Sunday, 30 November 2008

Anguilla - Current

The national flag of Anguilla consists of a Blue Ensign with the British flag in the canton, charged with the coat of arms of Anguilla in the fly. The coat of arms consists of three dolphins, which were featured on a earlier Anguilla flag. The flag was adopted after a previous Governor of Anguilla, Mr. Brian Canty, suggested a new flag and drew sketches which were sent to London for approval by Her Majesty the Queen. The new flag, which was first hoisted on 30th May 1990.

The detail of the coat of arms is as follows, a shield containing three orange dolphins on a white background with a turquoise-blue base. The proportions of the shield, are 5/4. The shield is straight sided until 15/26 of its depth and the light blue occupies 4/13 of the overall size.

The flag is Anguilla's third flag other than as part of Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla. St. Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla was historically an overseas territory of the United Kingdom located in the Caribbean Sea. This entity later became a province to the short lived West Indies Federation in 1958. When the regional federation of British islands collapsed in 1962, Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla became involved in several attempts by movements towards another union in the Caribbean region.

In 1967, the territory of Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla was granted full internal autonomy. In 1971, the island of Anguilla rigorously sought and achieved separation; in 1980, the separation from the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis was formally accepted. The island's first flag was a red blue flag featuring the name of the island in yellow and two mermaids. The second flag was the Three Dolphins flag, which immediately became popular and is still used by many People today, although unofficially. The three dolphins are coloured orange, to represent endurance unity and strength, and are in a circle for continuity. The flag has a white background, for peace and tranquillity, with a turquoise-blue base representing the surrounding sea and also faith, youth and hope. The Union Flag and the Three Dolphins flags were used for many years but there was a strong feeling that Anguilla should have its own official flag.

Angola - Current

The flag of Angola was officially hoisted at independence on 11 November 1975. The National Flag consists of two colours in horizontal bands. The upper band shall be bright red and the lower one black. In the middle of the flag is a yellow star, part of a cog wheel and a machete. The red represents the blood shed by Angolans during colonial oppression, the national liberation struggle and the defence of the country. The black the African continent. The a cog wheel, symbolises the workers and industrial production. The a machete symbolising the peasants, agricultural production and the armed struggle. The star, symbolising international solidarity and progress. The yellow of the symbols represents the country's wealth. The symbol is clearly inspired by hammer and sickle.
An alternate representation states that yellow is to represent mineral wealth, and red and black are said to stand for 'Freedom or Death'.

Like in some other African countries this flag is a modification of the ruling party's flag. The guerrilla movement and later governing party, the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), used the same design with a golden star in the centre. Red stood for socialism and black for Africa. The star was modelled after the red star of the Soviet Union, which sponsored the MPLA.

The Angola flag has remained controversial. Some see it as an excessively political symbol, pointing out the similarity with the MPLA's party flag. It has also been criticized for representing memories of Angola's bloody and violent past, instead of hope for the future.

Andorra - Current

The national flag of the Principality of Andorra was adopted in 1866. The flag is a vertical tricolour of blue, yellow, and red with the coat of arms of Andorra in the centre. The vertical bars of the tricolour although at first glance appear equal, are actually of the ratio 8:9:8. The overall flag ratio is 7:10.

The coat of arms of the Principality of Andorra is made of four quarters, two for each of the co-princes. The four quarters are in the top left the one of the Bishopric, represented by a yellow mitre edged in white and yellow crosier on a red background. In the bottom left the one of Catalonia, nine equal vertical stripes of yellow and red starting with yellow on the left. The one of Foix, in the top right consisting of seven equal vertical stripes of yellow and red starting on the left with yellow and, the one of Bear in the bottom right consisting of two cows in red with blue horns, bells and hooves on a yellow background. The coat of arms is edged in beige with brown detail and on the bottom has the motto “Virtus Unita Fortior” which means "Strength United is Stronger".

The colours of the flag are Pantone Blue 072c, Yellow C, Red 199c and for the coat of arms Pantone Red 485c, Yellow C, Blue 300c, Beige 466c and Brown 478c. Full details of design and colours are available in Spanish on the following .PDF file.

The design is based on the flags of France and Spain, the two states that protect the independence of the small state. The design of vertical bars is taken from the French Tricolore, as is the blue and red. Yellow and red are taken from the Spanish flag.

From 1806 to 1866, Andorra's flag had been a vertical bicolour of yellow and red.

