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Carl Evans | carlevans

Why Does Each Country Have a Flag?

Mar 23rd 2015 at 3:30 AM

Flags have been used for more than 4,000 years. The first types of flags were metal or wooden poles with a carving on top that sent a signal to others, typically about the people associated with that flag. Originally, a flag was called a vexilloid, hence, the scientific study of flags is known as vexillology.

Knights used flags to identify their person when they went into battle. Once a knight dressed in full armor, it was difficult to know who he was. His colors identified himself to his friends and enemies on the battlefield. Countries began using a flag as their symbol, and today, every country in the world has their own flag. Although flags tend to be unique to their country, many flags are similar, differing only by a small color or detail in their making.

Colors on a Flag

The colors of a flag often tell you a great deal. Black represents mourning or death. Yellow is caution or it could mean gold. Green can signify safety, land, youth or hope. White is representative of peace or a truce, and red is indicative of courage, power, danger, revolution, or even bloodshed during war. Consider the flag of the United States, where white represents purity, red represents valor, and blue is for vigilance.

Similar Flags

When you look at some of the oldest flags, from the Scandinavian countries, you see that they feature a cross. Denmark, Norway, Iceland, and Finland, and even Switzerland, all have a cross on their flag. This is probably due to the expansion of Denmark throughout the region. Then, consider the Union Jack, the flag of England. If you look at it closely, you will see the cross, in the red and white. It added the red “X” or the Saint Patrick’s cross for Ireland. France, the United States, and many other countries which were once under Britain’s rule have used the colors of the Union Jack to make up their own flag. Many flags trace their heritage back to Great Britain.

The star and crescent of many Middle Eastern flags can be traced back to the Ottoman Empire. It can be seen on the flags of Turkey, Pakistan, Algeria, and many others. Each of the Pan-Arab colors, (black, white, red, and green) represent a different dynasty of the region.

Flags have a rich and deep heritage when studied. The design is indicative of the formation of the country and the countries that are part of the history. The next time you see a flag, look more closely to see what it represents. To learn more about flags, click here.

Author Bio

With a passion for perfectly executed parties, Carl writes about event planning and the wedding industry. You may read more on his

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