Hawaii Flag

The Hawaii flag is perhaps the most similar of all state flags to the traditional flag of the United States of America. Consisting of no other colors but the traditional red, white and blue, the Hawaii flag on first glance looks like no more than a hybrid British/American flag.

hawaii flag

The Hawaii Flag is very similar in design to the American flag – it consists of a rectangular field in the top left atop a field of stripes all around.  One major difference however is that while the stripes in the American flag are simply an alternating red and white pattern, the stripes of the Hawaii flag are red, white and blue.  Also, in the top left corner of the Hawaii flag sits a design much different from the traditional 50 star design of the American Flag.  Rather than the well known 50 star pattern atop a blue background, the image in the top left corner of the Hawaii flag is an exact  replica of the flag of the United Kingdom.

As previously mentioned, the Hawaii flag contains a field of st ripes surrounding the top left canon of the flag.  Traditionally, the American flag has had 13 stripes fashioned in this same manner; however the Hawaii flag has just eight.  The eight stripes of the Hawaii flag represent the eight major Hawaiian islands; Hawaii, Oahu, Kauai, Kahoolawe, Lanai, Maui, Molokai and Niihau.  There are also various conflicting reports as to the origins of the stripes as some claim that the stripes were influenced by various historical British flags, while still others claim the design was based upon the American flag.

Regardless of the exact origins of the Hawaii flag – origins that will likely forever remain unknown in their entirety – there is little doubt that the Flag of Hawaii, despite the tiny size of the island, has one of the most detailed histories of any state flag in the American Union

Georgia Flag

According to most accounts, the Georgia flag is still in its infancy as compared to most other flags in the United States of America.  Officially recognized as the flag of Georgia on May 8th, 2003, the Georgia flag has a design that is incredibly similar to that of the American flag.

georgia flag

Similar to the American flag, the Georgia flag consists of a design of red and white stripes with a blue field in the  top left corner of the flag.  However, in contrast to the American flag, the Seal of Georgia sits in the blue field of the Flag of Georgia as opposed to the 50 stars of the American Flag.

The Seal of Georgia in the top left of the flag consists of a yellow arch encircled by 13 white s tars.  The arch is meant to symbolize Georgia’s Constitution, and the three pillars supporting the arch represent the three branches of the Georgia government (Executive, Legislative and Judicial).  Also, wrapped around the three pillars in the Seal of the words “Wisdom, Justice, Moderation”, the Georgia state motto.  The entire seal is symbolically guarded by what looks to be a male soldier dressed in the traditional Colonial battle uniform, and directly below the seal sit the words “IN GOD WE TRUST”. Intrestingly enough, however, the actual text “IN GOD WE TRUST” is not a part of the Georgia state seal of the coat of arms, however it does appear on the Georgia flag.

Encircling the entire state seal are 13 white stars, symbolizing Georgia along with the 12 other states that originally formed the Confederate States of America.  One interesting thing to note is that the Georgia flag is often nicknamed the “Georgian Stars and Bars” after the flag from which it was originally derived – the Flag of the Confederate States of America.

Florida Flag

The flag of Florida consists of the seal of Florida emblazoned upon a white  background and a red saltire (diagonal cross). At first glance, the Florida flag seems strikingly simple – however upon further inspection, the intricacies of the flag of the “Sunshine State” start to become apparent.

florida flag

Despite the simplicity of the red cross on top of a white background, the centerpiece of the Florida flag is unusually complex.  Officially coined the “Great Seal of the State of Florida”, the centerpiece in the Florida flag does its best to represent the many facets of Florida life.

First and perhaps most obviously, the seal depicts a Seminole woman standing on the Floridian shoreline spreading Hibisucus flowers.  A steamboat can be seen in the background of the seal, sailing off into the strikingly beautiful Floridian horizon.  Also pictured on the seal of Florida is the state tree – the Sabal Palm.  Encircling the entire scene are the words “GREAT SEAL OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA” and “IN GOD WE TRUST”.

Originally, the design of the Flag of Florida consisted of no more than the seal of Florida atop a white background.  However, this was changed in the late 1890s according to the wishes of General Francis P Fleming, who suggested that a red cross be added to the background so that the flag would not appear to simply represent the white flag of surrender when floating atop the flagpole.

One interesting thing to note about Florida is the fact that at least 16 different flags have flown over Florida at various times during its history.  Currently, there is even a small grassroots movement aimed at redesigning the Florida flag yet again to commemorate Florida’s 500th anniversary.  The future of the Florida flag remains yet to be seen – however one thing is very apparent, and that is that the Florida flag has perhaps one of the richest histories of any flag in the Untied States of America.