American Samoa - Current

The flag of American Samoa was adopted on 24th April 1960. The flag consists of a blue field with a white triangle, edged in red, based on the fly. The triangle extends to the hoist. Within the triangle is an American bald eagle in proper colours (brown and white), flying facing the hoist side. The eagle grasps the symbol of power of the Samoan chiefs, the "uatogi" or "Fa'alaufa'i" (war-club) in its left talon, and the symbol of wisdom of the councils, the "fue" (ritual stick) in its right talon. The ratio of the flag is 1:2.

The colours of the American Samoa flag although not specified are meant to mimic those of the flag of the United States. Pantone Colours for the U.S. Flag are specified as Pantone 186 and 288 for the red and blue by the U.S. Government Printing Office , but Pantone specifies Pantone 193 and 281.

The colours of the flag, and the American eagle, holding traditional Samoan emblems, represents the protection and friendship of the United States.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Algeria - Current

The flag of Algeria (The Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria) is constituted by a green and white rectangle embossed by a red star and a red crescent with a ratio of 2:3. The colours of the flag are Green Pantone 356c and Red Pantone 186c. The ratio and disposition are as follows, the length of the rectangle is equal to one and half its width (height of the flag). This rectangle is divided according to the small median in two halves. The green colour half is placed inside, against the shaft. The white colour half is placed outside.The star has five branches. It is inscribed in a circle whose radius is equal to the eighth of the height of the flag. It is entirely placed on the white field of the flag; two points are on the small median of the rectangle and a point is on the big median.The radius of the outside circle of the crescent is equal to the quarter of the height of the flag. The radius of the inner circle of the crescent is equal to the fifth of the height of the flag. The two points of the crescent delimit a big equal bow to the five sixth of the circumference of the outside circle. The centre of the outside circle of the crescent is in the centre of the rectangle.

The flag was first officially hoisted on 3 July 1962. The flag is said to be a variation of the flag of liberation forces of Abd el-Kader in 1837-1847, but there is no proof of that. The flag was adopted by the National Liberation Front in 1954, based on an older design, created in 1928 by the nationalist leader Messali Hadj. From 1958 to 1962 it was the flag of the Provisional Government in exile, but was retained when independence was achieved in 1962 and has remained unchanged ever since.

The meaning of the colours are disputed as either green for Islam and white for purity or white representing peace; the green, the beauty of nature; the red, the blood of those killed fighting for independence in the Algerian War (1954 to 1962) and the star and crescent represent Islam.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Albania - Current

The flag of Albania is the silhouette in black of an opened winged double-headed eagle on a red field (Pantone 186c). The flag has the proportions of 5:7. It was adopted on 7th April 1992 and has the nickname of “flamur e Skënderbeut” (Skanderbeg’s flag). It is the only red and black flag of a recognized sovereign state.

The eagle has two possible interpretations. The eagle is said to symbolise the lack of submission of the highland Albanians to foreign conquest or it refers to the territory of Albania as the crossroads between eastern and western cultures and the unity of its peoples despite religious cleavages.

Albania, in its recent history, has used several flags consisting of variations on the black double-headed eagle on a red field.

1914. The eagle has golden beak and claws and is holding golden arrows. Above its head is a white five-pointed star.

1928. The eagle is surmounted by Skanderbeg's helmet in gold.

1939. The flag was changed to plain red with the arms: black eagle on a red shield. The shield was set between two black fasces, above it Skanderbeg's helmet in black. Below the shield a scroll with the motto FERT.

1944. Return to the pre war flag with the addition of a golden star in the upper corner, later replaced by a hammer and sickle.

1946. The symbol in the corner was removed and a red five-pointed star with golden border was set above the heads of the eagle.

1992. Albania again became a Republic, and the star was removed from the flag.

Åland Islands - Current

Åland Islands(Finnish: Ahvenanmaa, Swedish: Åland) are a autonomous area of Finland.

The flag of the Åland Islands is blue with a red Scandinavian cross edged with yellow.
The dimensions of the flag of the Åland Islands are 16:3:4:3:26 horizontally and 12:3:4:3:12 vertically.

