For centuries discoverers have been planting flags to signal that their claim a new land. Now every country in the world has its own design. Flags originated as vexilloids, which were decorated staffs that soldiers carried into battle. Early ones were decorated with symbols to identify the groups the soldiers represented, and set them apart from the others. Over time silk and other fabrics were added to these staffs, thus the birth of flags as we know them.
Flags have been used for centuries to signify different things. They can be used to signify civilizations, ideas, groups, and nations. Flags were not used to symbolize a nation until the eighteenth century. Today, every nation has their own flag, each rich with symbolism. This symbolism often only means something to the inhabitants of that nation.
The flag of the United States of America is also known as the stars and stripes. This flag was completed in 1960 when Hawaii joined the USA. Until then it had been constantly revised since 1777. The stripes symbolize the first 13 states that made up the USA and each state is represented by a star, thus showing 50 stars on the flag.
Great Britain's flag is also called the Union Jack. It has been the official flag since 1801. The flag symbolizes the three different countries that are united; England, Scotland, and Ireland. Today it only represents Northern Ireland, as the rest of Ireland became its own state in 1920. The Union Jack is a familiar symbol and is used on many other flags such as Australia.
The flag of Canada is a red maple leaf flanked by stripes of red. This flag design was officially adopted in 1965, although the maple leaf was a Canadian symbol for many years before that. The two stripes are said to represent the Pacific and Atlantic oceans which flank the country.
Another very interesting flag is from Barbados. It is represented by a yellow center that signifies the beaches of Barbados flanked by two stripes of blue on either side which represent the ocean and the sky. The center also has a broken trident which represents Neptune. The break symbolizes the splitting of Barbados from Britain in 1966.
The flag of Israel shows its Jewish values. The flag consist of blue and white stripes which represent a type of Jewish shawl used for prayers, and the symbol on the center is the Star of David. The flag became official in 1948.
Every flag in the world is steeped in history, symbolism, and quite often religion. Some flags have religious sayings or symbols on it, showing the values of that particular nation. New flags are created occasionally, as territories shift, and nations combine. Two fairly new flags that are easily recognizable are the flags for the United Nations and the European Union.
People love their national flags and are proud of what they express. The flag tells who the people are and what they value. Flags have proudly flown for thousands of years and will continue to fly throughout the world forever.
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About the author: George Pascatt is the chief writer at Flag FX, the #1 source on the internet when you're looking for fresh up to date advice and reviews to do with Flags. For more free articles on Flags why not visit: www.flagfx.com/articles
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