Friday, 19 December 2008

Bosnia - Current

The current flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina was adopted on 4th February 1998. It contains a wide medium blue vertical band on the fly side with a yellow isosceles triangle abutting the band and the top of the flag. The remainder of the flag is blue with seven full five-pointed white stars and two half stars top and bottom along the hypotenuse of the triangle. The proportions of the flag are 2:1[10].

The three points of the triangle are understood to stand for the three nationalities of Bosnia: Bosniaks, Croats, and Serbs[1][2]. It is also seen to represent the map of Bosnia which looks like a triangle or a heart as some people call it the 'heart-shaped nation'. The stars, representing Europe, are meant to be infinite in number and thus they continue from top to bottom[2]. The flag features colours often associated with neutrality and peace - white, blue, and yellow. The colours yellow and blue are also seen to be taken from the flag of the European Union. They are also colours traditionally associated with Bosnia[1].The yellow is also stated to represent the sun as the source of all light and symbol of life[14].

The current Bosnian flag came about after the need for a new flag was raised in wake of the Dayton Agreement in 1995. The existing banner, unfurled in April 1992 consisted of six golden fleur-de-lys with a white diagonal band across them. Most Serbs and Croats, however, view the design as "too Muslim"[3] and as appropriated by Bosniaks[13].

A list of tasks was drawn up by the governments involved in helping the process of putting Bosnia back together, for the new Bosnian leaders to achieve. A new design for a flag, was supposed to have been agreed upon by 1st September 1997. This however did not happen and The Bonn Peace Implementation Council invited the High Representative to establish a process leading to a decision on a new flag and symbols. The High Representative announced his intention to establish an independent commission to propose alternatives for the flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The commission consisted of Mr. Mladen Kolobaric, Professor. Nedo Milicevic, Dean. Sado Musabegovic, Professor. Marco Orsolic, Mr. Ranko Risojevic, Mr. Vehid Sehic and Professor. Gajo Sekulic representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina's academic and intellectual community. At the first informal encounter of the Commission on 10th January 1998, chaired by SDHR Hanns Schumacher, the commission agreed to submit its proposition for the flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the High Representative[4].

The commission came up with three final solutions of the new flag design, all three designs presented had a light-blue background. The first solution contained a triangle and nine stars, the second proposal had three yellow and two white lines, and the third one depicted five yellow and five white alternating lines making a yellow-white triangle[8]. All three proposals were of proportions 1:2 and of the colours
light blue, Pantone 637C and yellow, Pantone 116C[9]. The background colour of light blue, similar to the colour of the Organization of United Nations was said to express Bosnian membership to the world community of states[14].

The decision was given to the Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina for the adoption of one of the proposals. The Parliament failed to accept any and High Representative Carlos Westerndorp imposed a new national flag[5].

The flag chosen to be imposed as the new national flag by Westerndorp was closely based on the commissions Alternative No.1. However, it was changed slightly to a darker blue to symbolize the European Union's flag[6].

Alternative No.1

The new flag did not receive a warm welcome across Bosnia, the mayor in the city of Zvornik refused to accept the new flag presented to him by the deputy High Representative Jacques Klein[7]. News reports also stated "Sarajevo's intellectuals yesterday sent an open letter of protest to Carlos Westendorp, the international High Representative, arguing that the new flag he has imposed on Bosnia is "the final way to kill" the nation." It also said that "The intellectuals, led by Muhammad Filipovic, Professor of Logic at Sarajevo University, have demanded that Bosnians be allowed a referendum to decide their new flag."[11]. The use of the flag for meetings of common institutions had even to be imposed by the High Commisioner[12].

The colours of the flag are specified as blue, Pantone Reflex Blue, CMYK C.40 M.0 Y. K.0 and yellow, Pantone 116c, CMYK C.0 M.20 Y.100 K.0[9](the same as the European Union's flag).[15].

Construction Sheet

[1] Wikipedia -
[2] Heimer, Flags of the World -
[3] "The Economist"; September 6, 1997; p. 52
[4] OHR Press Statement, Sarajevo, 12 January 1998 -
[5] BBC World Service -
[6] Wikipedia -
[7] The news agency of the Republika Srpska, SRNA
[8] BiH TV News 27 January 98, 19:30.
[9] Engene, Flags of the World -
[11] Tom Walker: Bosnian intellectuals wash their hands of flag 'like soap powder box', The Times, 5th February 1998.
[14] Westendorp in a news report from ONASA (Oslobodjenje News Agency Sarajevo)
[15] Bartram, Flags of the World -
[Fig 1] Current flag of Bosnia & Herzegovina - Kseferovic
[Fig 2] Alternative No1 - Vernes Seferovic
[Fig 3] Construction Sheet - Jan Oskar Engene from Flags Of The World -

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Bolivia - Current

The current flag of Bolivia was originally adopted by Bolivia on 31st October 1851 and confirmed on 14th July 1888 [1]. The state flag and ensign (and war flag) is a horizontal tricolour of red, yellow, and green with the Bolivian coat of arms in the centre. The civil flag and ensign of Bolivia omits the coat of arms.

The colours of the flag are given as; red Pantone 485c,green Pantone 356c, and yellow is Pantone Process Yellow [3], or Pantone 107c [4].

One source, gives the symbolism of the colours as red for Bolivia's brave soldiers, while the green symbolizes fertility and yellow the nation's mineral deposits [2]. Another mentions the symbolism of the colours, as patriotic bloodshed, nature’s bounty, and verdure and hope [7].

The ratio of the flag is widely excepted to be 2:3 [5]. However it is also officially stated as 7.5:11(or 15:22) [6].

The Coat of Arms of Bolivia consists of an oval shield depicting a landscape with a stylized illustration of Mount Potosi in bright sunshine and, in the foreground, a South American alpaca, a breadfruit tree, and a wheat sheaf, with a forest and a house in the middle distance. The upper golden border of the oval bears the name of the country BOLIVIA in red letters, and the lower blue border is charged with ten gold five-pointed stars representing the departments of the country. Behind the oval there are two crossed cannon barrels, six Bolivian flags, four rifles, a Phrygian cap of liberty, an Inca battle-axe and a laurel wreath; perched on the oval shield is an Andean condor[8][9]. A extra star was added to symbolise the lost department of Litoral, Bolivia’s only access to the sea. Bolivia still claims this territory, which was lost in the Pacific War (1879-1884) to Chile[10].

Coat of Arms

A Wiphala [wiˈphala] is to be established as the dual flag of Bolivia along with the red, yellow, and green banner in the newly drafted and proposed Bolivian constitution to be ratified by national referendum on 25th January 2009. It is a square emblem, commonly used as a flag, representing the native peoples of the central Andes and Bolivian Amazon region of South America[11][12].

The Wiphala consists of seven colours the meanings of which are; red: the earth and the Andean man, orange: society and culture, yellow: energy, white: time, green: natural resources, blue: the heavens and violet: Andean government and self-determination[13].


