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Encyclopedia > National flag
The Dannebrog, national flag of Denmark, is the oldest state flag still in use.
The Dannebrog, national flag of Denmark, is the oldest state flag still in use.

A national flag is a flag that symbolises a country. The flag is flown by the government, but usually can be flown by citizens of that country as well. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (2848x2136, 1594 KB) File links The following pages link to this file: Flag of Denmark Portal:Denmark/Selected article/Archive Portal:Denmark/Selected article/2006 archive Portal:Denmark/Selected article/Week 17, 2006 Metadata This file contains additional information, probably added... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (2848x2136, 1594 KB) File links The following pages link to this file: Flag of Denmark Portal:Denmark/Selected article/Archive Portal:Denmark/Selected article/2006 archive Portal:Denmark/Selected article/Week 17, 2006 Metadata This file contains additional information, probably added... The Dannebrog. ... The flags of the U.S. states exhibit a wide variety of regional influences and local histories, as well as widely different styles and design principles. ... It has been suggested that the section intro from the article Civil flag be merged into this article or section. ... The word citizen may refer to: A person with a citizenship Citizen Watch Co. ...


Both public and private buildings such as schools and courthouses often fly the national flag. In some countries, the national flags are only flown from non-military buildings on certain flag days.


There are three distinct types of national flag for use on land, and three for use at sea, although many countries use identical designs for several (and sometimes all) of these types of flag.

Contents

National flags on land

On land, there is a distinction between civil flags (FIAV symbol ), state flags ( ), and war or military flags ( ). State flags are those used officially by government agencies, whereas civil flags may be flown by anyone irrespective of whether they are linked to government. War flags (also called military flags) are used by military organisations such as armies. Image File history File links Peoples_Liberation_Army_Flag_of_the_Peoples_Republic_of_China. ... Image File history File links Peoples_Liberation_Army_Flag_of_the_Peoples_Republic_of_China. ... Civil and state flag and ensign. ... A civil flag is a version of the national flag that is flown by civilians on non-government installations or craft. ... Flag of the Fédération internationale des associations vexillologiques. ... Image File history File links FIAV_100000. ... The flags of the U.S. states exhibit a wide variety of regional influences and local histories, as well as widely different styles and design principles. ... Image File history File links FIAV_010000. ... A war flag (or military flag) is a variant of a national flag for use by the nations military forces on land. ... Image File history File links FIAV_001000. ...


In practice, many countries (including the United States and the United Kingdom) have identical flags for these three purposes; national flag is sometimes used as a vexillological term to refer to such a three-purpose flag ( ). In a number of countries, however — notably those in Latin America — there is a distinct difference between civil and state flags. In most cases, the civil flag is a simplified version of the state flag, the difference often being the presence of a coat of arms on the state flag which is absent from the civil flag. Image File history File links FIAV_111000. ... Latin America consists of the countries of South America and some of North America (including Central America and some the islands of the Caribbean) whose inhabitants mostly speak Romance languages, although Native American languages are also spoken. ...


Very few countries use a war flag that differs from the state flag; the People's Republic of China is a notable exception.


National ensigns at sea

See also: Gallery of maritime flags

The flag that indicates nationallity on a ship is called ensign. As with the national flags, there are three varieties: the civil ensign ( ), flown by private vessels; state ensigns (also called government ensigns; ), flown by government ships; and war ensigns (also called naval ensigns; ), flown by naval vessels. The ensign is flown from an ensign-staff at the stern of the ship, or from a gaff when underway. Both these positions are superior to any other on the ship, even though the masthead is higher. In the absence of a gaff the ensign may be flown from the yardarm. (See Maritime flags.) National flags may also be flown by aircraft and the vehicles of important officials. Image File history File links Naval_Ensign_of_Japan. ... Image File history File links Naval_Ensign_of_Japan. ... Civil and state flag and ensign (Aug 13, 1999. ... This is a gallery of maritime flags, including both flags designated for use at sea and flags referencing nautical elements in their designs. ... Ensign of the Imperial Japanese Navy. ... The civil ensign (a. ... Image File history File links FIAV_000100. ... Image File history File links FIAV_000010. ... Image File history File links FIAV_000001. ... Aft of the Soleil Royal, by Jean Bérain the Elder. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Gaff rig. ... A masthead refers to the top of a mast of a ship. ... The fore royal yard on the Prince William. ... A Maritime flag or Naval Jack is a national flag used exclusively on boats and other watercraft. ...