Delaware Flag

The Delaware flag consists of one of the most peculiar designs of any flag in the United States. In a general sense, the flag simply consists of the Delaware coat of arms placed upon a blue background.  Below the Delaware coat of arms sits the phrase “December 7, 1787” which of course marks the day in which the state of Delaware ratified the United States Constitution – the first state to ever do so.

delaware flag

The flag layout and design sound simple enough; however the peculiarities arise upon further inspection of the Delaware coat of arms in the middle of the flag.  The center of the Delaware coat of arms consists of a shield of horizontal blue, white and green stripes with an ox in the center.  Also on the shield sit an ear of corn along with a sheaf of wheat – symbolic of Delaware’s agricultural industry.  Above the shield in the center of the Delaware flag sits a small ship sailing the Delaware waters.  Below the shield sits the state motto, “Liberty and Independence”, and holding the entire design together are a farmer and soldier placed on each side of the design.  Compared to many other state flags in the American Union, the Delaware flag design is unusually complex.

Just as with almost any other flag in the Union, the colors of the Delaware flag have a very interesting and symbolic meaning.  Officially, the flag consists of a buff-colored diamond on top of a field of colonial blue with the Delaware coat of arms placed squarely inside the center diamond.  The background ( colonial blue) and forground (buff-colored) sections of the Delaware flag have officially been designated “Arno Blue” and “Golden Beige”, respectively.  Interestingly enough, the colors of the Delaware flag were supposedly originally derived from the colors of George Washington’s uniform.

Washington Flag

Washington State’s flag design was not officially adopted until 1923, which was more than 30 years after the state was permitted entry to the union. Until the flag was adopted and around the turn of the century, many of the cities and towns displayed a military flag that bore a gold profile of George Washington on blue bunting. There was another design used, which is similar to what is in use today, where a gold state seal was featured on a purple or green background. Displayed in the State Reception Room of the Legislative Building in the state capital of Olympia is a ceremonial banner of this type of flag.

washington flag

The Washington State Secretary of State’s website states, “According to law (RCW 1.20.010), “The official flag of the state of Washington shall be of dark green silk or bunting and shall bear in its center a reproduction of the seal of the state of Washington embroidered, printed, painted or stamped thereon. The edges of the flag may, or may not, be fringed. If a fringe is used the same shall be of gold or yellow color of the same shade as the seal. The dimensions of the flag may vary.”

When displaying the Washington flag outdoors, it should not be flown earlier than sunrise or later than sunset; however, flying the flag 24 hours a day is permitted if directly illuminated during the hours of darkness. The flag should not be flown on days of inclement weather, unless an all weather flag is used.

The Washington state flag is required to be displayed on or near the administration building of every state facility. RCW (Revised Code of Washington) 1.20.15 states, “The flag of the United States and the flag of the state shall be prominently installed, displayed and maintain in schools, court rooms, and state buildings.”

Fiji Flag

The Fiji Flag as it is in present use was adopted on October 10, 1970. Although the state arms have been slightly modified, the flag has remained the same since the colonial period.

Fiji previously has a national flag of blue and white vertical stripes with a red shield in the center depicting a white dove. When the country ceded to British Rule in 1874, Fiji relinquished its independence and was a British colony from 1874 to 1970.

fiji flag

The Fiji flag is a defaced sky-blue “Blue Ensign,” the actual Blue Ensign version of the Fiji flag is the Government’s Ensign. The bright blue background represents the Pacific Ocean, which is an important part in the lives of the islanders, with the fishing trade and tourism industry. The Union Jack embodies the country’s links to Great Britain.
The shield, on the right hand side of the flag, is derived from the country’s official coat of arms. The white shield has a red cross with a red chief. The images on the shield stand for the agriculture so important to Fiji and the historical connection with Great Britain. The top of the shield has a British lion which holds a cocoa pod between its paws. In the upper left portion is a sugar cane, and the upper right has a coconut palm. In the lower left area of the shield is a dove of peace and in the right a bunch of bananas.

The flag is such a wonderful tribute to the lives and industry of the Fiji Islands.

Italian Flag

The Italian flag as it is known today was adopted January 1, 1948; however, it has been in use since June 19, 1946. Often it is referred to in Italian as Il Tricolore because of its tricolor features of three equally sized vertical pales of green, white, and red.

italian flag

Various people have ascribed particular ideals to the colors of the flag. Common interpretations have the green symbolizing the country’s plains and the hills. The white signifies the snow-capped Alps. Lastly, the red denotes the blood spilt in the Wars of Italian Independence.  A religious interpretation is that the green is for hope, the white is for faith, and the red is for charity.