[1] Ollé, Flags of the World -
[2] Whitney Smith, Flags through the Ages and Across the World, McGraw-Hill Book Co.: New York, (1975)
[3] Art. 3 of the flag law -
[4] Official model of the Naval Ensign -
[5] Armand du Payrat, Album des pavillons nationaux et des marques distinctive, S.H.O.M. (Service Hydrographique et Océanographique de la Marine): Brest, (2000)
[6] Art. 2 of the flag law -
[7] Art. 1 of the flag law -
[8] Ludvík Mucha, Webster’s concise Encyclopedia of flags & coats of Arms, Crescent Books: New York,(1985)
[9] Noah Webster; William Torrey Harris, Webster’s new international dictionary of the English language, G. & C. Merriam Co.: Springfield, Mass. U.S(1924)
[10] Fischer, Flags of the World -
[11] "Bandera indígena boliviana es incluida como símbolo patrio en nueva Constitución", United Press International. -
[12] Nueva Constitución Política del Estado, 2007 -
[13] Wikipedia -

Bhutan - Current

The national flag of Bhutan consists of a white dragon over a yellow and orange background. The flag is divided diagonally from the lower hoist side corner, making two triangles. The upper triangle is yellow and the lower triangle is orange. The dragon is centred along the dividing line, facing away from the hoist side.
This flag, with minor variations, has been in use since the 19th century. It reached its current form in 1960.

Bhutan is a Buddhist state where power is shared by the king and government. The country's name in the local dialect means Land of the Dragon. In Bhutan, thunder is believed to be the voices of dragons roaring. In about 1200, a monastery was set up called the Druk (Thunder Dragon) with a sect called the Drukpas, named after it. The name and the emblem of the dragon have been associated with Bhutan ever since. The dragon on the flag is white to symbolize purity. The dragon grasps jewels, representing wealth, in its claws. The snarling mouth represents the strength of the male and female deities protecting the country[7]. The two colours of the flag, divided diagonally, represent spiritual and temporal power within Bhutan. The saffron yellow field symbolizes the secular monarchy, while the orange represents the Drukpas monasteries and Buddhist religion.

The flag is one of the few national flags to feature orange as a prominent colour, and one of only two national flags to depict a dragon, the other being the flag of Wales. [1]

There has been some dispute over the colours used on the flag. The suggested colours range from; saffron yellow & orange [2], orange & red-orange [3], saffron yellow & red-orange [4], to orange & maroon [5].

The colours are given by the Flag Institute of Great Britain as saffron over orange-red.Estimated as Pantone 116c and Pantone 165c [6].

[1] Wikipedia -
[2] Ultimate Pocket Flags of the World, DK Publishing Inc., (1997)
[3] Whitney Smith, Flags Through the Ages and Across the World, McGraw-Hill Book Co.: New York(1975)
[4] Armand du Payrat, Album des pavillons nationaux et des marques distinctive, S.H.O.M. (Service Hydrographique et Océanographique de la Marine): Brest (1995)
[5] Christian Fogd Pedersen, Alverdens flag i farver, Politikens Forlag: København (1970)
[6] Southworth, Flags of the World -
[7] Ultimate Pocket Flags of the World, DK Publishing Inc., (1997)

Belize - Current

The flag of Belize is a continued version of the earlier flag of British Honduras (the name of Belize during the British colonial period). The flag is royal blue, with a white disc at the centre containing the National Coat of Arms surrounded by fifty mahogany leaves. The flag is bordered at top and bottom by two red stripes. [2]British Honduras obtained a coat-of-arms on 28th January 1907, which formed the basis of the badge used on British ensigns. The coat of arms recalls the logging industry that first led to British settlement there. The figures, tools, and mahogany tree represents this industry. From 1950 onward an unofficial national flag was in use. It was blue, with a modified version of the arms on a white disk in the centre (sometimes a blank white circle was used as the coat of arms was difficult to draw). [1]

The coat of arms is described in heraldic terms as follows. Crest a mahogany tree proper. Escutcheon Party per pall inverted, 1st Argent a paddle and a squaring axe proper in saltire 2nd Or a saw and beating axe proper in saltire 3rd per fess bleu celeste and barry wavy or vert azure above the last a sailing ship proper. Supporters Dexter a Caucasian woodsman proper garbed in trousers argent bearing in the dexter hand a beating axe proper, sinister an African woodsman proper garbed in trousers argent bearing in the sinister hand a paddle proper Compartment A grassy field proper Motto “SUB UMBRA FLOREO” “Under the shade I flourish” Other elements The whole surrounded by a wreath of 25 leaves proper. [5]

The red, white and blue flag of Belize are a symbol of national unity. The colours are respectively those of the country's national parties, the People's United Party (PUP) and United Democratic Party (Belize) (UDP). The UDP, established in 1973, had objected to the original blue and white design, those two colours being the PUP's representative colours. The two red stripes at the top and bottom were added to the original design at independence on 21st September 1981. They were added to denote the colour of the opposition party. The 50 leaves recall 1950, the year PUP came to power.[3]

The flag of Belize is unique in that it contains twelve colours, three more than on any other national flag. Also, it is the only country to have human beings depicted on its national flag (the flags of Montserrat and the Virgin Islands, both British dependencies, also depict humans). [4]

The colours of the flag are estimated as;
Red: Pantone 186c, RGB 200-17-38
Blue: Pantone 294c, RGB 0-63-135
White: Pantone Safe, RGB 255-255-255
Yellow: Pantone 110c, RGB 216-181-17
Green: Pantone 356c, RGB 0-122-61
Black: Pantone Safe, RGB 0-0-0 [6]

[5] &

Monday, 15 December 2008

Benin - Current

The national flag of Benin was originally adopted in 1959. It was changed upon the accession of the Marxist regime in 1975, but upon the removal of the regime, the old design was reintroduced on 1st August 1990. The Constitution of the Republic of Benin describes the flag as “.. a tricolour flag of green, yellow and red. Next to the staff is a green band for the entire height and two-fifth of the length, with two equal horizontal bands: the upper one yellow and the lower one red.” [4]

The colours are the traditional Pan-African colours. The colours of the flag are explained in the national anthem as follows:

Quand partout souffle un vent de colère et de haine.
Béninois, sois fier, et d'une âme sereine,
Confiant dans l'avenir, regarde ton drapeau!
Dans le vert tu liras l'espoir du renouveau,
De tes aïeux le rouge évoque le courage;
Des plus riches trésors le jaune est le présage. [3]

Translated to English:

When a wind of wrath and hate blows everywhere,
Citizen of Benin, be proud, and with a serene soul,
Confident in the future, look at your flag!
In the green [field] you shall read the hope of revival,
The red recalls the courage of your ancestors,
The yellow is the omen of the richest treasures.

