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Sunday, June 13, 2021

7 Famous Flags and The History Behind Them

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1)United States of America:

The Star-Spangled Banner dates it origins to the American Revolution. The revolution itself had begun as a protest to the ever-growing taxes that the British Empire had imposed on its colonies, mostly on the New World ones, in particular the infamous tea tax. The constant wars the British had waged on in the world, alongside the frivolous spending its nobility had done, were a pain to its colonies because of the tax. Uniting under the common idea for independence, the cataclysm to the full-blown revolution were the Sons of Liberty, who carried a flag of nine vertical stripes of red and white and threw the newly arrived boxed tea, which arrived in the Boston harbor. At first representing the 13 states that had united under a single banner of red white and blue, today it numbers 50 stars each representing the states that make up the United States of America.

2)United Kingdom:

The origin of the flag of the U.K dates back to the middle ages. That is the first flag that was adopted by the English that featured St George’s cross painted red in the middle of a white background. After unifying with Scotland in the same 16th century as the flag was adopted, it was tailored to feature the flag of the Scots as well, which was the cross of St Andrew as a white X painted in the middle of a cyan background. The flag was called the Kings Colors all the way until 1801 with the unification of the Kingdom of Ireland. The union jack as it came to be, incorporated St Patrick’s cross alongside the St George’s and St Andrew’s respectively, and is today one of the most recognizable flags in the world.


France had used a lot of flag designs through the years, mostly representing the golden fleur-de-lis on a blue shield. Yet with the growing arrogance and pettiness the nobility had become to be known of in France, sparked a revolution that most of Europe followed suit in their own lands as well. The tricolor represents the three pillars of the French, those being the clergy representing the color white, the nobility representing the color red, and the bourgeoisie representing the color blue. The storming of the Bastille during the French Revolution, and the famous Liberté, égalité, fraternité meaning liberty, equality and fraternity are the words most famously attributed to the French flag of its origins.


The Russian tricolor of white, blue and red dates back to Tsarist Russia. In Russia’s history, the origin of the flag is debatable, as there are a lot of different explanations to its birth. Some talk of the flag representing that of the army, back then, since there was no official flag to be flown representing all of Russia, the different peoples serving in the military had their own version of the flag. Some say it was flown by Russian merchant ships during their voyages of trade in Europe or Asia. Yet the most agreed upon idea is that of its origins being with Tsar Peter the Great. The tsar had visited the city of Arkhangelsk in numerous occasions, to view the shipbuilding process and to tailor it to be similar to the ones used in Europe. During one of his visits, merchant ships from the Dutch Republic had docked and started unloading their cargo on the docks, when tsar Peter noticed the tricolor they use to this very day in the Netherlands. Fascinated the simplicity of this flag and how easily it can be distinguished, Peter the Great decided to model the Russian flag after the one he saw.


The story of the Mexican flag dates back to the early Middle Ages, when their ancestors the Aztecs, had decided to build their city Tenochtitlan on the swampy land in the middle of lake Texcoco. After receiving a vision of a great eagle, perched upon a prickly pear cactus, devouring a rattlesnake, the shamans were assured of a great destiny awaiting their people. Centuries later, the Mexicans had rebelled and fought against the Spanish for their independence, and used flags and banners depicting the Virgin Marry or the coat of arms depicting the golden eagle with various color schemes behind the symbols. The flag as we know it today came to be of the Golden Eagle placed upon the background of green, white and red after the Mexican people achieved independence from Spanish rule.


The earliest use of the flag of Japan depicting a rising sun, dates back to the 7th century. As Japan is among the first nations in the world to witness the sun rising for a new day, the land itself is called Empire of the Rising Sun. All the way through the Medieval Era of Japan, the various clans had used their own depictions of a flag representing the families that had ruled over the lands. It was adopted by the Tokugawa shogunate, and as the various empires had traded with the land locked country, it became widely known as the symbol of Japan. The flag used in modern day Japan is a version of the flag used during the Empire of Japan from world war I as Japan became a growing power to be rivaled with in the East.


India had been under Mughal rule, later conquered by the British for a long time. It had a lot of different flags through history, yet its modern day version dates back to its struggle for independence from the British, led by Mahatma Gandhi. Seeking to resolve the dispute with peace, in order to unify the various religious peoples of the Indian Peninsula, Gandhi had ordered for a flag to be made. To avoid sectarian associations, the colors saffron, white and Indian green came to be representing courage and sacrifice, peace and truth, chivalry and faith. In the center in navy blue is painted the Ashoka chakra, a 24 spoke wheel which was by the wish of Gandhi vowing for a peaceful independence without the use of any sort of violence, and as a way to do that, the Indian people needed to make their own clothes, by their own hands.

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