The protocol for the Italian flag is written in Article 12 of the Constitution. It follows Italy’s membership of the European Union and states the general provisions governing the use and display of the flag. When the flag is displayed alongside other flags, the national flag of Italy shall take the place of honor and it should be raised first and lowered last. Other national flags are arranged in an alphabetical order.  Additional rules include that the flag should always be regarded with dignity and should never touch the ground or water.

The flag is flown from sunrise to sunset like many other country’s flags. It is not permitted to be displayed in bad weather and can only be flown at night if it is properly illuminated. A flag displayed outside can be flown at half-mast as a sign of mourning; however, other flags can have two black ribbons attached to show the sign of mourning.

Canadian Flag

The National Flag of Canada, which is also known as the Maple Leaf, was adopted in 1965 and marked the first time a national flag had been officially adopted in Canada to replace the Union Flag. The Canadian flag wasn’t without controversy. The Canadian Red Ensign had been used “unofficially” since the 1890s and was even approved in 1945 by Order-in-Council for use in places where it made it desirable to fly a distinctive Canadian flag.

canadian flag

It wasn’t until 1964 when Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson put together a committee to resolve the flag issues, thus setting off a serious debate about a flag change. The final selection was designed by George F.G. Stanley and John Matheson. Their maple leaf design was based upon the flag of the Royal Military College of Canada.

The Maple Leaf flag made its debut on February 15, 1965 and that date is now Canada’s National Flag of Canada Day; celebrations occur annually. Although there is not a law that dictates the official use of the Canadian Flag, there are some guidelines to follow. The flag can be displayed on any day on buildings operated by the government, airports, diplomatic offices, military, and by citizens during any time of the day. When flying the Canadian flag, it must be on its own pole and cannot be inferior to other flags, except for (in descending order) the Queen’s Personal Standard, the Governor General’s Standard, any of the Personal Standards of the members of the Canadian royal family, or flags of the Lieutenant Governors.

Japan Flag

The national flag of Japan is called Nisshoki, meaning sun flag; however, it is more commonly known as Hinomaru, meaning sun circle. The flag was officially adopted by the civil ensign with Proclamation 57 on February 27, 1870 during the Meiji Restoration. It wasn’t adopted nationally though, until August 13, 1999 by the Law Concerning the National Flag and Anthem.

japan flagJapan’s flag protocol calls for the flag to be flown from sunrise until sunset; however, a business or school is allowed to fly the flag from their opening to closing hours. The Cabinet Prime Minister of Japan is the official with authority to place the flag at half-staff.

The flying of the Japan flag is primarily limited to buildings associated with national and local governments, such as city halls. It is rarely connected with private homes or commercial businesses; although that is changing somewhat as time goes by and some citizens are advocating for exhibiting the flag on Japanese holidays.

When flying another country’s flag with the Japanese flag, Japan’s flag should take the position of honor and the other country should be flown to the right at the same height. If more than one other foreign flag is presented, the arrangement is in alphabet order prescribed by the United Nations.

Japan’s flag has a red circle within a middle of a white flag. The red circle symbolizes the sun and Japan is said to be “The Land of the Rising Sun.” The white of the flag denotes honesty and purity while the red “sun” signifies brightness, sincerity, and warmth.

Australia Flag

The Australian flag came into being on January 1, 1901 after the federation of the Australian States into the Commonwealth of Australia. The Commonwealth Blue Ensign was decided upon as a result of a competition from the public. And even though it was selected in 1901 and gazetted in 1903, it did not receive Royal assent and adoption until 1954 in the Flags Act of 1953.

australia flag

The current Australia Flag consists of three components:

  • The Union Jack is in the upper left part of the flag which represents Australia’s historical link to Great Britain.
  • The Southern Cross is in the second quarter and fourth quarter of the flag. The stars represent the Southern Cross constellation which is a significant navigational feature of the southern hemisphere.
  • The Commonwealth Star or Star of Federation is the star central in the third quarter of the flag. The seven points of the star designate the six states and the combined territories of the Commonwealth.

Each of the six states of Australia has their own official state flag; the common feature being a blue ensign defaced with the badge of the state. The flags of the territories are more unique and individual in nature and they don’t have the blue ensign background like the states.

There are other flags in Australia besides the “official” flag:

  • The Queen’s Personal Flag for Australia
  • The Govern General’s Flag
  • The Eureka Flag
  • The Republican Movement
  • The Flag of Aboriginal Australia

According to the Australian government, “The Australian National Flag is Australia’s foremost national symbol. It was first flown in 1901 and has become an expression of Australian identity and pride.

The Australian National Flag flies over the federal and state parliaments. The flag is paraded by our defence forces and displayed around the country at sporting events and by service organisations, schools, community groups and private citizens.”