In some countries, such as the United States and Canada, the national ensign is identical to the national flag, while in others, such as the United Kingdom and Japan, there are specific ensigns for maritime use. Most countries do not have a separate state ensign, although the United Kingdom is a rare exception, in having a red ensign for civil use, a white ensign as its naval ensign, and a blue ensign for government non-military vessels. The Red Ensign, as currently used by the United Kingdoms Merchant Navy The Red Ensign is a flag that originated in the early 1600s as an ensign flown by the Royal Navy. ... The White Ensign. ... The modern Blue Ensign of the United Kingdom The British Blue Ensign (1707–1801) English Blue Ensign as it appeared in the seventeenth century. ...


Similar flags

See also: Gallery of confusable flags

Although the national flag is meant to be a unique symbol for a country, many pairs of countries have highly similar and thus easily confusable flags. Examples include the flags of Monaco and of Indonesia, which differ only slightly in proportion; of the Netherlands and of Luxembourg, which differ in proportion as well as in the shade of blue used; and of Romania and of Chad, which are almost completely identical. Image File history File links Flag_of_Chad. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Chad. ... Flag ratio: 2:3 The national flag of the Republic of Chad is a vertical tricolor consisting (left to right) of a blue, a yellow and a red field. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Romania. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Romania. ... The national flag of Romania is a vertical tricolor of blue, yellow, and red. ... This is a gallery of pairs (or larger groupings) of flags that exhibit such similarity in design that they can be difficult to distinguish. ...


While some similarities are coincidental, others are rooted in shared histories. For example, the flags of Venezuela, of Colombia, and of Ecuador all use variants of the flag of Great Colombia, the country they comprised upon their independence from Spain, created by the Venezuelan independence hero Francisco de Miranda; and the flags of Egypt, of Iraq, of Syria, and of Yemen are all highly similar variants of the flag of the Arab revolt of 1916–1918. Command Standard of Francisco de Miranda, Mirandas Tricolour. ... Francisco de Miranda Sebastián Francisco de Miranda Rodríguez (commonly known as Francisco de Miranda March 28, 1750 – July 14, 1816) was a South American revolutionary whose own plan for the independence of the Spanish American colonies failed, but who is regarded as a forerunner of Simón Bol... Red, black, and white, sometimes with green, are the Pan-Arab colors and have their origins in the flag of the Arab Revolt. ...


Many other similarities may be found among current national flags, particularly if inversions of color schemes are considered (e.g., compare the flag of Côte d'Ivoire to that of Ireland). Still more identical or closely similar pairs exist comparing present day and historical flags; for example, the current national flag of Albania was the war flag of the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Empire. The flag of Albania used from 1946 to 1992 The flag of Albania used from 1939 to 1943 during World War II Axis Occupation Albanian Kingdom Flag (1928-1939) Principality of Albania (1914) officially until 1920 The national flag of Albania is a red flag with a black two-headed... Byzantine Empire at its greatest extent c. ...


Flag protocol

Main article: Flag protocol

There is a great deal of protocol involved in the proper display of national flags. For example, national flags should never be flown upside down (where this is possible) except as a distress signal. There are very few or no other articles that link to this one. ... A distress signal is an internationally recognized means of obtaining help by using a radio, displaying a visual object or making noise from a distance. ...


There are many regulations concerning the display of national flags, but the general rule is that the national flag should be flown in the position of honor, and not in an inferior position to any other flag (although some countries make an exception for royal standards). The following regulations are typical.

  • When a national flag is displayed together with any other flags, it must be hoisted first and lowered last.
  • When a national flag is displayed together with the national flags of other countries, all the flags should be of approximately equal size and must be flown at an equal height, although the national flag of the host country should be flown in the position of honour (in the center of an odd number of flagstaffs or at the far right — left from an observer's point of view — of an even number of flagstaffs).
  • When a national flag is displayed together with flags other than national flags, it should be flown on a separate flagstaff, either higher or in the position of honor.
  • When a national flag is displayed together with any other flags on the same flagstaff, it must be at the top, though separate flagstaffs are preferable.
  • When a national flag is displayed together with any other flag on crossed staffs, the national flag must be on the observer's left and its staff must be in front of the staff of the other flag.
  • When a national flag is displayed together with another flag or flags in procession, the national flag must be on the marching right. If there is a row of flags, it should be in the position of honor.
  • When a national flag, with some exceptions, is flown upside down it indicates distress.

