Unique Flags for Flag Day

June 10, 2024

By Brian Boone

Flag Day is an American pride holiday, a day each June when we’re encouraged to reflect on the Stars-and-Stripes, and think about what it means to us, in terms of freedom and the American way of life. It’s also a time when we can just think about flags in general, and how some other places around the world really went all out with theirs.

The decapitation flagBrought back to the UK from the Benin Expedition in 1897 (in present-day Nigeria), this flag is believed to have been created by the Itsekiri people. The flag featured two humanoid figures rendered in stark white, one of them using a sword to slice through the other’s neck, showing off the act of decapitation bloodlessly and mid-stroke.

The machine gun flag: Eight years after declaring its independence from Portugal, the African country of Mozambique adopted its official flag in 1983. Atop green, black, yellow, and white stripes, and a red triangle and a yellow star, stands a cluster of three objects of importance to the nation and its quest for self-rule: a book, a hand farming tool, and an AK-47 machine gun.

The purpliest flag: The small, Caribbean island nation of Dominica uses a national flag that’s the only one on Earth that depicts a parrot. Atop a deep-green background, tri-colored cross, and stars, sits a purple Sisserou parrot, which is native to only one place on Earth — Dominica. Those birds sport purple plumage, so this means Dominica has the most purple of any flag in use.

The most checkered flag: The economic crossroads city of Antwerp, Belgium, has its own flag, and it resembles the checkered flag used in auto racing or a board used to play chess or checkers. Instead of black and white, this flag’s 24 pieces come in a variety of slightly clashing colors, with white, blue, red, and yellow squares appearing in uneven patterns throughout. 

The oddest-shaped flag: Nepal’s flag is the world’s only national one that isn’t four-sided. With two triangular pennants extending from a rectangle, it’s actually five-sided. The pointy ends are supposed to evoke the mountains of the Nepalese Himalayas, which cover three-quarters of the Asian country. The flag is mostly red, symbolizing war victory as well as the rhododendron, the national flower of Nepal.

The flag with the most dragons: In the local language, the mountainous Asian country of Bhutan is called Druk Yul, which translates to “land of the thunder dragon.” Centuries ago, the sound of thunder echoed into valley towns at such a pitch that it reminded the citizens of dragons’ roars. And so, the flag of Bhutan is the only one in the world to star a dragon, in this case a flame-tailed dragon using its claws to hold tenaciously to some jewels. 

The most basic flag: Muammar Gaddafi, a revolutionary turned dictator, took over the government of Libya in 1969, and in 1977 ordered a new national flag. Used until Gaddafi was overthrown and assassinated in 2011, the flag of Libya was made up entirely of a single shade of green, reportedly chosen by Gaddafi himself.

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