Pedersen associates red to the soil, yellow to the savannas and green to palm trees. Smith agrees with Pedersen, except for the red symbolizing the blood of ancestors. [1]

The colours of the flag are estimated as:

Green: Pantone 347c, RGB 0-158-96
Yellow: Pantone Yellow, RGB 252-224-22
Red: Pantone Red 032, RGB 239-43-45 [2]

[4] Vagnat & Poels. Constitutions - What they tell us about national flags and coat of arms.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Bermuda - Current

The Flag of Bermuda was adopted on 4th October 1910.[1]However there is some dispute that the flag was only officially approved in 1967.[2] It is a British Red Ensign the defaced with the coat of arms of Bermuda in the centred in the fly half.[5] The flag is unusual as it is the only remaining red ensign used by a British colony as opposed to the traditional blue ensign. Red ensigns were also used by Canada until 1965 and South Africa 1910-1928.

The Coat of Arms of Bermuda depicts a white and green shield with a red lion holding a scrolled shield showing the sinking of a ship.[3] The red lion is a symbol of England and alludes to Bermuda's relationship with that country. The wrecked ship is the Sea Venture, the flag ship of the Virginia Company. The ship was deliberately driven on to the reefs of Bermuda, by Admiral Sir George Somers, in 1609, to prevent it from foundering in a storm. All aboard survived, resulting in the settlement of the Island.[4]

The colours of the are:
Blue: Pantone 281c, RGB 0-40-104
Red: Pantone 186c, RGB 206-17-38 [6]

“The shade of red on British Union flags and derived ensigns is a dark red. The Pantone reference is 186. It is slightly different from "Old Glory" red which is Pantone 185.” [7]

The correct ratio for all defaced Red or Blue Ensigns is 1:2.

[2] from
[5] Christopher Southworth, 20/11/2005 from
[7] Graham Bartram, 13/9/2000 from

Friday, 12 December 2008

Belgium - Current

The national flag of Belgium (Dutch: Vlag van België, French: Drapeau de la Belgique, German: Flagge Belgiens) contains three equal vertical bands of black (hoist side), yellow, and red; the vertical design was based on the flag of France, whereas the colours were taken from the colours of the Duchy of Brabant a province in the former Low Countries (today Belgium and the Netherlands), which extended from the Walloon province of Walloon Brabant, over the Flemish provinces of Flemish Brabant (and Brussels) and Antwerpen, and up to the Dutch province of North-Brabant. The arms of Brabant show on a black field a yellow lion facing the viewer's left, with a red tongue and nails. The heraldic description (blazon) of these arms is "Sable a lion rampant or armed and langued gules". When riots were starting as result of the Belgian revolution against the Dutch domination, a civil guard was established which wore the colours of Brabant. Its unusual proportions (13:15) are of unknown origin.

The flag was adopted 23rd January 1831, soon after the Belgians gained their independence from the Netherlands in 1830. The flag had played an important role during the revolt, where the colours of the flag served as a reminder of an older flag with horizontal bands used during a previous revolt in 1789 in the then Austrian Netherlands. The original flag was with horizontal bars, but it was changed to vertical because of the resemblance with the flag of the Netherlands.
Article 193 of the Constitution of Belgium describes the colours of the Belgian Nation as Red, Yellow and Black instead of the order used in the above official flag.

The colours of the flag are, red: Pantone 186 c / CMYK (%) C0 - M90 - Y80 - K5 and yellow: Pantone 116 c / CMYK (%) C0 - M15 - Y95 - K0

There is a dispute over the correctness of the Belgium flag. Quoting an article published (originally in Dutch) in De Standaard, 2nd November 1999. “Black, yellow, red, starting from the pole. That's how we've always known the Belgian flag. But if you read the Constitution, this isn't correct, says Karel Rimanque, professor at the University of Antwerp. Article 193 of the so often revised Constitution still says:
The Belgian Nation chooses as its colours red, yellow and black. In 1830 too, they used to describe the flag starting from the pole. Thus, our flag is different: red at the pole, yellow in the middle, and black at the fly. Does this mean that the Constitution has been broken for all 168 years? Was it interpreted wrongly at the beginning and did nobody ever notice the error? Anyway, either we have to correct this article, or we have to correct our flag.”

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Belarus - Current

The current national flag of Belarus (Belarusian: Сцяг Беларусі, Stsyah Byelarusi; Russian: Флаг Беларуси, Flag Belarusi) was formally adopted on 7th June 1995, following the result of a referendum voted on by the Belarusian people in the previous month. This new design replaced a historical flag used by the Belarusian People's Republic of 1918, before Belarus became a Soviet Republic, and again after it regained its independence in 1991. The current flag is a modification of the 1951 flag used while the country was a republic of the Soviet Union.

The national flag of Belarus, was described in a decree on 7th June 1995 as follows, “The national flag is a rectangular cloth consisting of two longitudinal stripes: red upper stripe and green lower stripe that are two-thirds and one-third of the flag width respectively. A vertical red-on-white Belarusian decorative pattern, which occupies one-ninth of the flag's length, is placed against the flagstaff. The flag’s ratio of width to length is 1:2. The flag is fixed on a flagstaff painted golden (ochre).”

The flag does not differ significantly from the flag of the Byelorussian SSR, other than the removal of the hammer and sickle and the red star, and the reversal of red and white in the hoist pattern.
The red colour of the flag signifies the past history of Belarus, as the colour used by the Belarusian forces at the Battle of Grunwald, and of the Red Army when they were fighting Nazi Germany during World War II. Green stands for aspirations about the future, and also represents the many forests located in the country.

While the colours of the flag are red, green, and white, the exact shades have not been determined by either law or decree. The publication Album des pavillons nationaux et des marques distinctives gave an estimate of what the colours are in the Pantone, CMYK and RGB colour processes.

Red 1795c, 0-90-100-0, 255-0-0
Green 370c, 60-0-100-25, 0-153-0
White Safe, 0-0-0-0, 255-255-255

Hoist ornament pattern

There is a decorative pattern displayed on the hoist of the flag(1/9 length and previously displayed on the 1951 flag). Designed in 1917 by Matrena Markevich, the pattern is commonly used in Belarus to show local plants and flowers. These patterns are also woven into outfits, and also used for a traditional woven craft called rushniks, traditional towels decorated with the ornamental pattern that are used for ceremonial events. An example of their use would be a host offering his guests bread and salt, which would then be served on a rushnik. Rushniks are also used at religious services, funerals, and other social functions. On the current flag, the ornamentation is used to symbolize the cultural past, and current Belarusian unity.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Barbados - Current

The national flag of Barbados was officially adopted on 30th November 1966, the island's first Independence Day. It consists of a triband of two bands of ultramarine separated by a golden middle band. A black trident head is centred within the golden band.

