Flag of Ireland

The flag of Ireland was officially adopted in 1919 when Ireland gained its independence from Great Britain. The flag is rectangular with three vertical stripes: a green stripe on the left side, a white stripe in the middle, and an orange stripe on the right.

The colors and design of the Irish flag have clear symbolism and historical context. The green stripe on the flag represents the Gaelic tradition, the majority of Ireland’s population and the group of revolutionaries that fought for Ireland’s independence.  The orange stripe stands for William of Orange—the king of England and Ireland—and his supporters.  These supporters were overwhelmingly Protestant, loyal to the British government, and often found conflict with the Gaelic Irish majority.  The white in the center represents a truce, and more importantly, peace, between the two major Irish traditions.

The origin of the Irish flag dates back to the rivalry between the Gaelic and Orange Irish traditions.  The Gaelic Irish began using a green flag with a harp on it in the mid seventeenth century, and shortly after, the color green—and the harp—became widely associated with the Gaelic people.  The Protestants, who organized the Orange Order, founded their kingdom in 1795, and the two traditions fought each other in the Irish Rebellion of 1798.  In the mid-nineteenth century, many Irish nationalists began to spread the idea of making peace between these two traditions in order to have an independent Irish nation.

The use of green, white, and orange colors together was first exhibited during the French Revolution, when Irish supporters wore cockades, rosettes, and badges featuring this tricolor to celebrate.  In 1848, a group of French women gave the first version of the Irish flag to Thomas Francis Meagher, a Young Ireland leader, and he displayed the flag from publicly for the first time during a public address celebrating the French Revolution. Although the tricolor flag was often displayed alongside the French tricolor during this period, the green Gaelic flag was most often used until the Easter Rising, which began the Irish revolution in 1916.

Flag of Russia

The flag of Russia was originally adopted in 1896. The flag was in use until the October Revolution of 1917, banned from use during the Communist era, and then readopted on December 11, 1993.  The Russian flag is a rectangular flag with three horizontal stripes of equal size: a white stripe on the top, a blue stripe in the middle, and a red stripe on the bottom.

Historians argue over the historical origins of the Russian flag, but two tales of the flag’s beginnings remain the most prevalent.  According to one legend, a Dutch sailor was sailing a Russian ship and was unsure what flag to sail on the boat.  He asked the Boyar Duma, a council that advised Russia’s princes and tsars in the seventeenth century, what his ships flag should look like.  This issue had never arisen before, and the Boyar Duma asked the sailor for his opinion. The Netherlands had already adopted its flag—a horizontal tricolor with a red stripe on the top, white in the middle, and blue on the bottom—and the sailor brought red, white, and blue fabric on to the ship. He designed another tricolor, similar to the flag of the Netherlands, but with a different arrangement of the stripes.

The second tale claims that Tsar Peter the Great visited Archangel, a city in northeastern Russia, several times in 1693 and 1964 to study European shipbuilding.  The tsar ordered a Dutch-built ship in 1693, and when it was finished, it had a Dutch flag flying from the back. In need of a Russian naval flag, the tsar changed the arrangement of the stripes on the Dutch flag to create a Russian banner.

Both tales of the flag’s origin support the Dutch flag’s influence on the Russian flag. Red, white, and blue colors can also be found on the Grand Duchy of Moscow’s coat of arms, which depicts St. George wearing white armor with a blue cape, riding a white horse, and holding a blue shield in front of a red background.

As with the origins of the Russian flag, there are several interpretations of the meaning of the colors of the Russian flag. One theory holds that the colors of the Russian flag represent the Russian monarchical social system in which the white represents God, the blue represents the Tsar, and the red represents the peasants.  Another interpretation argues that the colors represent the three main geographical regions of Russia: the white represents Belarus or White Russia, the blue represents the Ukraine or Little Russia, and the red represents Great Russia.  Finally a third interpretation argues that the white stands for hope for the future, the blue stands for the present, and the red stands for the bloodshed in Russia’s past.

