Have you ever stopped to think about the flags of different countries? Some flags are colorful and intricate, while others are more minimalistic.
Regardless of the design and color, flags are an important part of a country’s identity. They often reflect the history, values, and cultural traditions of the people who live there. This article will explore some countries with bicolor flags and delve into the history and meaning behind these iconic symbols.
What Is a Bicolor Flag?
A bicolor flag is a flag that has two different colors arranged in a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal split. The colors of the flag generally embody some aspect of the country, organization, or group that the flag represents. There are 17 national bicolor flags in use worldwide, each with unique symbolism and meaning.
A bicolor flag is not simply a flag with two colors. Instead, it is better defined as a flag with two color bands that are close to or equal to in size.
For example, the Vietnamese flag has only two colors: a red background with a golden star. However, the flag of Vietnam is not a true bicolor flag. Red is the primary color of the flag, and the golden star is just an image on the background. This kind of flag is called a charged flag.
The flag of Malta has a simple yet distinctive design. It features two equal vertical bands of white on the left and red on the right. The hoist corner displays the George Cross, awarded to Malta by King George VI in 1942 in recognition of the country’s bravery during World War II. The colors of the Maltese flag are believed to have originated from the flag of the Knights of Malta, which had a white cross on a red background. In 1943, the George Cross was added to the Maltese flag on a blue canton. It remained there until Malta gained independence in 1964. At that point the Cross was amended to have a narrow red fringe instead of the blue canton.
As for the meaning behind the colors, the red symbolizes the sacrifices made by the Maltese people in defending their faith and independence. The white represents peace, love, light, and optimism.
The flag of Poland is a horizontal bicolor of white and red. It has been in use in its current form since the late 18th century. Also, similar designs have been used as national symbols in Poland for centuries. The national symbol of Poland is the white eagle on a red field. That has been a constant for over 700 years. It was originally used as a coat of arms in the 13th century. It has appeared in various forms throughout history. By the 18th century, white and red had become recognized as Poland’s national colors, and the country’s first true national flag was a horizontal bicolor with white on top of the red. The national flag was officially adopted in 1919, and since 2004, Poland has celebrated Flag Day on May 2.
It is said that the colors of the Polish flag represent freedom and purity in white, and red represents the blood of the martyrs who fought for the country’s independence. These colors hold significant meaning and are seen as symbols of the strength and resilience of the Polish people.
The flag of Indonesia flies over Indonesia’s 14,000 islands and is the national symbol for more than 275 million people. The horizontal bicolor flag is almost identical to Monaco’s flag but not as wide. The flag is also very similar to the flag of Poland but flipped. The Indonesian flag features a red stripe on its top half and a white stripe on the bottom half.
The flag of Indonesia was first introduced in 1945 during a protest against the Dutch colonists. In 1949, it became the national symbol when Indonesia declared its independence. Sukarno (the first president of Indonesia) stated the following about the flag’s symbolism, “Red is the symbol of courage. White is the symbol of purity.”
The flag of Haiti is a horizontal bicolor flag with a blue stripe on the top half and a red stripe on the bottom. On the center of the flag is the Haitian coat of arms, which shows weapon boxes sitting on a hill with a palm tree. The flag is the national symbol of the Republic of Haiti. Several versions of this flag have flown over Haiti since the nation gained independence in 1803. In some versions, the coat of arms is simply larger or not on the flag at all. During the Duvalier Dynasty, the flag was a vertical black and red bicolor, with the coat of arms in the middle.
The colors of the flag of Haiti are similar to the French flag without the white stripe of the French tricolor. During the Haitian Revolution, the Haitians removed the white stripe of the French flag so that the flag would represent the black and mixed-race Haitians. The coat of arms represents Haiti’s independence and national pride.
The flag of Bahrain is a national symbol of the Kingdom of Bahrain, a small island country situated in Western Asia. The national flag of Bahrain contains a white band on the left side, separated from the red section on the right side by five triangles. The red field on the flag is larger than the white. The five white triangles on the flag represent the five pillars of Islam, while the red portrays the beliefs of the Bahrain people.
Bahrain adopted its current flag on February 14, 2002. However, the flag’s design has a long history dating back to the 19th century. In 1932, the ruler of Bahrain, Sheikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, added the serrated white band to the center of the red band as a symbol of the country’s commitment to Islam. The addition of the serrated white band helped to distinguish the flag of Bahrain from other similar flags in the region, such as the flag of Qatar.