The flag is composed of three vertical panels - the outer panels of ultramarine and the centre panel of gold. A broken trident in black is placed at the centre of the flag. The British standard colour code numbers for the colours of the flag are as follows - Ultramarine -- BCC148, Pantone Blue 280c, CMYK 100-70-0-20 and Gold --BS0/002, Pantone Yellow 123c, CMYK 0-30-90-0. The ultramarine bands symbolise the ocean and the sky, and the golden band symbolises the sand of Barbados.
The symbol in the centre panel is the Trident of the mythical sea god Neptune. This symbol appears in the Seal of the colony which was replaced by the Barbados Coat of Arms. The trident head - also known as the 'broken trident' - symbolizes Barbados' independence from the United Kingdom (the colonial coat of arms contained a complete trident). Each point represents a point of democracy.
The flag is designed in the proportion 2:3.

The National Flag was designed by Mr. Grantley W. Prescod. His design was chosen from 1,029 entries in an open competition organised by the Government of Barbados. Mr. Prescod was awarded a Gold Medal, an inscribed scroll from the government and $500 which was donated by the Advocate Company Limited. The judges of the competition were Mr. Bruce St. John, Chairman, Major Leonard Banfield, Mr. Maurice Cave, Mr. Neville Connell, Mrs. Enid Lynch and Mrs. B. Ward.
Mr. Prescod attended St. Barnabas Boys School. He taught before undertaking a one year course at the West of England College of Art for Specialist Teachers of Art in 1962-63. He also attained a certificate in Education from Bristol University. Between 19670-72 he studied for a Master of Education degree, majoring in Art Education at Temple University, Philadelphia, U.S.A.
Mr. Prescod taught at the Parkinson Secondary School. He served as an Education Officer from September 1977 until his retirement in February 1987. Mr. Prescod died on November 12, 2003 at the age of 77.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Bangladesh - Current

The national flag of Bangladesh was adopted officially on 17th January 1972. A red disc is on top of the green field, offset slightly toward the hoist so that it appears centred when the flag is flying. The red disc represents the sun rising over Bengal, and is a symbol of the rising Sun of independence after the dark night of a blood-drenched struggle. According to Flags of the World, the green used in the flag does not represent the traditional colours of Islam, contrary to some western sources. Rather, the green colour was chosen to represent the lushness of the natural landscape of Bangladesh.

According to Bangladesh Government specifications, following is the specification of the national flag. The flag will be in bottle green and rectangular in size in the proportion of 10:6, with a red circle in the middle. The red circle will have a radius of one-fifth of the length of the flag. Its centre will be placed on the intersecting point of the perpendicular drawn from the nine-twentieth part of the length of the flag, and the horizontal line drawn through the middle of its width. The green base of the flag will be of Procion Brilliant Green H-2RS 50 parts per 1000. The red circular part will be of Procion Brilliant Orange H-2RS 60 parts per 1000. Depending on the size of the building the flag sizes will be 10´ x 6´; 5´ x 3´; 2½´ x 1½´. The size of the flag for car is 12½" x 7 ½", and the size of the table flag for bilateral conferences is 10" x 6".

It is based on a similar flag used during the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971. The flag used a map of Bangladesh and this was later deleted from the flag in 1972 by the order of General Manzur. One reason given was the difficulty rendering the map correctly on both sides of the flag.

Attached is a PDF on the flag rules of Bangladesh.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Bahrain - Current

The national flag of Bahrain (Arabic: علم البحرين‎) consists of a white band on the left, separated from a red area on the right by five triangles that serve as a serrated line. Red is the traditional colour for flags of the Persian Gulf states. The white is on the hoist side; the five points represent the five pillars of Islam.

The oldest known flags of Bahrain were plain red. In 1820, Bahrain signed a treaty with Great Britain, and a white stripe was added to the flag to indicate the truce. In 1932, a serrated edge was added to distinguish the flag of Bahrain from those of its neighbours. The flag originally had twenty-eight white points, but this was reduced to eight in 1972. In 2002 the number of triangles was again reduced to five, so that each of the points could stand for one of the Five Pillars of Islam. The new flag was officially adopted on 14th February 2002.

The ratio of the national flag was changed from de facto 2:3 to prescribed 3:5.

The colours of the flag are approximated as Red, Pantone 186 c, CMYK (%) C 0 - M 90 - Y 80 - K 5.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Bahamas - Current

The Flag of the Bahamas has an approximately 1:2 aspect ratio. The black equilateral triangle on the left represents the unity and determination of the people of the Bahamas. The triangle is oriented toward three equal-width stripes symbolizing areas of natural resource; two aquamarine stripes at the top and bottom of the flag representing the sea and one gold stripe in the middle representing the sands of the 700 Bahamian islands. The Black colour, represents the vigour and force of a united people; the triangle pointing represents the enterprise and determination of the Bahamian people to develop and process the rich resources symbolised in the stripes. The flag was adopted on July 10, 1973.

The colours of the flag are, Blue Pantone 312c and Yellow Pantone 115c.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Azerbaijan - Current

The flag of Azerbaijan (Azerbaijani: Azərbaycan bayrağı). It consists of three equal horizontal bands coloured blue, red, and green, with a white crescent and an eight-pointed star (Rub El Hizb) centred in the red band. The eight points of the star stand for the branches of the Turkic people. The blue band is the colour of the Turks. The green is for Islam and red is for progress and Europeanisation. The official colours and size were adopted on 5th February 1991 based on a flag originally used between 1918 and 1920. The flag is used on land as the civil, state and war flag, and at sea as the civil, state and naval ensign and naval jack. The specific shades of the national flag were laid out in a 2004 law as the following: Blue - Pantone 313 C, CMYK (%) C 100 - M 10 - Y 0 - K 5 , Red - Pantone 185 C, CMYK (%) C 0 - M 90 - Y 100 - K 0, Green - Pantone 3405 C, CMYK (%) C 100 - M 0 - Y 90 - K 5. The flag has the ratio of 1:2

The meaning of the colours of the flag was defined by the nationalist leader Ali Bey Hussein Zade as follows. Blue represents the need of Turkization. Green represents the need of Islamization. Red represents the need of modernization and progress, following the European example.

The eight-pointed star is said to stand for the eight Turkic peoples of the world, classified as Azeris (aka Azerbaidjanis), Ottomans (aka Anatolians or Turkish "proper"), Jagatais (aka Chagatai or Turkmens), Tatars, Kipchaks (aka Kazakhs and Kirghiz), Seljuks (aka Salchuq, Azeris living in Iran)and Turkomans (aka Turkmenians). This only amounts to seven and this clustering and classification are traditional (the eight-pointed star was on the Azeri flag already in 1918 and probably was created much earlier) and doesn't follow any modern linguistical or anthropological classification of the Turkic peoples.

Austria - Current

The flag of Austria has three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and red. The Austrian flag is possibly the oldest national flag design in the world. The Danish flag, said to be the oldest national flag "in continuous use", is at least a century younger.

The flag was not used after the Anschluß, or the unification with Nazi Germany in 1938, but was restored with independence in 1945.