Flag of Canada

The flag of Canada was adopted on February 15, 1965. It is a rectangular flag with two vertical red stripes on the left and right sides.  The center section of the flag is white with a red 11-pointed maple leaf in the center.  The flag is known in Canada as the “Maple Leaf” or l’Unifolié (“the one-leafed”).

The story of the Canadian flag’s development is a colorful one and dates back to the Age of Exploration.  Both the British and the French settled in Canada in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.  When John Cabot arrived in Newfoundland in 1497, he flew the St. George’s Cross, a white flag with a red cross that was is used in England.  When Jacques Cartier arrived in Gaspé in 1534, he flew a red flag with a white cross, the reverse image of the St. George’s Cross that, at the time, was France’s national flag.

When the British settled in Nova Scotia in 1621, the Royal Union Flag, the current United Kingdom flag that contains St. George’s, St. Andrew’s, and St. Patrick’s crosses, was introduced into Canadian colonies.  Once New France came under British control in the mid-eighteenth century, the Union Flag served as the official Canadian flag until the current flag’s adoption in 1965.

This did not stop Canadians from advocating for a distinctively Canadian flag, however.  Many versions of a national banner were proposed before the Canadian flag’s official adoption.  The first flag proposed was called the “Flag of the Governor General of Canada” and contained a red background, the Union Flag in the upper left corner, and a shield in the center that combined the coats of arms of Canada’s four provinces: Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick.  As new provinces were added in the nineteenth century, their arms were added to this shield.  The British approved this flag, now called the “Canadian Red Ensign,” for use at sea, but not as the official Canadian flag.  In 1920, the Canadian coat of arms replaced the combined coat of arms on this flag.

During World War II, some efforts were made to design a new Canadian flag; however, debate regarding the presence of the Union Flag on the Canadian flag halted these efforts.  The real flag debate began in the 1960s with the help of future Canadian Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson.  He proposed a flag similar to the current flag, but with blue vertical stripes and three red maple leaves in the center.  Despite strong opposition more conservative Canadians, Pearson formed a committee to design a new flag, and the House of Commons, the Senate, and Queen Elizabeth II all approved the current Canadian flag design by 1965.

Flag of Bolivia

The flag of Bolivia was adopted in 1851. The civil flag consists of a rectangular shape with three horizontal stripes: the top stripe is red, the middle stripe is yellow, and the bottom stripe is green.  The state flag consists of the three-striped civil flag with the Bolivian coat of arms in the center.

Bolivia’s coat of arms features a central cartouche, an oblong-shaped scene, containing an alpaca, plains and mountains, a rising sun, and a tree and a wheat plant.  This scene represents Bolivia’s diverse landscape and its natural resources.  Behind and to either side of the cartouche are three Bolivian flags, two muskets, and laurel branches.  An Andean condor rests on top of the cartouche.  The laurel branches represent peace and the condor represents the Bolivian people’s willingness to defend their nation.  A close look at this coat of arms reveals a Phrygian hood on top of the left musket and an axe on top of the right musket.  These are traditional symbols of liberty and freedom.

The colors of the Bolivian flag have several meanings.  According to some sources, the red stands for the bloodshed during Bolivia’s quest for independence, the yellow stands for Bolivia’s natural resources, and the green stands for Bolivia’s fertile land.

Bolivia also includes the Wiphala flags among its national symbols. These flags represent the Incans that are indigenous to Bolivia. The Wiphala is a square checkered flag with yellow, orange, red, purple, blue, green, and white patchwork squares in several different diagonal patterns. The designs are seven squares across and seven squares down and their specific patterns represent individual suyus, or Incan regions.  The colors also have significance: red stands for the earth and for man, orange for society and culture, yellow for energy, white for time, green for nature, blue for the heavens, and purple for government and self-determination.

