Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Your Tuesday Flag Quiz

Hurray for the Blue, White, and Blue!

Here are five flags in simple blue and white patterns. Where are they from?






Submit your answers in the comments.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sporcle World Organization Flags

Oh, sure, you probably recognize the Olympic flag, or the United Nations... but here is a tough little quiz from Sporcle:

Can you name the world organizations from their flags?

I only got 7 out of 20!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Your Tuesday Flag Quiz

OK, we'll start with an easy one. Or at least, one that seems easy to me, although I am notoriously bad at judging how tough a quiz is going to be.

What entities do each of the following flags represent, and how are they related?





Post your answers in the comments.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Flag Day

Today is Flag Day in the United States. It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States on June 14, 1777. First proclaimed by Woodrow Wilson in 1916, and formally established by Congress in 1949, because it is not associated with a holiday day-off from work, it has been overshadowed by Memorial Day, with its parades and cook-outs.

From minor map flap on Cartophilia, Iraq-Pakistan Border, President Obama's 57-Star Flag lapel pin:

Happy Flag Day from Michael5000 and Cartophiliac!

UPDATE 6/15: An interesting coda to yesterday's holiday. This morning I read in the Dayton Daily News about a ceremony where over four thousand unserviceable American flags were honorably retired and destroyed by burning. This flag burning is not a protest:

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Great Australian Flag Debate

In some countries, the national flag is looked at as almost sacrosanct. In Australia, though, the flag seems to be the subject of considerable debate.

Some Australians -- perhaps many Australians -- find the Union Jack in the upper left not only an uncomfortable reminder of the colonial era, but unrepresentative of the increasingly multicultural Australia of today.

Ausflag is the first group I've ever heard of whose mission is to question the flag of its country. It is, according to its website, an apolitical, non-profit organisation seeking to secure the popular support of the Australian people for the adoption of a truly Australian flag. This may stretch the definition of "apolitical" somewhat, but Ausflag does offer a remarkable amount of material on Australian flag history and about the ongoing debate over the Australian flag. There are also more than one hundred possible alternative Australian flags on offer on their site, some of which strike me as quite nice...

And some as less so.

This design is described as "revolutionary, not evolutionary." True! I think I might like it, despite its figurative nature:

Apparently, the flag issue is a bit of a passion for many individuals as well; I became aware of Ausflag through the website of Brendan Jones, a guy with his own set of national and state flag designs that he would like to see replace the current set.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The N States of America

The Congress of the United States is once again addressing the question of adding Puerto Rico as the 51st state. Who could be opposed to this? Republicans might be concerned about adding two new senators from a state likely to go strong for the Democratic party. English-Only activists might be unhappy about more Spanish speakers... However, the single lobby that should be MOST interested in adding a new state is the Flag Manufacturers Association of America. Just think of all the new flags that people will feel compelled to buy!

But how would we fit 51 stars on the blue field of the flag? At Salon.com today, a mathematician figures out the best way to jam an extra star onto the American flag. Plus: Generate patterns for every possible flag up to 100 stars.

After Puerto Rico, who's next?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Flags and Vague Internationalism

Flags are powerful symbols of national and cultural identity, but they are sometimes employed to symbolize merely a vague sense of internationalism or cosmopolitanism. Take, for instance, the inside of my windbreaker. It's a medium-weight jacket, not especially stylish, and certainly not especially distinguished -- yet it has this ambitious label on the lining.

I guess I am supposed to feel, when wearing the jacket -- or at least I was, when I was considering its purchase -- that the garment would associate me with the glamorous, adventurous life of an aviator, a person who might at any moment dash off to exotic locales such as Spain, Norway, England, Italy, or the United States. I don't feel that way, not at all, but I am fond of the label. It seems to be trying so hard.

At the risk of noting the obvious: not only do the flags included on the label seem kind of randomly chosen, but there also seems to be a flag that is pretty significant to the jacket left off:

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Svenska Flaggans Dag!

It's time to celebrate Sweden's 1523 throwing off of the yoke of Danish tyranny! It's Sweden's National Day, which was known until 1983 -- and still is widely thought of, I'm led to believe -- as Swedish Flag Day.

The handsome Swedish flag has its roots as far back as the 12th Century -- it's old enough that some of the details are lost to history -- but the exact current design was only made official in 1906.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Estonian Flag Day!

Vexillophilia wishes you a very happy Estonian National Flag Day! Three cheers for the sinimustvalge!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

World Flags, 1942

The world map has been, in historical terms, pretty darn stable over the last forty years. There have been a few late instances of decolonization, of course, and the relatively orderly fracturing of the USSR and Czechoslovakia into their constituent parts, as well as the disorderly fracturing of Yugoslavia into its constituent parts. Eritrea calved off of Ethiopia. East Timor calved off of Indonesia. But on the whole, it would be a very recognizable world -- with very recognizable flags -- to someone who just arrived from 1970.

Go back another 28 years, though, and the situation changes dramatically. Here's the front cover of the "War Edition" of the Hammond's World Wide Atlas, from 1942.

And here's the back cover:

We're used to seeing a full complement of 200 countries, give or take, these days. In 1942, Hammond's could only drum up 48 independent countries -- and that including three that had already ceased to exist for the next fifty years, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania (although a few smaller countries, like Luxembourg, were left off).

Most of the flags on the chart, however, are still in use (although some look a little funny, because Hammond's showed the formal state flag instead of the more recognizable civil flag). Noteworthy exceptions include Canada, Germany (!), Egypt, and India (still a British colony here).