10 Flags Around the World — and Their Evolution Over the Years

Along with its currency, nothing represents a nation as does its flag. It is the visually graphic emblem of a country, steeped with meaningful components which are designed to announce to the rest of the world the pride in which its citizens feel; and for centuries, people have generally been united under that ultimate symbol of nationality and love for country as an inspiration for patriotism — whether engaging in battle or waving it at a sporting event.

10 Flags Around the World — and Their Evolution Over the Years

Because national flags have such a symbolic political purpose and importance, many of the designs with which we are currently familiar have changed over the years — some of them substantially. The colors and symbols on a national flag must be carefully chosen in ensuring that they capture the essence of that nation. As the sense of identity shifts, so, too, does the design…

…and then again, some countries attempt to change the flag with no success. Look no further than New Zealand, which conducted an expensive contest for its citizens to design and vote on a new national flag — only to retain the current design.

This article — which was written by David Boyd for Credit Card Compare — offers the evolution of the flags of ten nations around the world in the form of animations, with which I have been given express written permission to use in this article. Verbatim text from the aforementioned article is in quotes above each animation, with brief notes added by me for some of the destinations below each animation.

The national flags of ten countries which have been compiled and traced their evolution throughout history are as follows:

1. Australia

“As a former British colony, Australia flew the Union Jack until the 20th century. At this point it was decided that the country needed its own national flag, and a version of the blue ensign was adopted instead. To give it a real Australian flavour, six stars were added in the shape of the Southern Cross constellation — a symbol of Australia since the early days of British rule — with one large seven-pointed Federation Star to represent the country’s territories.”

Australia flag

Source: Credit Card Compare.

If you have not yet been to Australia, you owe it to yourself to travel there. From the modern metropolis of Sydney to the lone monolith of Uluru to the tropical region of Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef, there is plenty to see and do — and do not forget to take a trip to the aforementioned New Zealand. I spent three weeks in both of those countries on one trip; and that still was not nearly enough time. I hope to return there one day.

By the way, you are in luck if you want to book your flight reservations now: you can redeem as few as 58,000 SkyMiles for round-trip flights on Delta Air Lines — plus between $110.00 and $120.00 in taxes and fees — for travel between the 48 contiguous United States and Australia through Sunday, December 9, 2018, by when all travel must be completed; but you must purchase your ticket and book your reservation no later than today, Wednesday, August 8, 2018.

2. Canada

“Until as recently as the mid 1960s, Canada didn’t have an official national flag. For most of its history it flew variations on the red ensign, featuring the Union Jack even after Canadian independence in 1931. Complete with its iconic maple leaf, the flag is a well-established symbol of Canada as a country — a testament to how well designed it is, given that it’s less than 60 years old.”

Canada flag

Source: Credit Card Compare.

Like Australia, there is so much to see and do in the vastness known as Canada. In addition to Alberta and British Columbia, I have also been to the provinces of Ontario, Québec and Nova Scotia — including Niagara Falls, Québec City and Halifax, amongst other destinations — but I have not written any articles pertaining to those visits. One day, I hope to have visited all of the provinces and territories of Canada.

If Canada is in your travel plans and you want some ideas pertaining to visiting that beautiful country, here is a list of the articles I have already written up to this point pertaining to my visit to the Rocky Mountains of Canada last year — as well as articles when I visited the Vancouver area yet again a few years ago; and articles with offers which are still valid.

3. South Africa

“One of the newest national flags, South Africa’s is a hugely symbolic one, introduced in 1994 to represent the country’s move away from apartheid. The flag was designed and produced in a rush, initially intended to be only an interim design — but it proved to be so popular that it was kept permanently. While the current flag takes inspiration from several of the past designs, it still manages to be unique, helping a nation move on to a better future for its people.”

South Africa flag

Source: Credit Card Compare.

I still have not written and posted all of the articles pertaining to my amazing road trip experience driving around South Africa and neighboring countries; but I intend to do so, as I really had a great time. What a memorable trip that was to South Africa. Go there, rent a car, and enjoy.

Here are some articles which I have written pertaining to South Africa:

4. China

“While it’s a long way from the flag of the Qing dynasty, China’s national flag is a simple but effective representation of a country. It has just fives stars — one large one and four smaller ones — on a plain red background. The red background represents the revolution, while the large star represents the Communist Party and the smaller stars the people of China, unified under its leadership. In this way, the flag acts as the ultimate symbol of the ethos that holds such a large country together.”

China flag

Source: Credit Card Compare.

I accidentally stayed overnight in Shanghai while on my way from Seoul to Manila almost four years ago during my unintentional trip around the world due to some irregular operations which were never clearly explained to me, which is documented in the links to articles of some of my trip reports documenting my experience. I hope to one day spend more time

5. United States of America

“Not many national flags inspire as much devotion as that of the United States — demonstrated in part by the number of nicknames it has (Stars and Stripes, Old Glory and the Star-Spangled Banner) and the way it’s flown with pride on everything from the houses of everyday Americans to, of course, the Moon. Its design has gone through some intriguing changes over the years, with new stars being added to the spangled banner after the admission of each new state.”