World Flag Patches

Wear your pride on your sleeve—or on your book bag—with the U.S. Flag Store’s beautiful World Flag Patches! The U.S. Flag Store carries a huge selection of the world’s most popular country patches. All patches are made of the highest quality materials, intricately designed, and are available in shield and rectangular shapes.  These patches are embroidered by machine to enable for exact replication of the tiny details found on many country’s flags.  All world flag patches have a vinyl backing, allowing them to be stitched or ironed on to clothing.  Shield-shaped patches approximately are 3” x 2.5” and rectangular patches are 3.5” by 2.25”.  Most patches are available at a low price of $2.49 each, but discounts are available for purchasing quantities of ten or more.  Order your favorite patches today!

Among the best selling World Flag Patches is the American Flag Patch Standard.  Intricately embroidered with all thirteen stripes and fifty stars, the patch also includes a gold trim border.  Discounts are available for purchasing five or more American Flag patches, so order some for your friends and family today!

Other rectangular patches, particularly those that have include the country’s seal, are very intricately embroidered.  The beautifully detailed seals on Austria’s country patch, or Mexico’s patch, are great examples of the high-quality patches available from the U.S. Flag Store.

Although the shield-shaped patches are not necessarily flag shaped, they display the country’s name at the top of the patch with the flag below it.  The United Kingdom patch or the Canadian patch, for example, are particularly elegant.

The world flag patches shown on the U.S. Flag Store web page represent the countries that the Flag Store carries in its inventory; however, many other countries and all of the U.S. state patches are available through special order at low prices.  For details, contact the U.S Flag Store by calling 1-877-734-2458 or emailing sales@onlinestores.com.

Flag of Uruguay

The flag of Uruguay first adopted on December 16, 1828. The flag consists of a white rectangular background with blue horizontal stripes and a sixteen-ray “Sun of May” in the upper left corner.

The elements of the flag of Uruguay have historical and political significance. Joaquín Suárez de Rondelo, who was the Head of State of Uruguay in 1828, designed the flag. The flag adopted in 1828 and had seventeen stripes until July 11, 1830, when a new version of the flag was adopted with only nine stripes. The nine stripes represent the nine counties existing at the time Uruguay became an independent nation.

The “Sun of May,” has been a national emblem of Uruguay since the nineteenth century.  It was an important political symbol during the May Revolution, a series of events occurring between May 18 and May 25, 1810 that ultimately resulted in the overthrow of Viceroy Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros, the Spanish ruler who was governing Argentina and Uruguay.  The May Revolution established a local government in Argentina, and began Argentina’s battle for independence. In addition to the symbol’s use during the May Revolution and on the Argentine and Uruguayan flags, the symbol was also used on the first Argentine coins.

Uruguay has two other national flags in addition to the national banner. The Flag of Artigas pays homage to José Gervasio Artigas, the Uruguayan “father of independence.”  The Flag of Artigas is rectangular two blue horizontal stripes, one across the top and one across the bottom, and a white stripe in the center.  There is a red diagonal stripe crossing the flag from the upper left corner to the bottom right corner. The Flag of Treinta y Tres celebrates the founding of Uruguay following its victory over a Brazilian revolutionary group. The Flag of Treinta y Tres is similar to the Flag of Artigas: it consists of a horizontal flag with three stripes, a blue stripe on the top, a white stripe in the center, and a red stripe along the bottom.  In the center of the white stripe, the flag reads: Libertad o Muerte (liberty or death).

Flag of Comoros

The flag of Comoros was designed in 2001 and adopted on January 7, 2002.  The flag consists of a green triangle on the left side of the flag. Inside the green triangle is a white crescent and four white stars.  The remainder of the flag consists of four stripes, one each in yellow, white, red, and blue.

Comoros is officially referred to as the Union of Comoros and consists of four main islands: Grande Comore, Mohéli, Anjouan, and Mayotte.  The archipelago is located off the eastern coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean between Mozambique and Madagascar.  Each of the stripes on the flag represents the main color of the flag for one of these islands.  The blue stands for the flag of Grande Comore, the red for the flag of Anjoun, and yellow for the flag of Mohéli.  The white stands for Mayotte, which is actually administered by France.

