40 Fascinating Facts about Flags

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1Red flag

Red flag

The red flag, when used by pirates, came to mean "no quarter given", meaning that no mercy would be shown, and no life would be spared, while a black flag usually meant that those who surrendered without a fight would be allowed to live.

2. In 2007, Russia planted its national flag underwater in hopes of securing the arctic's potential natural resources. “This isn’t the 15th century,” one foreign minister said. “You can’t go around the world and just plant flags and say, ‘We’re claiming this territory.’

3. According to the United States Flag Code, the flag “should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever.” This includes paper napkins or plates printed with the design.

4. Bhutan, Wales, and Malta are the only countries in the world whose flags have dragons on them.

5. The American flag deployed on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission was inserted only seven inches deep and was placed about 27 feet from the Eagle landing craft. As a result, it was blown over by the blast of the rocket exhaust during the takeoff back to Earth.

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The flag of the Philippines is flown with the red side on the upper side in times of war and the blue side on the upper side during times of peace.

7. The flag of Nova Scotia was only officially adopted in 2013, even after 155 years of use, when an 11-year-old girl researching a project realized that it had never been officially recognized in all that time.

8. The Hawaii state flag has existed in its current form since the islands were a monarchy, and was commissioned by King Kamehameha to resemble both the US and UK flag in order to avoid being dragged by either side into the War of 1812.

9. Using a white flag as a ruse to approach and attack an enemy is considered a war crime according to the law of war.

10. The reason so many African flags have green, yellow and red is because of the Ethiopian flag. As one of the few independent African nations during the colonial period, the new countries of Africa looked to them for inspiration.

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11Olympic flag

Olympic flag

The Olympic flag's colors are always red, black, blue, green, and yellow rings on a field of white. This is because at least one of those colors appears on the flag of every nation on the planet.

12. Liechtenstein and Haiti developed identical national flags independently of each other. No one realized until the two countries competed against each other in the 1936 Summer Olympics under the same flag.

13. The Flag that Apollo 11 astronauts planted on the moon was bought for $5.50 at Sears.

14. The French flag has uneven proportions in naval use. The blue, white, and red sections are 30%, 33%, and 37%, respectively, to counteract the illusion of size mismatch created when the flag is flapping (flapping makes the section opposite the halyard, the red section in this case, seem smaller).

15. The flag of Nepal, famous for being the only current national flag that isn't a quadrilateral, has its dimensions specified by law. The rectangle circumscribing the flag has an irrational ratio that is the least root of a quartic polynomial.

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16Indonesian flag

Indonesian flag

The Indonesian flag is nearly the same as the Dutch flag, but with the bottom third and blue strip removed. After 138 years of Dutch rule, youths removed a Dutch flag tore off the blue strip and re-hoisted it as an Indonesian flag in 1945 (War of Independence 1945-1949).

17. The quarantine flag also called the “Yellow Jack”, is an international signal flag that was last flown during the 2002-03 SARS outbreak (before COVID-19). The flag is flown from a ship that is either arriving in port with known serious health problems or that has been placed under quarantine.

18. The golden circle on the flag of Portugal represents an armillary sphere, a nautical device used by Portuguese sailors exploring unknown seas during the Age of Discoveries.

19. The first Olympic flag went missing for 77 years after the 1920 games until a 1920 olympian revealed he’d had it in his suitcase the whole time.

20. There are only 2 countries in the world whose flags contain neither red, white, nor blue: Jamaica and Mauritania.

21Peace Flag

Peace Flag

The Canadian Flag that flies over the Peace Tower of the Canadian Parliament is changed daily. Used flags are then given away. Any Canadian resident may request one of these flags but the current waiting period is 63 years.

22. The American flag present on the deck of the USS Missouri during signing of the Japanese Instrument of Surrender was the same flag that Commodore Matthew Perry flew when the U.S. Navy's Far East Squadron sailed into Tokyo Bay to force the opening of Japan's ports to foreign trade.

23. The star and crescent on the Turkish flag are unrelated to Islam. Instead, they represent the ancient Turkic sun and moon deities, Gün Ana, and Ay Ata.

24. When flown at half-staff, the American flag should be first hoisted to the peak for an instance and then lowered to the half-staff position.

25. The symbol on the flag of Kyrgyzstan is what you see when you look up while inside a yurt.

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