World Flags

By: Nawaz

They can be used to signify civilizations, ideas, groups, and nations. Flags were not used to symbolize a nation until the eighteenth century. Today, every nation has their own flag, each rich with symbolism. This symbolism often only means something to the inhabitants of that nation. The stars and stripes, the national flag of the United states of America reached its current form in 1960 when Hawaii joined the USA. The flag was conceived in 1777 and since then has seen various transformations. The stripes symbolize the first 13 states that made up the USA and each state is represented by a star, thus showing 50 stars on the flag. This symbolizes the unity of all states. Great Britain's flag is also called the Union Jack. It has been the official flag since 1801. The flag symbolizes the three different countries that are united; England, Scotland, and Ireland. Today it only represents Northern Ireland, as the rest of Ireland became its own state in 1920.

The Union Jack is a familiar symbol and is used on many other flags such as Australia. The flag of Canada is a red maple leaf flanked by stripes of red. This flag design was officially adopted in 1965, although the maple leaf was a Canadian symbol for many years before that. The two stripes are said to represent the Pacific and Atlantic oceans which flank the country. The flag of Barbados is an interesting one. It is represented by two stripes of blue on either side which represent the ocean and the sky, and the center which is yellow represents Barbados' beaches. The interesting part is the trident in the center, which represents Neptune. The trident is broken, which symbolizes Barbados' split from Britain in 1966 when the flag was made official. The Israeli flag has blue and white stripes. They are the same color used in Jewish prayer shawls. The Star of David takes up the center, another familiar Jewish religious symbol. Their flag became official in 1948. Flags all over the world express their values through symbolism and sometimes religion. Often they carry religious sayings or symbols that tell the world about their countries. As territories change hands throughout the world, or two nations become oneFeature Articles, new flags are designed. Two of the most recent and recognizable are the flags representing the United Nations and the European Union. People love their national flags and are proud of what they express. The flag tells who the people are and what they value. Flags have proudly flown for thousands of years and will continue to fly throughout the world forever.

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