Countries With Similar Flags
The story of a nation's flag is always a fascinating one. Flags are embedded with a country's narrative, be that one of victory, struggle or independence. They can tell us a lot about a nation's history and identity. The origins of flags are from use in battle, so that soldiers could easily spot their own side, and those who study flags, vexillologists, can help us solve even more of their mysteries. For instance, why are there so many countries with similar flags? How did these similarities come to be? And why do some countries have so many similarities?
Why do country flags look similar?
There are numerous reasons why one national flag might look similar to another. A major factor is simple geography; countries from the same region or part of the world often share flag features. Neighbouring countries are likely to share common cultures, values and histories, as well as shared political or religious heritage. At different times in their past, neighbouring countries may have even been part of the same nation, and their modern-day flag designs might such represent past unions. This is the case in the flags of Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua. These countries were once known collectively as the United Provinces of Central America. Their national flags all share the blue and white colours of the UPCA flag. Other regional flag themes include the Pan-African, Pan-Arab and Pan-Slavic colours.
The Union Jack
Shared religious ideologies, political histories or common culture may explain why many flags feature the same symbol. The Union Jack is a prime example of this. As the flag of Great Britain, the Union Jack is made up of the flags of the country's constituent parts; Scotland, England and Wales. But why is it seen in other flags such as Australia, New Zealand, Bermuda and Fiji? These countries were (or still are in the case of Bermuda) under British rule and despite independence, the legacy of the Commonwealth lives on.
Star and crescent symbol
Another commonly shared symbol is the star and crescent. It is included in many flags including that of Turkey, Algeria, Libya, and Malaysia. The star and crescent symbol represents Islam, and when you see it in a flag, it's a clue as to the dominant religion of that nation.
What other countries have similar flags?
Some groups or pairs of flags have particularly striking similarities. What's really interesting is when these flags do not have shared political, history or geographical heritage. A prime example is this unexpectedly similar trio of Monaco, Poland, and Indonesia. All three consist of just two blocks of rectangular colour: red and white. Monaco and Indonesia are virtually identical in fact, with red on top and white below. Monaco's and Indonesia's flags are both based on the heraldic colours of empires gone by, the former from the Monegasque princely arms and the latter, the colours of the Majapahit empire. Poland's colours are also heraldic in history.
The sun in the Japanese and Bangladesh flags
Another notably similar pair of flags are that of Japan and Bangladesh. Both flags feature a red circle at the centre (Japan upon a white background and Bangladesh upon a green one). In both cases the circle is a symbol for the rising sun, which represents both unity and energy.
What are the most common flag colours?
Red and white are the two most common colours found in flags. As we saw in the case of Poland, Monaco, and Indonesia, it was not uncommon for medieval empires to choose red and white as colour themes, given that one represents victory (spilled blood) and the other purity.
Flags can say a lot about a country's religion, politics, culture or even its heraldic history. But the best way to really understand a country isn't by studying the flag, it's by visiting it, by meeting the people, crossing the terrain and soaking up the culture. Wherever you plan on going for your next holiday, book your flight with BudgetAir.
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