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Friday, 6 February 2015



Denmark's "Dannebrog" or 'Danish cloth' is the oldest continuing flag in use since being officially adopted in 1307.

Flag of Denmark

A red flag is a sign generally used to indicate danger or a stop signal. The earliest citation for "red flag" dates back to 1602 when the flag was used by military forces to signal their intent to engage in combat.

On the orders of King James I and VI, a combination of the flags of St George and St Andrew became the official union flag for maritime use on April 12, 1606. The creation of the Union Flag was a visual symbol of the union of England and Scotland. The Cross of St Patrick was added in 1801.

Union flag 1606–1707 (ships at sea) 1707–1801 (England and Scotland)

The first known instance of a flag being flown at half-mast was on the English ship Heart’s Ease in 1612 following the death of its master.

The first display of the word "Liberty" on a flag was on October 21, 1774. It was simply a Queen Anne Flag with the words, "LIBERTY AND UNION" sewn onto the red field. The flag was raised by colonists in Taunton, Massachusetts in defiance of British rule in Colonial America.

The USS Alfred was the first vessel to fly the Grand Union Flag (the precursor to the Stars and Stripes) on December 2, 1775; the flag was hoisted by John Paul Jones.

The Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia passed the Flag Resolution on June 14, 1777, adopting the "Stars and Stripes" as the national flag of the United States. It stated "Resolved: that the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation."

The first time an official US flag was flown during battle was on August 3, 1777 at Fort Schuyler (Fort Stanwix) during the Siege of Fort Stanwix.

The United States Flag was formally recognized by a foreign naval vessel for the first time on February 14, 1778, when French Admiral Toussaint-Guillaume Picquet de la Motte rendered a nine gun salute to USS Ranger, commanded by John Paul Jones.

The Columbia was the first ship to carry the American flag around the world. It returned to Boston Harbor after a three-year voyage on August 9, 1790.

During his five-day voyage exiling him to Elba, Napoleon designed a new flag for the Italian island with three yellow honeybees, (the bees were meant to represent Elba’s hard working inhabitants). Today it still flies over Elba.

From 1814 to 1830, the French flag was plain white.

On April 4, 1818 The United States Congress changed the flag of the United States to have 20 stars, with a new star to be added when each new state was admitted. The number of red and white stripes was reduced to 13 so as to honor the original colonies.

The first national flag of the Confederate States of America (the "Stars and Bars") was adopted on March 4, 1861.

The current flag of Japan was first adopted in 1870 as the national flag for Japanese merchant ships.

Brazil's flag is decorated with an image of the night sky as it appeared over Rio de Janeiro on November 15, 1889, the day Brazil declared itself a federal republic.

In 1897 Charles C. Overton, a Sunday school superintendent at Brighton Chapel, Staten Island, spontaneously promoted the idea of a Christian flag. The Rally Day speaker hadn't shown up, so Overton gave an extemporaneous address on Christian meanings for the elements of the American flag. The red, white, and blue cross flag Overton later helped devise was first sewn around 1907 and continues to be used in some churches.

George Cohan first used the routine of parading around the stage singing praise to the American flag being carried with his 1906 Broadway hit “George Washington, Jr.”  He later came to be identified with the routine.

On May 20, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson officially proclaimed June 14th "Flag Day" as a commemoration of the "Stars and Stripes.”

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. The following year Liechtenstein added a crown in the corner of its flag to make it different.

The current version of the US Flag was designed as a history project for Robert G. Heft, who was a 17-year-old high school student in Lancaster, Ohio, in 1958. Heft had an idea that Alaska and Hawaii would one day be states, and he set out to design a 50-star flag. His teacher gave him a "B-" for the project, but promised he'd change the grade if his flag was accepted by Congress, which it was.

The 50-star flag of the United States debuted in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 4, 1960, almost ten and a half months after the post-Independence Day admission of Hawaii as the 50th U.S. state.

The American flag has a name, "Old Glory," which was given by the 19th-century American sea captain William Driver. He flew the flag during his career at sea and later brought it to Nashville.

A new red-and-white maple leaf design was adopted as the flag of Canada on February 15, 1965, replacing the old Canadian Red Ensign banner. There are 11 points on the Canadian flag.

The flag erected on the Moon during the historic Apollo 11 landing was purchased at a local Sears store for $5.50.

The European Community adopted the European flag on May 26, 1986. The flag appears on the euro banknotes and Euro coins also display the twelve stars of the flag on both the national and common side. The flag appears also on many driving licences and vehicle registration plates issued in the Union.

In the aftermath of 9/11, Americans purchased so many flags to fly on their homes or cars that US manufacturers could not keep up with the demand. China stepped in and became the largest importer of American flags. In 2012, approximately 3.6 million dollars was spent on importing American flags to the US from China.

All of the American flags on the Moon are still standing, but they have turned white from exposure to the Sun.


Vexillology is the study of flags.

The colors of the American flag each have their own meaning. Red is for Valor, white is for Purity, and blue is for Justice.

According to the US Flag Code: "No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform."

An American flag hung upside down signals that one is in distress and needs help.

The Texas flag is the only state flag that is allowed to fly at the same height as the US flag.

Oregon’s flag is the only state flag in the United States with a different design on each side.

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

The French flag has the same colors as the American flag.

53% of the flags in the world contain blue.

The flag of Qatar is the only national flag which has a length more than twice its height.

The original Rainbow flag had a pink stripe, but was removed due to low mass production of pink cloth.

An all-white flag has been used as a signal or surrender since the Roman Empire, The historian Cornelius Tacitus mentions a white flag of surrender in AD 109. It is now an universally recognized protective sign of truce or ceasefire, as well as a symbol of surrender. Its bearer is by international custom immune from harm.

Nepal is the only country in the world which does not have a rectangular flag – it has two triangular pennants, one on top of the other.

The Nepalese flag is so complicated that the constitution of Nepal includes 24-step instructions on how to create it.

Paraguay is the only country in the world with a national flag that's not the same on both sides.

The island of Dominica is the only country whose flag prominently features the color purple. The flag of Nicaragua is the only other one to feature any purple.

Flag of Dominica

During negotiations for truce between North and South Korea, both parties would try to bring a bigger national flag than the other to each meeting. This continued until a special meeting was called to address the size of the flags, as they could no longer fit in the room.

The most flags tattooed on the body is 366, a record set by Guinness Rishi, from India between July 2009 and July 2011. (he named himself after the Book Of Records).

The world’s tallest flagpole, known as the Jeddah Flagpole, is in King Abdulla Square in Saudi Arabia. It is a massive 557 ft (170 meters) tall, with the flag itself weighing 1,257 pounds (570 kg) and is 162 ft wide by 108 ft. tall (49.5 x 33 meters)

Source Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc.

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