United States of America flag

Source: Credit Card Compare.

The United States is where I was born and raised; and I have lived in this country all of my life. Sometimes people seem to extol their patriotism to the United States excessively — perhaps because this country has so much to offer despite its shortcomings — but I am proud to be an American.

You have already read this refrain; but I will repeat it: I still have many articles to write documenting my experiences around the United States which I intend to post here at The Gate.

6. Portugal

“Some flag design changes seem to come out of the blue, and that was very much the case with the 20th century adaptation of the Portuguese flag, ushered in by the downfall of the monarchy and rise of the republic. The red and green colours of the Republican Party were adopted onto the national flag in 1911. They represent hope and the red blood of those who died to earn it, replacing the white backgrounds of previous flags.”

Portugal flag

Source: Credit Card Compare.

I was in Portugal for the first time back in June of 2018; and other than why I walked from Lisbon Airport to the hotel property at which I was staying, I have yet to write about my experiences there.

7. Egypt

“It’s not surprising that a country with as rich a history as Egypt has plenty of symbolism behind its national flag design. Its colours date back to the 1952 revolution, with red representing the time before the uprising against the monarchy and the British. The white represents that it was a bloodless revolution, while the black is there to symbolise the end of the oppression of the Egyptian people. In the centre sits the Eagle of Saladin, an emblem of Arab nationalism, which was added in 1984.”

Egypt flag

Source: Credit Card Compare.

From the pyramids and the Sphinx to the blue waters of the misnomer known as the Red Sea to the ancient treasures in Luxor, Egypt is filled with wonders for virtually everyone to enjoy.

If you are interested in visiting Egypt, here is a series of articles pertaining to my experiences in that country — and yes, I still have more articles which I need to write and post in the future:

8. Colombia

“The design of Colombia’s current national flag dates back to its day as part of Gran Colombia, along with Venezuela and Ecuador, both of whom have similar flags. The colours are said to signify the riches of the country (yellow); the seas, rivers and sky (blue); and the blood spilled to achieve Colombian independence (red). Notably, unlike most other tricolour flags, the yellow has a ratio of 2:1:1, a feature of the old flag that both Colombia and Ecuador kept.”

Colombia flag

Source: Credit Card Compare.

Colombia is one of the two countries in this article to which I have never been; so I cannot comment on it.

9. Mongolia

“The current Mongolian national flag has its roots in several of its predecessors, most notably the Soyombo symbol on the left hand side, which is the national symbol of the country. It represents fire, sun, moon, earth and water. For much of the 20th century it also had a socialist star on top — until Mongolia rejected socialism in 1992. The colours of the flag are also symbolic, with the central blue stripe representing the eternal blue sky, surrounded by red stripes that represent fire and prosperity.”

Mongolia flag

Source: Credit Card Compare.

Mongolia is the other country to which I have never visited; but Alexander Bachuwa of The Points of Life has actually lived there. Be sure to read these articles he wrote about his escapades in Ulaanbaatar and other parts of Mongolia.

10. Hungary

“The three main colours of the Hungarian flag were first used in the 13th century. While its design has gone through a lot of changes since then, many of them have been along the lines of the current tricolour design. The colours represent strength (red), fidelity (white) and hope (green). The national flag has remained unchanged since 1957; its straightforward design meant that it didn’t require any alteration after the fall of the communist regime in 1989.”

Hungary flag

Source: Credit Card Compare.

If you are interested in visiting Hungary, here is a series of articles pertaining to my experiences in that country — and yes, I still have more articles which I need to write and post in the future:

Summary

Flags are an integral part to the identity of a country, as you can learn a lot about the history of a country simply by looking at the changes that were implemented — and this is especially true with countries that gained their independence relatively recently.

Do not limit yourself to the ten aforementioned flags in this article, however. Literally thousands of flags represent countries, states, cities and regions around the world in a plethora of colors — and even sizes and shapes. Take the time to marvel at the official flag of where you may be visiting — as well as learn more about the history behind it. That information — and resulting knowledge — could potentially add value to your visit.

Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

4 thoughts on “10 Flags Around the World — and Their Evolution Over the Years”

  1. Erick says:

    Love this!

  2. Ben says:

    Sheldon Cooper eat your heart out!

    1. Ms. M says:

      I was thinking the same thing (about Sheldon)!

      My husband and I visited Portugal in June 2017. Brian, I wonder if you were there during the saint holidays. We did not check for holidays before booking our trip and were (mostly) pleasantly surprised to find ourselves there during three different holidays. We were witness to one of the grand parades in Lisbon. However, we had to alter plans for shopping for tiles in Porto because stores were closed for one of the holidays. But we fell in love with the culture there and will visit again soon.

      1. Brian Cohen says:

        I was not in Portugal during the saint holidays, Ms. M; and I also did not travel to Porto, as I was there for a short stay. Lisbon is a nice, walkable city.

        Despite you having to change your shopping plans, I am glad that you had a great time and would like to learn more of your experiences in Portugal.

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