When Finland declared independence from Russia in 1917, the Åland islanders feared for their Swedish language and culture and mobilized for a reunion with Sweden. In the Middle Ages the Åland archipelago was a province of Sweden. Ecclesiastically the islands belonged to the diocese of Abo (Turku) in Finland, and so the province was lost to Russia in 1809. The issue was finally settled by the League of Nations in 1921. The islands were to be a part of Finland, but they were to enjoy autonomy. However, a flag was not granted until 1954. Unofficially a blue-yellow-blue triband had been in use from 1922. Several versions existed, the dominating one had equal horizontal bands. Another version had a narrower band of yellow as when the vertical yellow stripe in the cross on the Swedish flag is taken away. Blue and yellow were naturally the favourite colours, being both the colours of Sweden and the colours of the provincial coat of arms (a golden deer on blue), Therefore, when preparing a design for adoption in the early 1950s, the favoured design was a Scandinavian cross design of a blue field and a yellow and blue cross, the flag of Sweden with an extra blue cross in the middle. This proposal was rejected by the president of Finland as too similar to the Swedish flag. Alternative designs were the old blue-yellow-blue triband, the flag of Finland with an extra yellow cross in the middle, and a design where a red cross was added to the Swedish pattern. The outcome of the process was the adoption of the blue-yellow- red Scandinavian cross design. This flag was first hoisted on the town hall in the provincial capital Mariehamn 3 April 1954. The red colour was controversial at first, because people felt it lacked a local tradition. However, the colours can be said to come from the provincial coat of arms and the colours of the coat of arms of Finland. Also, experts in heraldry have found out that at one point a Swedish king hoisted a flag of exactly the same design. According to current legislation pertaining to the flag, the proportions are set as 17:26. The parts are defined as 6-1.5- 2-1.5-6 (hoist), 8-1.5-2-1.5-13 (fly). The colours are described as medium blue, golden yellow and (simply) red. Official flag days are Åland Flag Day, the last Sunday of April, and Autonomy Day, 9 June. The 1992 flag law also requires vessels operated by the government of Åland to use the Åland flag. This means that the Åland flag is also the state ensign within the Åland autonomy context. One can then say that the Åland flag is now filling the four functions it can possibly fill: Civil and state flag and civil and state ensign. The revised autonomy act (1991) for the Åland Islands gave the autonomy authorities increased powers to pass legislation concerning the use of the Åland flag, especially as concerns its use at sea. Making use of these powers, the legislative assembly of Aland passed a flag law, approved by the president of Finland on 3. August 1992 and published in Mariehamn 13. August 1992, that made the Aland flag into a civil ensign. The flag act took effect on 1. January 1993. The use of the Åland civil ensign is optional, and thus only an alternative to the Finnish civil ensign for vessels belonging in the islands. Further, the 1992 flag law gave the Åland government the power to introduce a special ensign for leisure vessels. This was done on 17. September 1998.

Official Colours
Authorities in Åland recently officially specified the colours of the Åland flag, previously only described in law as medium blue, red and yellow. According to Province Regulations No. 15, 2004, issued in Mariehamn on 8 April 2004, the flag's colours are specified in three different systems:

Natural Colour System
Medium blue = 3065-R90B
Yellow = 0580-Y10R
Red = 1085-Y90R
Pantone Matching System
Medium blue = 2945C and 300U
Yellow = 116C and 109U
Red = 186C and 185U
Medium blue = C100-M54-Y2-K0
Yellow = C0-M16-Y100-K0
Red = C6-M100-Y100-K0

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Afghanistan - Current

The Afghanistan flag consists of a vertical tricolour running from left to right of black, red and green. The width of every coloured piece is equal to half of its length. The national emblem is located in the centre of the flag. The national emblem of the state of Afghanistan is composed of Mehrab and Pulpit in white colour. Two flags are located on its sides. In the upper-middle part of the insignia the sacred phrase of "There is no God but Allah and Mohammad is his prophet and Allah is Great" are placed along with a rising sun. The word Afghanistan and the year 1298 (solar calendar) are located in the lower part of the insignia. The emblem is encircled with two branches of wheat.

The colours used on the flag are;
Red: Pantone 186
Green: Pantone 3425
Process Black C 100%
White: Process Black C 0%

There are conflicting descriptions of the Afghanistan flag's meaning. One version states that the flag's colours represented different eras in the country's history. The black represented the 19th century era when Afghanistan was occupied and not independent; that red represented the fight for independence; and that green represented that independence was achieved. However these three colours originated in 1928. Another and more probable version is that the colour black may represent previous Afghan flags which represented the sovereign; red was possibly introduced by former king Aman Allah as a sign of progress, copied from the Soviet flag; and that green stands for Islam.

The present day Afghanistan flag was introduced in 2002 by the country's transitional government after the Taliban were defeated with only a few minor alterations to date. Afghanistan had a similar flag during its monarchist reign from 1930 to 1973, but some of its previous versions were radically different. Afghanistan has undergone many flag changes, among the most in the world, during the 20th Century.

Before the 20th Century the flag was all black. Between October 1978 and April 1980 the Afghan flag was predominantly red with an emblem in the top left corner.