The national flag of the Principality of Monaco features two horizontal bands of equal size, one red at the top and one white at the bottom. It is believed that the colors of the Monaco flag represent positive human values, with red symbolizing the flesh of the human body and white representing purity in spiritual life.
These colors have been the heraldic colors of the House of Grimaldi since at least 1339. The current bicolor design was adopted on April 4, 1881, during the reign of Charles III. Another design, the banner of the state arms, has been used at various times, particularly in the 17th century, as an unofficial flag and appears in some royal photographs. However, it has no designated use and does not represent any specific Monegasque official.
The flag of Pakistan was adopted on August 11, 1947, just three days before it gained independence from British India. The flag features a green field with a white crescent and a five-pointed star in the center and a vertical white stripe on the left side. The green area represents the country’s majority Muslim population and its commitment to Islam, while the white crescent and star represent progress and enlightenment. The vertical white stripe represents the country’s minorities and their right to equality and protection. The crescent and star have a long history as symbols of Islam and are commonly associated with the religion.
The design was chosen by the All India Muslim League, a political party that played a key role in the creation of Pakistan. The party’s leader, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, is credited with choosing the green and white colors for the flag, which were inspired by the flag of the Ottoman Empire.
The flag of Angola is a horizontal bicolor of red and black, with a golden machete and a star in the center. The flag also contains half a gear wheel. This design has been in use since Angola gained independence from Portugal in 1975. Henrique Onambwé designed the Angolan flag, which was sewn on November 11, 1975. It is based on the flag of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), which fought against Portuguese colonial rule and later became Angola’s ruling party following the Angolan Civil War.
According to the Angolan Constitution, the red half of the flag reflects the bloodshed that occurred during Angola’s colonial history, the struggle for independence, and the defense of the country. Africa is represented by the black half. The central emblem includes a gear representing industrial workers and production, a machete representing peasantry, agricultural productivity, and armed struggle, and a star indicating international solidarity and advancement. The yellow color in the emblem represents the country’s wealth.
The flag of Singapore is a national symbol of the Republic of Singapore, a small island nation located in Southeast Asia. The flag features two horizontal bands of red and white, with a white crescent and five stars in the upper left corner. The current design of the flag of Singapore was officially adopted on December 3, 1959, when Singapore gained self-governance from Britain. The design was chosen by a committee of government officials and was based on the design of the flag of the People’s Action Party, which was the dominant political party in Singapore at the time.
The red and white bands represent equality and fraternity, while the crescent and stars represent the country’s multiracial and multicultural society. The five stars on the flag represent the country’s five main ethnic groups: Indian, Malay, Chinese, Eurasian, and Others. The flag of Singapore is also unusual in that it features a crescent, a rare design element in national flags. With its combination of colorful symbolism and bright canvas, the flag of Singapore stands for pride and identity across the world!
The national flag of Qatar is recognizable by its maroon color and white serrated stripe on the left side. The white represents peace, while the maroon shade pays tribute to the Kharijite Muslims who have a strong presence in Qatar and have played a role in the country’s military history. The flag has a width-to-height ratio of 11:28, making it the only national flag with a width larger than twice its height. This flag was formally adopted when Qatar gained independence from Britain on September 3, 1971.
In 1932, before Qatar’s independence, the British Navy proposed that it have its own flag. The initial design used a red background with nine dots to signify Qatar’s membership in the Trucial Coast Convention. On the other hand, Qatar chose a maroon tone and placed purplish red diamonds between each point, as well as the word Qatar in white on the maroon background. In 1960, Sheikh Ali bin Abdullah Al Thani, Qatar’s monarch at the time, made a minor adjustment to the flag, eliminating the word Qatar and the diamonds but preserving the white and purplish red colors and the serrated points. Since then, this design has served as Qatar’s current flag.
The flag of Ukraine is a simple but striking design. It consists of two equal horizontal bands with blue on top and yellow at the bottom. The current design of the Ukrainian flag was first adopted in 1848, during the country’s struggle for independence from the Russian Empire. It was used as the national flag of Ukraine again in 1917, following the Russian Revolution, but the Soviet government later banned it in 1949. The flag was revived in 1991, after the fall of the Soviet Union. It was officially adopted as the national flag of Ukraine the following year.
