25 National Flags And Their Meanings

Posted by on January 28, 2013

Originating on battlefields as a means of identification, national flags have come a long way since their bloody conception. Flying in courthouses, classrooms, and fire stations they typically hold symbolic significance for the nation and have complex meanings ingrained into their designs. So go ahead and test yourself on your flag knowledge because these are 25 national flags and their meanings.


United Kingdom

United Kingdom FlagCombining the crosses of the patron saints of England, Wales, and Scotland, the Union Jack as it is sometimes called is one of the oldest flags in the world having been around since 1801.


Austrian flagIt has been said that when Duke Leopold V. of Austria returned from war his white battledress was soaked with blood. When he took off his belt, however, the cloth underneath was still white. Some will tell you to this day that this is what inspired the red and white stripes. At any rate, this flag is one of the few that are older than the Union Jack as it dates back to the year 1230.


Aruba flagThere is a lot of dispute as to actual meaning of Aruba’s flag. Some say that the four pointed star represents the four main languages of the island, Papiamento, Spanish, English, and Dutch. The light blue is generally said to represent the sea and sky and the meaning of the yellow stripes has been up for debate with some theories proposing it has to do with Aruba’s gold industry while others claim the yellow stands for freedom or abundance.


Bangladesh flagAs you may have noticed, the red circle on the flag is slightly off center. This is so that when the flag is flying on a mast it will appear to be in the middle. The green symbolized the country of Bangladesh with its green geography and youthfulness while the red symbolizes the rising sun and the sacrifices its citizens have made.


Ethiopia flagAs the first African country to receive its independence, Ethiopia is often credited with the establishing green, yellow, and red (sometimes called the Pan African colors) that now symbolize African independence and unity.


Malaysia flagIt’s not hard to see that Malaysia has a history with England. The blue square in the upper left originally signified that connection. The 14 stripes represent the 13 member states and the federal district of Kuala Lumpur.


Nigeria flagThe green stripes represent Nigeria’s lush vegetation and its agriculture industry while the white stripe represents the desire for peace.


Canada flagAlso known as the “Maple Leaf Flag”, the maple leaf wasn’t actually added until many years later when Prime Minister Lester Pearson petitioned to have it included as during World War I he noticed many battalions including a maple leaf on their insignia.


Denmark flagWith the white cross representing Christianity, the Danish flag is said to be the oldest flag in the world. According to legend it fell from the sky on June 15, 1219 when King Waldemar II defeated the Estonians in battle.

Myanmar (Burma)

Burma flagAlthough the country has changed its name twice, the flag has remained the same. The blue symbolized peace and endurance, the red courage, and the white honor. The cogwheel and ears of rice represent the country’s agricultural industry and its workers.

United States

United States FlagSometimes referred to as the “Stars and Stripes”, or “Old Glory” the American flag features 13 stripes representing the original colonies and 50 stars representing the states in the union.


France flagKnown as the “French Tricolore” it is based on a red, white, and blue cockade that King Louis XVI wore while addressing a revolutionary gathering in Paris.


Greece flagWhile the Greek flag has stayed largely the same, the shade of blue has changed numerous times since the Greek Revolutionary War against the Ottoman Turks.

South Africa

South Africa flagAlthough the colors have no official meaning the red, green, and black are derived from Nelson Mandela’s political party, the African National Congress, and the former Boer Republics. The Y shape is said to reference the convergence of cultures in the nation.

Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda flagAs one of the more unique country flags, this one was designed by a high school art teacher. The sun signifies the dawning of a new era after gaining its independence, the red represents the energy of the people, and the blue signifies hope.
David Pegg


After helping found the United Nations, the United States, and United Airlines, David consigned himself to a transient life of writing lists and sleeping on park benches.

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  • Crețu Octavian Dumitru

    I was quite impressed that the Red,Yellow&Blue flag was number 3 but, I thought you said meanings! You were suppose to say the meanings not that they are the same and countries differ from one another, same to Greece, explain the meaning of the colors and signs, you described the microfiber out of most flags. Good video but could have been better.

  • Peripatetic Pom

    May I post a correction: the United Kingdom flag combines the national crosses of England Scotland and Ireland (not Northern Ireland). The flag does not include Wales, or indeed Northern Ireland specifically as historically these were a principality and a province and therefore came under the remits of the three kingdoms there represented. The constitutional anomaly following southern Ireland’s departure from the union and then the crown has never been adjusted on the flag.

    Also, you refer to Malaysia’s history with ‘England’. It is history with Britain I think you mean (which we now know includes Scotland, Wales and various parts of Ireland depending on the period.) The Scots in particular were highly active in Britain’s overseas empire, especially in Asia.

    It is one constant frustration of us Scots to see the Britain of which we are a part, reduced to an England of which we are not.

  • Daniel opoku

    Why flag of Ghana is part of international flags?

  • Xander

    Mahatma Gandhi’s spinning wheel he used in prison recently sold at a record price at auction … how come you don’t know it is Gandhi’s spinning wheel at the centre of the Indian flag? Read up BEFORE you make lists … myfavourite flag is from Kazakhstan, very artistic. Maybe do a “UNIQUE FLAGS” list …

  • Ricardo

    Add ANGOLA, black for the mourning of the lives lost in the independence, red for the blood of the ones who died, the machete for the agriculture of the country wich was very promissing at the time and the cog for the industry of the country.

  • Bertrand

    For France, the blue and red are the colours of the city of Paris, where began the Revolution, and the white was the colour of the King, or Monarchy.
    It means that the people of Paris, represented by the blue and the red, dominates the former power.

  • John Baking

    i am hansome but heres the philippines

    • Marian Brazas

      Hey I Know You John Baking I love U….. Muaah

      • John Baking

        thanks!! 3 words for you i love u


    hey no fair. ALWAYS AUSTRALIA AND NEVER NEW ZEALAND. really,,,,,, i feel sorry for peopl who live in small places and never get noticed :(

  • Markie

    Chad and Romania arent the same. On the blue
    Chad has a darker blue than Romania.
    Also Monaco and Indonesia have the same flag,
    Monaco’s Flag is just smaller.

  • Bage

    Add Sri Lankan flag to the list. That is one is unique.

  • Danny

    Dave, “doesn’t really have any meaning”?! Man, you should feel ashamed!

  • Margo

    I’m so sad. You had the Estonian flag in the little picture so I thought it would be part of the list and it wasn’t. Disappointed.

  • VDD

    Bulgarian flag

    The white represents a desire for peace and liberty, green symbolises freedom and agricultural wealth, and red of Bulgarian flags stands for the courage of spilt blood of the freedom fighters..