According to legend, the flag was invented by Duke Leopold V of Austria (1157–1194) as a consequence of his fighting during the Crusades. After a fierce battle, his white battle dress was completely drenched in blood. When he removed his belt, the cloth underneath was untouched by it, revealing the combination of red-white-red. So taken was he by this singular sight that he adopted the colours and scheme as his banner. Duke Friedrich II (1210-1246), the last of the Babenberg dynasty, who was nicknamed the "Quarrelsome" or the "Warlike", designed a new coat of arms in red-white-red in the year 1230 in his attempt to become more independent from the Holy Roman Empire. The first colour document bearing them dates from 1232.

There is no prescription on the ratio of this flag for civil use. Shade of red used is medium red: RGB: 255-0-0

Australia - Current

The flag of Australia was chosen in 1901 from entries in a worldwide design competition held following Federation. It was approved by Australian and British authorities over the next few years, although the exact specifications of the flag were changed several times both intentionally and as a result of confusion. The current specifications were published in 1934, and in 1954 the flag became legally recognised as the "Australian National Flag".
The flag is a defaced Blue Ensign: a blue field with the Union Flag in the canton (upper hoist quarter), and a large white seven-pointed star known as the Commonwealth Star in the lower hoist quarter. The fly contains a representation of the Southern Cross constellation, made up of five white stars – one small five-pointed star and four, larger, seven-pointed stars.

The Australian flag uses three prominent symbols, the Union Flag, the Commonwealth Star and the Southern Cross (or Crux). The Union Flag is thought locally to symbolise Australia's history as six British colonies and the principles upon which the Australian Federation is based, although a more historic view sees its inclusion in the design as demonstrating loyalty to the British Empire.
The Commonwealth Star originally had only six points, representing the six federating colonies. However, this changed in 1908 when a seventh point was added to symbolise the Territory of Papua and any future territories. The Commonwealth Star does not have any relation to Beta Centauri, despite that star's coincidental location in the sky and its brightness.
The Southern Cross is one of the most distinctive constellations visible in the Southern Hemisphere, and has been used to represent Australia since the early days of British settlement. Ivor Evans, one of the flag's designers, intended the Southern Cross to refer also to the four moral virtues ascribed to the four main stars by Dante: justice, prudence, temperance and fortitude. The number of points on the stars of the Southern Cross on today's Australian flag differs from the original competition-winning design, on which they ranged between five and nine points each, representing their relative brightness in the night sky. In order to simplify manufacture, the British Admiralty standardised the four larger outer stars at seven points each, leaving the smaller middle star with five points.
A complete specification for the current design was published in the Commonwealth Gazette in 1934.

The length of the Flag is twice the width. Under the Flags Act, the Australian National Flag must meet the following specifications. The Union Jack occupying the upper quarter next the staff. A large white star (representing the 6 States of Australia and the Territories) in the centre of the lower quarter next the pye and pointing direct to the centre of St George's Cross in the Union Jack. 5 white stars (representing the Southern Cross) in the half of the flag further from the staff. The location of the stars is as follows: Commonwealth Star - 7 pointed star, centred in lower hoist, Alpha Crucis - 7 pointed star, straight below centre fly 1/6 up from bottom edge, Beta Crucis - 7 pointed star, 1/4 of the way left and 1/16 up from the centre fly, Gamma Crucis - 7 pointed star, straight above centre fly 1/6 down from top edge, Delta Crucis - 7 pointed star, 2/9 of the way right and 31/240 up from the centre fly, Epsilon Crucis - 5 pointed star, 1/10 of the way right and 1/24 down from the centre fly. The outer diameter of the Commonwealth Star is 3/10 of the flag's width, while that of the stars in the Southern Cross is 1/7 of the flag's width, except for Epsilon, for which the fraction is 1/12. Each star's inner diameter is 4/9 of the outer diameter. The flag's width is the measurement of the hoist edge of the flag (the distance from top to bottom).

The colours of the flag, although not specified by the Flags Act, have been given Pantone specifications by the Awards and Culture Branch of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. The Australian Government's Style Manual for Authors, Editors and Printers also gives CMYK and RGB specifications for depicting the flag in print and on screen respectively. Blue, Pantone 280c, RGB 0-0-139, Hex(#00008B), CMYK 100%-80%-0%-0%. Red, Pantone 185c, RGB 255-0-0, Hex(#FF0000), CMYK 0%-100%-100%-0%. White, Pantone Safe, RGB 255-255-255, Hex(#FFFFFF), CMYK 0%-0%-0%-0%.

Aruba - Current

Aruba's national flag was adopted on 18th March 1976. The design consists of a field of light blue (called "Larkspur" or "U.N. blue"), two narrow parallel horizontal yellow ("Bunting Yellow") stripes in the bottom half, and a four-pointed white fimbriated red ("Union Flag red") star in the canton. The flag has a ratio of 2:1.

In 1976 a Flag Commission consisting of Julio Maduro, Epi Wever, and Roland Donk met, to go over colourful designs from a contest to design a new flag. They wanted no heraldic emblems, slogans, nor writing on the flag for such flags could not be read at a distance. It had to be inexpensive to manufacture, and "unlike any other flag, so it would be distinctive to Aruba." They rejected designs that did not meet their guidelines. They also wanted a design simple enough that a schoolchild could draw it, with colours contrasting well in order to be seen at a distance. Most importantly, they insisted that the flag, in its symbols and colours, represent Arubans historically and culturally. It decided upon three designs. However it chose to bring together designs and colours that Arubans who entered the contest had used, and to make a new flag with those. By taking ideas from the entire competition, the flag would represent more than the ideas and inspirations of one contestant, and would reflect symbolically the feelings of most Arubans.

Symbols in the competition were often discs, stars, and stripes that were said to represent the sun, which was usually yellow or gold, but sometimes red. The sun's central position in Aruba's way of life and economy meant the health and happiness of all Arubans in a comfortable, benign climate. The sun also represented economic growth and national unity. Stripes were found in more than half of the entries. Some were simple tricolour flags recalling 19th-century European democracies. Others were narrow bands dividing fields of colour in more modern colour combinations, often involving blue and yellow. Another frequent symbol was a star. Stars represented the island itself, as well as liberty, unity or rebirth. But many of the stars were not the traditional five-pointed, but a bold four-pointed version. These special four-pointed stars were unlike any star found on any national flag. Deciding that the Aruban flag ought to feature some combination of stars, stripes, or discs, the Commission examined the colours they found in the contest. Blue, the most popular colour, represented the Aruban sky or the Caribbean Sea, in shades from aquamarine to dark blue. The other popular colour was yellow, nearly always said to represent sunlight. White symbolized Aruba's unique beaches, while red stood for sunset, the island's clay soil, progress, or the blood of Arubans.

