The flag of Algeria was adopted on July 3, 1962, when the country gained independence from France. The flag is rectangular and divided vertically into two fields. The left field has a dark green background and the right field has a white background. Intersecting the two fields, in the center of the flag, is a red star and crescent.
The colors of the Algerian flag have symbolic meaning. As with many countries, the white symbolizes peace. The green part of the flag represents nature. The star and crescent were widely used in parts of the ancient Mediterranean regions and also in parts of Asia. Today, the star and crescent combination is most commonly recognized as the emblem of Islam, and the star and crescent appear on the Algerian flag for these reasons. Although the star and crescent are often green, the red star and crescent on the Algerian flag represent the blood of the many soldiers that were killed fighting for Algeria’s independence from France between 1954 and 1962.
The detailed history of the Algerian flag is somewhat unclear. The colors in the flag—white, red, and green—are used in the flags and emblems of many Islamic nations. The best explanation of the Algerian flag’s design is that it is a combination of two flags used in what is now the country of Algeria. The flag of the Algerian Regency, which governed the area from the sixteenth until the nineteenth century, had a red background with a white star and crescent in the center. In the nineteenth century, Prince Abdel Kadir, an Algerian Islamic scholar and political and military leader, led a French resistance movement flying a flag with two vertical stripes, one green and one white. It is also possible that Messali Hadj, an Algerian nationalist, designed the Algerian flag in the late 1920s.
The current flag of Bulgaria was adopted in 1991 when Bulgaria’s Constitution was readopted, although the original Bulgarian flag was adopted when Bulgaria gained independence following the Russo-Turkish War. The flag is rectangular with three horizontal stripes: a white stripe on the top, a green stripe in the middle, and a red stripe on the bottom.
The red and white stripes on the Bulgarian flag represent the pan-Slavic colors: red, white, and blue. When the Bulgarians designed their flag, however, they chose a green stripe in place of the traditional pan-Slavic blue to represent freedom.
Since the Bulgarian flag’s adoption in 1879, the flag has existed in two versions: with and without the emblem of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria. In 1879, after Bulgaria gained its independence during the Russo-Turkish War, the Tarnovo Constitution mandated that the Bulgarian flag consist of a horizontal tricolor with white, green, and red stripes. When Bulgaria was under the rule of the Bulgarian Communist Party and known as The People’s Republic of Bulgaria, the country used a horizontal tricolor flag with the emblem of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria placed on the left corner of the white stripe.
The emblem of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria depicts a rampant lion surrounded by a wreath of wheat. Above the lion is a red five-pointed star. Below the lion are the dates 681 and 1944. Asparunkh, ruler of the Bulgar tribe during the 7th century, founded the First Bulgarian Empire in 681. The Fatherland Front, a Bulgarian resistance movement that led to the start of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria, took control over Bulgaria in 1944, at the end of the World War II.
In 1991, the new Constitution of Bulgaria again mandated that the flag of Bulgaria be a simple horizontal tricolor of white, green, and red; and the emblem of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria was removed.
The flag of Catalonia is known as the senyera (“signal flag” in Catalan) and is one of the oldest European flags still in use today. The flag is a rectangular shape with four red horizontal stripes equally spaced on a golden background.
The colors of the flag of Catalonia have their roots in the coat of arms of the Crown of Aragon, which consists of a golden shield with four red stripes and a jeweled crown on top. According to a legend from the fourteenth century, in 897, when Barcelona was under siege by the Moors, King Charles the Bald drew four red stripes with his blood-drenched fingers as an act of gratitude on the Count of Barcelona’s golden shield. Although scholars debate the legend’s validity, the red blood and golden shield depicted in the tale influenced the colors for the Crown of Aragon’s coat of arms. The red and golden colors are used in the flags of four of Spain’s autonomous communities: Catalonia, Aragon, the Balearic Islands, and Valencia.
The origin of the actual senyera is, again, debated as scholars argue over whether the flag has its roots in the Catalan or Aragonese region of Spain. The Gran Encyclopedia Catalana argues that the senyera first appeared in the tomb of Ramon Berenguer II, a count of Barcelona who died in 1082. Advocates for the Aragonese theories argue, however, the flag was first found in the seal of Alfonso II of Aragon in 1159.
Catalonia is an autonomous community of Spain, one of seventeen self-governing regions in the country. Catalonia is in the northeast region of Spain and is bordered by France to the north. The area consists of four provinces: Barcelona (the capitol), Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Although the history of this region dates back to the eighth century, Catalonia has only been an autonomous region since August 9, 2006.