Trivia

Nepal's national flag is the only one with a non-rectangular shape.
Nepal's national flag is the only one with a non-rectangular shape.
  • The Dannebrog, national flag of Denmark, is the oldest state flag still in use.
  • Nepal's national flag is the only non-rectangular national flag in the world.
  • The flag of Scotland is one of the oldest flags in the world, traditionally dating back to the 9th century, and is the oldest national flag still in modern use
  • The flags of Switzerland and Vatican City are the only national flags which are exact squares.
  • The flag of the Philippines is unique in being flown upside-down (with red on top) when the nation is at war.[1]
  • The most popular colour combinations are:
    • Red, white, and blue (mainly European and Western nations)
    • Red, yellow, and green (mainly African nations)
    • Red, white, black (mainly Middle East/Islamic nations)
  • The Olympic rings - blue (Europe), yellow (Asia), black (Africa), green (Australia/Oceania) and red (America) represent colors used at least once in every national flag around the world.
  • The Flag of Libya is the only flag that consists of only one color, green.
  • The Flag of Cyprus is the only national flag that depicts the shape of the country it represents. The Korean Unification Flag depicts the two countries it represents.
  • The official Flag of Paraguay is the only flag with different obverse (national coat of arms) and reverse (seal of the Ministry of Justice).

Image File history File links Flag_of_Nepal. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Nepal. ... Flag ratio: 4:3 The national flag of Nepal is the only non-quadrangular national flag, and one of only two non-rectangular official jurisdictional flags in the world (the other is the flag of Ohio). ... The Dannebrog. ... The flags of the U.S. states exhibit a wide variety of regional influences and local histories, as well as widely different styles and design principles. ... Flag ratio: 4:3 The national flag of Nepal is the only non-quadrangular national flag, and one of only two non-rectangular official jurisdictional flags in the world (the other is the flag of Ohio). ... The Saltire, the flag of Scotland, a white saltire with an official Pantone 300 coloured field. ... Bandila redirects here. ... World map showing the location of Europe. ... A world map showing the continent of Africa Africa is the worlds second-largest and second most-populous continent, after Asia. ... Among the recognizable Olympic symbols: The Olympic flag: A white flag with the Olympic Rings on it in five colours. ... Flag ratio: 3:5 The flag of Cyprus was adopted on August 16, 1960. ... The Unification Flag is used to represent all of Korea when North and South Korea participate together in sporting events. ...

See also

The design and description of flags typically uses specialised flag terminology with precise and technical meanings, and is hence a form of jargon. ... Burning the Flag of the United States Flag desecration is a blanket term applied to various acts that intentionally deface a flag, most often a national flag (though other flags can be defaced as well). ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Screenshot of the Flags of the World website Official flag Flags of the World (or FOTW) is the Internets largest website devoted to vexillology, containing comprehensive information about all kinds of flags. ... There are very few or no other articles that link to this one. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... A modern coat of arms is derived from the medi val practice of painting designs onto the shield and outer clothing of knights to enable them to be identified in battle, and later in tournaments. ... This is an alphabetical list of the sovereign states of the world, including both de jure and de facto independent states. ... This gallery of sovereign-state flags shows the flags of sovereign states in the list of sovereign states. ... This is a gallery of maritime flags, including both flags designated for use at sea and flags referencing nautical elements in their designs. ... This gallery contains the flags of states that were (at least de facto) independent in the past. ... This is a list of flags of autonomist and secessionist movements around the world. ... This gallery of sovereign state coats of arms shows the coat of arms of sovereign states in the list of sovereign states. ...

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
National flags

Image File history File links Commons-logo. ... The Wikimedia Commons (also called Wikicommons) is a repository of free content images, sound and other multimedia files. ... Flag of the Fédération internationale des associations vexillologiques. ...

Notes


 
 

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