The green area, white crescent, and white stars have been used in every former flag of Comoros.  With the exception of the Comoros state flag used from 1976 until 1978 during the Ali Soilih Regime, all flags of Comoros have consisted of a simple green rectangle with the white crescent and stars.  The only variations in the flag have been in the orientation of the crescent and stars.  This motif represents Islam, the archipelago nation’s most prominent religion.  The crescent and stars also served as an important motif from 1975 through 2002, during which Comoros sought independence from France.

Today, the islands of Comoros are still troubled, experiencing more than twenty coups or attempted coups in the last eight years in addition to presidential assassinations and other forms of political unrest.  Mayotte is still administered by France, and Anjouan and Mohéli occasionally express desire to secede from Comoros and re-attach to France.  The nation also experiences extreme poverty: approximately half of its citizens earn less than $1.25 per day.

Flag of Antigua and Barbuda

The flag of Antigua and Barbuda was adopted on February 27, 1967 when Antigua became independent of the British-governed West Indies. The flag features two red isosceles triangles that form a “V” shape.  In the center of the V is a white triangle underneath a blue stripe.  Above the blue stripe is a layer of black with a rising sun in the center of the layer.

To develop a design for the flag, the Antiguan government held a competition in 1966, offering five hundred dollars and the national flag design to the winner.  Reginald Samuel, a high school art teacher, sculptor, and painter living in Antigua, won the competition for the flag design, and his drawing was chosen from over six hundred entries.  According to the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda, Samuel designed the flag in only a half an hour, meeting the deadline at the very last moment.  In 1966, the Antiguan government displayed Samuel’s design for the flag, along with the Antiguan national anthem, coat of arms, and slogan outside the country’s administration building.  This original exhibit is still viewable at the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda.

The design of the flag has great symbolic meaning.  The rising sun represents the dawn of a new era, one in which the islands of Antigua and Barbuda are free and independent.  The red represents the energy of the people of Antigua and Barbuda and also the blood shed by the country’s forefathers.  The “V” shape formed by the red sections also represents “Victory at last.”  The gold sun, the black stripe at the top of the flag, the blue in the middle, and the white at the bottom represent the sun, soil, ocean, and sand, respectively.  In more symbolic terms, the blue symbolizes hope and the black symbolizes the African heritage of the country’s citizens.

Until 1994, the sun on the flag of Antigua and Barbuda would often have up to twenty full points, as Reginald Samuel did not specify how many points the sun should have.  Antigua consists of six parishes and a “sister” island, Barbuda; and as of 1994, the rising sun was required to contain seven full points, one for each of the parishes and one for Barbuda.

Flag Patches – From America to Armenia

If for some reason you’re unable to fly a flag, flag patches are another great way of throwing your support behind a country. The U.S. Flag Store sells more flag patches than anyone else in the world today. We offer over 70 flag patches from such countries as Bolivia, Vietnam, India, Ireland and, of course, the good old United States of America, so no matter where you’re from, we’ve got the flag patch you’re looking for.

Putting one of our embroidered flag patches on your backpack, computer bag or coat is a great way of letting everyone know where your allegiance lies. And the flag patch doesn’t necessarily have to be from the United States. Did your family come here from the old country years ago? Why not show everyone that you embrace your European roots by using an Italian or Irish flag patch? Maybe it was Germany that your folks came from, or perhaps Poland? Wherever they came from, you’ll find any and all the flag patches you could ever need at the U.S. Flag Store.

As we all know, many of the people living in the U.S. these days are of Mexican decent. Mexico is truly one of the greatest countries on the face of the earth. Its people are kind, generous, and welcoming. Anyone that is lucky enough to say they’re Mexican should do themselves a favor and get a Mexican flag patch. Many people also come from other great places in Latin America such as El Salvador and Honduras. The U.S. Flag also has great flag patches from those countries.

The FIFA World Cup is also just around the corner. Support your team by picking up a few flag patches from the U.S. Flag Store. Flag patches are the perfect way to support your team throughout the entire tournament. I already have a patch on my coat, which is my way of the supporting the U.S. team. You should do the same. Don’t miss out!