1. 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)

  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. 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.

  4. Ukraine, 1990s proposal

    August 23 is Ukrainian Flag Day. As you’re doubt aware by now, not everyone in Ukraine is enamoured with the current flag. There were a couple of proposals to change it the early 1990s that never really went anywhere. This one added a third purple stripe to represent the Zaporozhian Cossacks.

  5. Vilches, since 2009

    "Vilches, The City of Quilters."

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Chad, since 1959

    When Chad became independent on 11 August 1960, Romania’s blue-yellow-red tricolour had a communist emblem on it, so the two flags were distinguishable. But after the Cold War, Romania reverted to its original plain tricolour and the two countries wound up with identical flags.

    The two flags are occasionally said to differ in their shade of blue, with Chad’s being PMS 281c and Romania’s being PMS 280c, but that’s such a small difference that it’s almost impossible to tell them apart, and in practice neither flag uses a single blue shade consistently.

  11. President of Malawi

    Malawi’s Presidential Standard seems to be based on the old British-style Governor-General’s flag, but with the stuffy old British lion replaced with the more dynamic one from the Malawian coat of arms. Nice upgrade.

  12. Leeward Islands, French Polynesia

    Someone on Wikipedia has incorrectly labelled this as the flag of the Society Islands, but if they had been an attentive French speaker they might have recognized that ISLV stands for “Îles Sous-le-Vent”. The Leeward Islands are the western half of the Society Islands chain, where Bora Bora is. The other half is the Windward Islands (“Îles du Vent”), which includes Tahiti.

  13. Amman, since 2009

    City flags aren’t very common in the Arab world, so it’s nice to see that the Jordanian capital has such a cool and unique one. It’s more logo-y than flaggy to be sure, but I think it works.

  14. Crown Prince of Iraq, 1930-1958

    I have no idea how you would even describe the shape of this pennant. “Pants-shaped” perhaps?

  15. Vanuatu, since 1980

    Vanuatu has what’s known as a “flag of convenience”, meaning its national ship registry is open to foreigners that want to avoid higher fees or stricter regulations in their home countries. A full 94% of ships registered in Vanuatu are from overseas, most notably the QE2.

    Vanuatu became independent from joint Anglo-French rule on 30 July 1980.

    (designer: Kalontas Mahlon)