The flag contest demonstrated that Arubans feel their country is unique in the world and in the Caribbean, that it enjoys an immutably beautiful sea and sunlight, and that many nationalities live in harmony. Aruba is a proud country, these flags declared, economically stable because of tourism and industry.
It was felt that the background colour had to be blue, ideally the vivid bright blue of the sea. Because Aruba is a peaceful Mecca for people around the world, the bright blue of the United Nations flag was an ideal match. Out of the blue field, a star rises in that corner, the canton, that is highest and nearest the hoist. Placing the star there meant it would be seen even when the flag is moving in the breeze. The star has, as many Arubans wanted, four points. Suggesting a compass, its four points represent North, South, East, and West, acknowledging that Arubans came from many nations in order to live in unity and strength. The star is red because much of the soil of Aruba is red, but it is bordered in white to suggest the waves beating on its white beaches. The red soil of the interior ends with white beaches before the blue sea -- a symbol of the island itself. And the star refers also to the island's unity, diversity, vigour, and beauty.

The Commission pointed out that the four points also represented the four major languages: Papiamento, Spanish, English, and Dutch. And the red in the star reminded Julio Maduro of the Indians who once lived on the island, and of blood shed by Arubans during war. White was Aruba's honesty, while blue, the colour of hope, represents its future and its ties to the past.
Finally, looking to the future, two narrow stripes were drawn across the blue field to suggest the movement toward "status aparte." Those stripes were very narrow because Aruba is apart, but not isolated as it embarks on its path. One stripe represents the flow of tourists to sun-drenched Aruba, enriching the island as well as vacationers. The second stripe is for industry, all the minerals (gold and phosphates in the past, petroleum in the early 20th century). The stripes announce a new, distinctive nationality with economic strength guaranteeing its independence, standing apart from the rest of the world, but working internationally.

The Flag Commission was happy with the flag that it had put together, but they had to find seven variations to give the Island Council a choice. They made four designs similar to the first one, but in fewer colours, some with white and blue only, others white, blue and yellow. And the original three designs that the Commission had chosen were added as well.

The flag was consistent with the Flag Commission's guidelines. The design is simple but unlike any other flag it is the only flag with a four-pointed star. It is visible at a great distance and looks good flying in the ceaseless wind of Aruba or outstretched against a wall. Its elements are large and well placed, and its colours contrast well. It is easily drawn and inexpensive to manufacture. Every colour, the star, the stripes, and placements of elements are symbolic of this island. No other country could be
represented by a white-bordered, four-pointed red star, and anyone who knows its symbolism will remember well the flag of Aruba.

Armenia - Current

The national flag of Armenia, the Armenian Tricolour (known in Armenian as եռագույն, Erraguyn), consists of three horizontal bands of equal width, red on the top, blue in the middle, and orange on the bottom, karmir, kappoyt, narndjagooyn (Armenian pronunciation). The Flag was originally used between 1918 and 1921 and readopted by The Armenian Supreme Soviet on 24th August 1990. On 15th June 2006, the Law on the National Flag of Armenia, governing its usage, was passed by the National Assembly of Armenia.

Throughout history, there have been many variations of the Armenian flag. In ancient times, Armenian dynasties were represented by different symbolic animals displayed on their flags. In the twentieth century, various Soviet flags represented the Armenian nation.

The meanings of the colours have been interpreted in many different ways. For example, red has stood for the blood shed by Armenian soldiers in war, blue for the Armenian sky, and orange represents the fertile lands of Armenia and the workers who work them. The official definition of the colours, as stated in the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia, is: Red symbolizes the Armenian Highland, the Armenian people's continued struggle for survival, maintenance of the Christian faith, Armenia's independence and freedom. Blue symbolizes the will of the people of Armenia to live beneath peaceful skies. Orange symbolizes the creative talent and hard-working nature of the people of Armenia. Some other different interpretations of the colours of the Armenian flag include, A rainbow over Mount Ararat. Red is the blood shed and the whole is derived from the colours of the banners of the former Kingdom of Cilicia. Red: blood shed; blue: eternal land of Armenia; orange: courage. The Embassy of the Republic of Armenia in Ottawa states red: the sun's energy; blue: the clear sky; orange: the wheat at harvest.

Since the Armenian government does not specify the exact shades of red, blue, and orange, two different versions of the flag are in common use. The more common version consists of brighter shades, whereas the colours of the less common version are more muted. The more common version uses on the RGB scale, red 255-0-0, blue 0-0-170, orange 255-153-0. The less common, red 216-28-63, blue 85-117-196, orange 239-107-0. Other colour approximations include, Red: Pantone 199c / CMYK (%) C 0 - M100 - Y 65 - K 0, Blue: Pantone 285c / CMYK (%) C 90 - M 45 - Y 0 - K 0, Orange: Pantone 021c / CMYK (%) C 0 - M 50 - Y 90 - K 0

The ratio of the flag is 1:2.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Argentina - Current

The national flag of Argentina dates from 1812. It is a triband, composed of three equally wide horizontal bands coloured light blue(cerulean blue), white and light blue. The Spanish word “celeste” is used to describe the colour of the blue stripes.
In 1818, a yellow “Sun of May” (Sol de Mayo) was added to the centre. The sun, is a replica of an engraving on the first Argentine coin, approved in 1813, whose value was eight escudos (one Spanish dollar). The engraving on the coin was modelled after the symbol of Inti, the Incan god of the Sun. It has 16 straight and 16 waved sunbeams. In 1978 the sun colour was specified to be golden yellow (amarillo oro), to have an inner diameter of 10 cm, and an outer diameter of 25 cm (the diameter of the sun equals 5 / 6 the height of the white stripe. The sun's face is 2 / 5 of its height). From 1978 it must be embroidered in the "Official Flag Ceremony" and the flag's official proportions became 9:14, and its official size is 0.9 by 1.4. The proportions of 1:2 and 2:3 are also in use though.

The colours of the flag are specified as, (RGB)Sky blue 117, 170, 219 Yellow 252, 191, 73 Brown 132, 53, 17. Pantone Sky blue 284c, Yellow 1235c, Brown 284c.

The full flag featuring the sun is called the Official Ceremonial Flag (Bandera Official de Ceremonia). The flag without the sun is considered the Ornamental Flag (Bandera de Ornato). While both versions are equally considered the national flag, the ornamental version must always be hoisted below the Official Ceremony Flag. In vexillological terms, the Official Ceremony Flag is the civil, state and war flag and ensign, while the Ornamental Flag is an alternate civil flag and ensign.

