistan, 1929

    Amanullah Khan introduced the Afghan tricolour in 1928 as part of his modernization program, but his reforms were far from universally accepted. The next year, a Tajik rebel named Bacha-i-Saqao (“Son of a Water Carrier”) usurped the throne and installed a new reactionary government.

    Sources are conflicted about what flags he used during his brief rule. Some say he restored the old 1919-1928 flag while others say he adopted this unusual red-black-white tricolour, allegedly based on colours used by the Mongols in the 13th century. The tricolour also looks suspicious similar to a flag attributed to Abdul Rahim’s largely autonomous government in Herat, which was black-red-white with a white crescent in the centre. And that flag may have actually been the flag of Purdel Khan, a former supporter of Bacha-i-Saqao who led a Tajik revolt in 1930. It’s difficult to sort it all out, and the lack of pictures of flags from this very short period doesn’t help any.

  12. Indonesia, since 1945

    Indonesia’s flag had been used unofficially by nationalists inside and outside of the country since the 1920s, but it was first raised in an official capacity out front of Sukarno’s house on 17 August 1945. This original flag is called the Bendera Pusaka (“Heirloom flag”) and it was sewn by hand by Fatmawati, the First Lady.

  13. Grand Kru County

    I love Liberian county flags! So inventive and colourful. The pattern of gold and green stripes on the edge here is particularly unique.

  14. Charlottetown, since 1989

    I don’t know who was in charge of drawing all these rectangles but they have some serious explaining to do.

    (designer: Robert D. Watt)

  15. North York, 1972-1985 (top), 1985-1997 (bottom)

    The Borough of North York upgraded to the City of North York on Valentine’s Day 1979, and from then on it used the excessively cutesy motto, “The City With Heart”. Hearts featured all over official signage and whatnot, and in 1985 they finally made their way onto the flag.

    Unlike the Scarborough and East York, which still occasionally fly their flags in an unofficial capacity, North York dumped its flag when it amalgamated with the City of Toronto in 1997. Most people probably don’t even remember either of these existed.