The blue and yellow colors symbolize the Ukrainian landscape, with yellow representing the golden fields of wheat prevalent in the country and blue representing the sky. In addition to its historical and cultural significance, the flag of Ukraine is also known for its simplicity and boldness.
Vatican City is the world’s smallest country by quite a large margin. It is less than a quarter square mile in area and only has a population of 453! This small nation serves as the independent seat of the Holy See and is ruled by the Pope. Vatican City became an independent nation in 1929 and adopted its official flag that same year. The flag of Vatican City is a white and yellow vertical bicolor with white on the right side and yellow on the left. On the white side of the flag is also an emblem of the Papal tiara and keys. The standard bicolor dates back to 1808, but the tiara and keys were added later in 1929.
The flag of Portugal is a vertical bicolor with a green stripe on the left and a red stripe on the right, with the red stripe slightly larger. In the center of the flag is the Portuguese coat of arms. Portugal has been a country for a long time, but surprisingly, the flag is relatively new. Several flags have flown over Portugal over its history; the current flag was adopted in 1911.
In 1910, Portugal’s constitutional monarchy was overthrown and replaced with a republic. This called for a need to replace the flag of the monarchy with a new national flag. The red portion of the flag represents the blood that was lost in the fight to make Portugal a republic. The green represents hope.
The flag of Algeria is a vertical bicolor with green on the left side and white on the right side. The Islamic crescent moon and star are also in the middle of the flag. The flag was first used in the 1930s as a symbol of independence as Algeria strived to gain its freedom from France. France colonized Algeria for over 100 years, and in the 1950s, a bloody revolution killed hundreds of thousands. In 1962, Algeria finally gained independence and flew the green and white flag over their nation.
The green side of the flag represents the Islam religion, while the white side of the flag represents peace. The red color of the crescent and star signifies the blood of those lost in the revolution against France.
Liechtenstein is a tiny country with a population of only around 38,000 between Austria and Switzerland. The flag of Liechtenstein is a horizontal bicolor with a blue stripe on the top and a red stripe on the bottom. The flag also has a golden crown located in the upper left corner. Liechtenstein is the 6th smallest country in the world. It has been independent since 1806, when it gained independence from the Holy Roman Empire.
The flag of Liechtenstein has been in use since 1764. However, it wasn’t until 1937 that the golden crown was added to the upper left corner. This change occurred because, during the 1936 Olympics, Liechtenstein realized that its flag colors were the same as Haiti’s. So, they added the crown to distinguish the 2 flags. The crown represents the unity of the Liechtenstein people and the prince, while the blue stands for the sky and the red for the late-night fires in people’s homes.
Bhutan is one of the few countries in Asia that was never colonized throughout its history. The nation’s strategic location in the Himalayas makes it very difficult to invade. This gives it the ability to close off from the rest of the world. The flag of Bhutan is a diagonal bicolor with yellow on top and orange on the bottom. A white dragon is in the center facing toward the right. This flag design was first created in 1949. However, initially, the dragon was facing the other direction. In 1969, the flag of Bhutan was modified and remains the flag of Bhutan to this day.
The yellow of the flag represents the authority of the Druk Gyalpo (the Bhutanese head of state). The orange represents the Buddhist religion and spirituality. The dragon represents the purity of the Bhutanese people and the wealth and security of the nation.
The Philippines is a nation comprising nearly 8,000 islands in the Pacific Ocean. The Phillippines were colonized for nearly 400 years, from 1565 to 1946. The Spanish colonized the Islands between 1565 and 1898, then the USA occupied the Philippines until 1946. The Phillippines finally gained its freedom in 1946 and has had sovereignty ever since.
The flag of the Phillippines is a horizontal bicolor flag with blue on top and red on the bottom. There is also a white triangle on the left side of the flag with a golden sun and stars. The flag of the Phillippines was first designed in 1898, during a brief independence period, and was reinstated as the official national flag after World War II when the Japanese and American occupation ended.
The white triangle represents liberty and equality, the blue stripe represents peace and justice, the red stripe represents pride in the nation, and the golden sun and stars symbolize democracy and sovereignty.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Tatohra/Shutterstock.com
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