According to tradition, during the Argentine War of Independence General Manuel Belgrano was commanding a battle near Rosario. He noticed that both the Crown's forces and the independence forces were using the same colours (Spain's yellow and red). After realizing this, Belgrano created a new flag using the colours that were used by the Criollos during the May Revolution in 1810. However, recent research and studies would indicate that the colours were chosen from the coat of arms of the House of Bourbon the royal family of Spain, and that during the May Revolution the colour used by the criollos was a red piece of cloth, as pointed by the popular historian Felipe Pigna. Also, apparently the original flag was quite different from the current one: it had two vertical stripes, one blue and the other one white. The flag was first flown, for the soldiers to swear allegiance to it, on 27th February 1812, on the Batería Libertad (Liberty Battery), by the Paraná River. Belgrano dispatched a letter addressed to the First Junta, informing them of the newly created flag. The Junta, fearing the Spanish Crown, sent a warning to Belgrano not to fight under the flag, but by the time the reply had arrived, Belgrano had moved on, and was flying the flag on the battlefield. The letter contained the following passage translated from Spanish "It being necessary to hoist a flag, and not having one, I ordered one made, white and light blue in the colours of the national cockade; I hope Your Excellencies will find it worthy of approval." The flag was hoist for the first time in Buenos Aires atop the Saint Nicholas of Bari Church on 23rd August 1812 (where nowadays the Obelisco is located). After the declaration of independence on 9th July 1816, the flag was adopted as a symbol by the Argentine National Congress.

Antigua and Barbuda - Current

The national flag of Antigua and Barbuda was adopted on 27th February 1967, and was designed by a Nationally acclaimed artist and sculptor, Sir Reginald Samuel who at the time, not knighted, was an art teacher in an Antiguan high school. In 1966, a national flag design competition was held for the occasion of attaining Independence. There were over 600 entries, with Mr Samuel winning the first prize of $500 for the best design. He had entered the very last minute before the deadline, and made the design in only about half an hour. He rushed to buy an envelope to get the entry to the Administration building in time.

The flag consists of a red field, with an inverted isosceles triangle based on the top edge of the flag; the triangle contains three horizontal bands of black (top), light blue, and white, with a yellow rising sun in the black band.

The 7 point golden sun symbolises the dawning of a new era. The colours meanings are, the black for the soil and African heritage of the people, the blue for hope, the red for the life blood of slave forefathers and the dynamism of the people. The successive colouring of yellow, blue, and white (from the sun down) also stands for the sun, sea, and sand. The "V" formed by the red borders represent "Victory at last." It has been suggested that the seven points of the sun should represent the six parishes plus the sister island, Barbuda, though the designer himself did not have this in mind."

The ratio of the flag is 2:3. The red is apparently the same as the red of the British ensigns (Pantone 186c). Blue is somewhat lighter then the standard British ensign blue (Pantone 300c) and yellow is approximated with Pantone 116c.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Antarctica - Hamilton Proposal

Another less well known proposal for an Antarctic flag is suggested by Hamilton. The pale blue strip represents pack ice, the dark blue stripe represents the night sky and the yellow stripe is a representation of the aurora australis. The famous stellar constellation the Southern Cross is shown in the dark blue stripe at the right.

Antarctica - Bartram Proposal

Another proposed flag due to Antarctica’s unique situation is that of Graham Bartram. The Graham Bartram design uses the flag of the United Nations as its model. A plain white map of the continent on a UN blue background symbolizes neutrality (Bartram was well aware of the overlapping territorial claims of the United Kingdom, Chile, and Argentina when he designed the flag). This flag has actually been flown on the Antarctic continent as recently as 2002, when Ted Kaye (editor of Raven, the scholarly journal of the North American Vexillological Association) took several full-size copies of the flag on an Antarctic cruise. The bases of Brazil, Ukraine, and the UK all flew it from their flagpoles, making its raising "official". He presented a paper ("Flags Over Antarctica") which described the first flying of the Bartram design over Antarctica in Stockholm in 2003, at the 20th International Congress of Vexillology. It is perhaps the most popular flag for Antarctica, as seen by is prevalence on the Internet.

Antarctica - Whitney Proposal

Several proposed flags exist, due to the unique situation of Antarctic territory. At the 1978 annual meeting of the North American Vexillological Association (NAVA), Whitney Smith gave a talk entitled “Flags of Antarctica”. In it he proposed his design for Antarctica: an orange flag with two hands under a sort of bowl.

The Whitney Smith design uses the high-visibility colour orange as its background (it is the international rescue colour, it contrasts the best against snow, and to avoid any confusion, is unlike almost any other national flag on Earth). The emblem consists of several components. 'A' stands for Antarctica. The bottom segment of the globe represents Antarctica's "position" on Earth (according to the modern convention of drawing maps with north on top), while the two hands holding up the globe segment represent peaceful human use. The emblem is coloured white to represent the snow and ice of Antarctica and is offset toward the hoist of the flag so as to maintain its integrity should the flag fray badly in the high winds prevalent upon the continent. However, there is no record of it ever being fabricated or used, despite being displayed in some atlases.

Antarctica - New Zealand Claim

There are also several proposed flags associated with Antarctica.The Ross Dependency (New Zealand's territorial claim in Antarctica) uses the New Zealand flag, but vexillologist James Dignan's design concept was seen flying there at one time. The New Zealand flag is the basis for his design, though with an 'Ice Blue' background representing the Ross Sea, and the white horizontal bar at the bottom of the flag representing the Ross Ice Shelf.

Antarctica - French Claim

The French claim in Antarctica consist of the TAAF(Terres australes et antarctiques françaises) which are a French overseas territory with administrative and financial autonomy, as prescribed by the Law of 6 August 1955.
The territory is composed of five districts:
- Kerguelen Islands (7,215 sq. km), with a permanent base (Port-aux-Français, 68 inhabitants)
- Crozet Archipelago (115 sq. km), with a permanent base (Alfred Faure on Ile de la Possession, 29 inhabitants)
- Amsterdam Island (or New Amsterdam, 54 sq. km), with a permanent base (Martin-de-Viviès, 29 inhabitants) and Saint-Paul Island (uninhabited, 7 sq. km)
- Adelie Land (Terre Adélie, 432,000 sq. km) in Antarctica, which is supposed to have 32 inhabitants in 1994 (most probably to maintain claims on Antarctica despite the Treaty on Antarctica, signed by France, which does not recognize any territorial claim beneath the Southern Polar Circle.)
- Outlying Islands of the Indian Ocean (Îles Éparses de l'ocŽan Indien.
The first four districts (Kerguelen, Crozet, Amsterdam and Adelie) were prescribed by the Territorial Decree of 20 October 1956.
The fifth district (&Icir;les Éparses de l'océan Indien) was prescribed by Decree 23rd February 2007, creating the district of Outlying Islands of the Indian Ocean. Beforehand, these islands have been placed under the direct authority of the Ministery of the Overseas (Ministère de l'Outremer) since 1 April 1960. Since the Decree of 19th September 1960, the Outlying Islands were administrated by the Prefet of Reunion. A Decree signed on 3rd January 2005 transferred the administration of the Outlying Islands to the Prefet, Senior Administrator of TAAF.
The Outlying Islands are made of four islands located in the Mozambique Channel (Bassas da India, Europa, Juan de Nova, Glorieuses), and Tromelin, isolated in the north of Reunion.
Bassas da India is an emerging, circular madreporic atoll, with an area lower than 1 sq. km. At high tide, Bassas de India is nearly completely submerged.
Europa is the biggest of the Outlying Islands (30 sq. km). From 1905 to 1910, two families from Reunion settled there and attempt to grow sisal and collect turtle shells. However, agriculture proved to be impossible on the island because of the huge number of rodents. A meteorological station was set up on Europa in 1949.
On Juan de Nova (5 sq. km), guano has been harvested there since the 19th century. The guano workers maintain a meteorological station.
Glorieuses Archipelago (7 sq. km) is made of Grande Glorieuse and Ile du Lys, as well as of the islets of Roches Vertes and Ile aux Crabes. A coconut plantation was grown on Grande Glorieuse from 1912 to 1958. A meteorological station was set up on Grande Glorieuse in 1960; the aims of the station are the prediction of cyclones hitting the north of Madagascar and the Comoros and assistance to maritime and aerial navigation.
Tromelin (1 sq. km) is completely isolated and scoured by the trade winds; landing is extremely difficult and agriculture is impossible because of the wind and the lack of water. A meteorological station was set up on Tromelin in 1954 upon request of the World Meteorological Organization; most cyclones threatening Madagascar, Reunion and Mauritius scour Tromelin.
The Outlying Islands are nature reserves and their access is strictly restricted. Since 1973, detachments from the French Armed Forces in the South Zone of Indian Ocean are stationed on Grande Glorieuse, Juan de Nova and Europa. All the islands but Bassas da India are inhabited by meteorologists, a gendarme (except Tromelin) and scientists doing short-time missions.
Tromelin was recently claimed by Mauritius. Following the Convention on Maritime Rights adopted in 1982, with effect in 1994, the Mauritian Parliament recently extended Mauritius' territorial waters to 350 nautic miles, encompassing Diego Garcia (Britain), Coetivy (Seychelles), Saya Malha (Maldives) and Tromelin (France). In late February 2005, Brigitte Girardin, the French Minister of Overseas, "visited" Tromelin, Europa and Juan de Nova; her visit was of course more political than touristic. Madagascar and the Comoros also claim the Outlying Islands of the Mozambique Channel.

The flag of TAAF was officially adopted on 23th February 2007. The flag (without any prescribed proportions, therefore, by default 2:3) is blue with the interlaced letters "T", "A", "A" and "F" and five stars under, all white, and the national flag in canton. The flag is used in front of the office of the Pré,;fet, administrateur sup&ecute;rieur des Terres Australes et Antarctiques Françaises in Saint-Pierre (La Réunion). The flag can also be used in the districts of the TAAF if the "inhabitants" wish to display it and if weather permits it. There are no rules of use of the flag, so that everybody can use it. It seems logical that the five stars on the new flag should stand for the five districts of the TAAF.

Antarctica - British Claim

Britain’s claim in Antarctica consists of The British Antarctic Territories (20°W to 80°W). Britain’s claim in Antarctica differs from those of Chile and Argentina in that it does not include any lands outside Antarctica.

The history of the flag is as follows, on 11th March 1952, the Falkland Island Dependencies (constituted in 1908, divided in 1963 into British Antarctic Territory and South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands) were granted arms by Royal Warrant:

Arms: Per fess wavy barry, wavy of six Argent and Azure, and Argent on a Pile Gules, a Torch enflamed proper.
Supporters: In Dexter a Lion Or and in Sinister an Emperor Penguin proper upon a compartment divided per pale and representing in Dexter a grassy Mount and in Sinister an ice Floe.
Motto: Research and Discovery.
This coat of arms was transferred to the B.A.T. on 1st August 1963, with the addition of helm, crest and mantling:
Mantling: in Dexter Or doubled Gules and in Sinister Argent doubled Azure. Crest: Upon a Wreath of the colours of the Mantling a representation of the research Ship Discovery.

The Blue Ensign with the arms of the B.A.T. in the fly was introduced by Royal Warrant on 30 May 1969. On 21st April 1998 a white ensign was authorized by Her Majesty The Queen. The flag for use on land is a white ensign (without cross) with the arms of the territory, quite large, in the fly. The flag is for flying at British Antarctic bases (which previously flew the British flag) and at the British Antarctic Survey headquarters in Cambridge, England.

The British Antarctic Territory flag also has the unique trait of being mirrored on the reverse with the exception of the ribbon below which reads correctly.

The British Antarctic Survey also has a blue ensign for use on vessels at sea.

Antarctica - Argentinean Claim

Argentina has also made a claim for territory in Antarctica and like Chile has incorporated territory outside the region. The claim known as Provincia de Tierra del Fuego, Antártida e Islas del Atlántico Sur includes Tierra del Fuego (on mainland South America), the Argentine claim to the Antarctic continent and the Argentine claim to the Falkland Islands, the South Georgia Islands and the South Sandwich Islands (Islas Malvinas, Islas Georgias del Sur, Islas Sandwich del Sur). It is known that Argentina, in order to add strength to it’s claim over the British territories of Falklands Islands and South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands and also to it’s Antarctic claim (25°W to 74°W, overlapping the British and Chilean claims), joined all these territories to it’s (undisputed) mainland province of “Fireland”.

In June 1999 a celebrated contest about new flag of the province of Tierra del Fuego was held. The winning flag was designed by Teresa Beatriz Martínez, an architect from Entre Ríos. The design is called “the Albatross“. The orange part, fire colour, stands for the geography of the larger island. The blue colour stands for the sky and the sea surrounding this province and bonds it to the national flag; the stars of the Southern Cross, which guided so many travellers to these regions, also symbolize the southern location of the islands and other territorial elements that make up the province. The Albatross is a local bird and its flight symbolizes freedom.

Antarctica - Chilean Claim

Of the countries that have laid claims to territory in Antarctica, Chile has adopted a flag for its Magellen and Antarctic Region (Magallanes y Antártica Chilena). Chile has taken the care of putting under this flag territories outside the Antarctic claim as well.

It is rectangular, having the height two thirds of its length, and is divided in two fields. The upper one is blue where the constellation grazes in the fields of the Southern Cross, and the lower with the edge serrated symbolizing a mountainous horizon, in ochre yellow. The fields are separated by a narrow white stripe. The ochre yellow is the colour of the typical vegetation of the steppe, the physiographic form most characteristic of the regional, expressive geography as well of the wealth of its ground and its subsoil. The parallel white band to the serrated edge symbolizes the snow that crowns the mountains.

Antarctica - Unofficial

Antarctica has no official flag as it has no government or adopting authority of its own, and no state has a excepted territory claim. This has lead to may different flags being used or suggested for the continent. Due to this situation I will cover the subject of flags for Antarctica over a series of posts.

The Antarctic Treaty Secretariat was set up to create treaties between nations claiming land below the 60°S parallel and its flag has become the most widely accepted to represent the continent.

The flag consists of a white map of the continent in a blue field. It is overlaid with lines of latitude and longitude, in white on the blue field and blue on the white map.