How Much Of A Flag Nerd Are You?

By: Jacqueline Samaroo
Image: Wiki Commons by Marc Mongenet

About This Quiz

Wave your flag! Here's your chance to proudly display your knowledge of flags taken from every corner of the globe!

The term "vexillology" for the scientific study of flags was coined as recently as the 1950s, but flags have been an integral part of human culture from the beginning of history. While some countries have seen fit to change their flags over the course of time, there is one country which has stuck with the same flag since the 13th century. Got any idea which country it is? Check out the quiz for the answer!

Depictions of the Sun, Moon, and stars are fairly common among the flags of the world. In fact, several national flags feature a crescent moon plus a single star or multiple stars. We're pretty sure you know a few of them but can you pinpoint the two countries whose flags feature the Sun on a solid background and nothing else!

The colors used on flags tend to carry significant meaning and you will find that some colors get used much more often than others. Take the colors red, white and blue for instance. Only one country's flag does not bear any of those three colors. Do you know which one it is? Yeah, mon - we know you do!

Many national flags have interesting facts associated with them - from how they were chosen to how they compare to the flags of other nations. We'll share many of these juicy tidbits with you for each flag you'll come across in the quiz.

Whether you're a professional or amateur vexillologist, these 50 unique national flags should be easy for you to identify with their countries. Show off your true colors by taking the quiz right now!

Italy’s vertical triband of green, white and red has been in use by the country since 1946. Its design is thought to be inspired by the famous French flag which has a band of blue instead of green.

A long shared history explains the similarities in the flags of Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela. All three bear the same arrangement of colors (yellow, blue and red) in a horizontal triband. For Ecuador and Colombia, the yellow occupies half the flag, plus Ecuador’s flag bears its coat of arms in the center while Venezuela’s has an arc of eight stars.

The maple leaf which is represented in the center of the Canadian flag has been a symbol of the country since the 18th century. The stylized leaf is drawn so that the entire flag is symmetrical on either side of its vertical centerline.

The Brazilian flag shows an accurate depiction of stars above Rio de Janeiro on November 15, 1889 – the day the nation became a republic. The Southern Cross constellation is shown almost at the center. The number of stars represented on the flag has changed from 21 to 22, 23 and finally, 27, each star corresponding to a Brazilian state.

The cross on Sweden’s flag is known as the Nordic or Scandinavian Cross. The cross is shifty slightly off-center and is meant to represent Christianity. Other countries with the Nordic cross in their flags are Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Denmark.

The 24-spoke wheel in the center of India’s flag represents the “eternal wheel of law.” In the past, the symbol used in the flag’s center was a traditional spinning wheel said to symbolize Mahatma Gandhi’s desire for India to become a self-sufficient nation.

The flags of both the Netherlands and Luxembourg have the same order of red, white and blue horizontal stripes. Their differences lie in the fact that Luxembourg’s flag is longer and its blue stripe is a lighter shade.

When it was adopted in 1994, the colorful South African flag held the distinction of being the only national flag to prominently feature six colors (without an added design, such as a coat of arms). At the time, it was meant to be just an interim flag but its popularity led to it being chosen as the permanent national flag.

If you want to know whether or not the Philippines currently happen to be at war, just take a look at its flag. By law, the Filipino flag is flown with the blue stripe up in times of peace but in times of war the flag is inverted with the red stripe on top.

The French vertical triband of blue, white and red is one of the most well-known and inspirational flags in the world. In fact, it is often simply referred to The Tricolor. Not many people know, however, that from 1815 to 1830, a period known as the Bourbon Restoration, the country used a plain white flag.

Thailand’s flag of five bands in three colors is officially named the “Tricolor Flag.” The term “tricolor” refers to any flag which incorporates only three colors in its design. However, it is most often used in reference to flags with three separate bands of different color (whether vertical, horizontal or diagonal).

It is generally accepted that the colors blue and white on the Greek flag represent the beauty of the sky and sea. Why there are nine of them, however, has been a subject of debate. Some researchers say they represent the nine letters in the word “freedom” from the country’s motto “freedom or death.”

The design of Somalia’s flag pays tribute to the role of the United Nations (UN) in the formation of the country as an independent nation. Both flags use the same shade of solid blue as a background but Somalia’s replaces the UN’s symbol with a 5-pointed star.

Varying depictions of the Sun may be found on many national flags. The Sun symbol shown on the flags of Argentina and Uruguay, however, has a special name: the “Sun of May.” It has a human face with alternating straight and wavy rays radiating from it – 32 rays for Argentina and 16 for Uruguay.

The Danish national flag holds the distinction of being the oldest continuously used flag of any country. It was adopted in 1219 during the reign of King Valdemar II of Denmark.

Since it was first adopted, there have been 27 versions of the flag of the United States. The current design is credited to Robert G. Heft, who, in 1958 at the age of 17, came up with the design for a high school class project. He initially got a B-minus which his teacher changed to an A after the design was accepted as the national flag.

The figure of a bird on the flag of Zimbabwe is very symbolic of the country’s history. Known as the Zimbabwe Bird, it is a design based on the many soapstone sculptures found in the flourishing medieval city of Great Zimbabwe (11th – 15th century).

The writing on the flag of Saudi Arabia is the shahada or the Islamic declaration of faith. The flags are manufactured so that the writing is shown in the correct order on both sides. The flag of Afghanistan also bears the shahada.

The bicolor pattern and the colors red and white are very popular when it comes to flag design. In fact, Indonesia and Monaco have almost identical red and white horizontal bicolor flags (the proportions are slightly different). Poland’s flag has the two colors inverted while Singapore’s flag has a crescent and stars in the upper red band.

The design in the center of the Kenyan flag shows two spears crossed behind the traditional red, white, and black shield of the Massai people. The symbol is meant to represent defense of all the values the country holds dear.

The current design of the Spanish flag is more or less the same as it was when selected by King Charles III in 1785 to be the country’s official flag. It is said he choose this flag from among the 12 options which were submitted because he wanted to ensure that Spain’s flag would stand out from those of other countries.

The basic design of the Guyanese flag came from noted vexillologist Whitney Smith. It was Smith who coined the term “vexillology,” meaning “the study of flags.”

Before their unification in 1990, both East Germany and West Germany had black, red and gold horizontal triband flags. The difference was that East Germany’s flag contained the country’s emblem in its center. The unified Germany adopted the West German version of the flag.

Many countries use stars as symbols on their flags and nine of those flags feature a single five-pointed star in the center. Vietnam and Somalia, however, are the only two to show the star on a solid background – red for Vietnam and blue for Somalia.

During talks for a truce in the war between North Korea and South Korea, it is reported that delegations from both countries tried to outdo each other in terms of the size of their flags. They had to put a stop to it, however, when the flags got too big to fit inside the tent in which meetings were held.

Jamaica’s flag holds the distinction of being the only one without the colors red, white or blue. Up until recently, Libya had a solid green flag and Mauritania’s flag was green with a yellow crescent moon and star. Both countries have since changed their flags to now include red. Libya’s contains a white crescent moon and star.

Like many former British colonies, Australia retains the Union Jack as a part of its national flag. Also, like many countries in the Southern Hemisphere, Australia’s flag shows a representation of the Southern Cross constellation. For these two reasons, the flag of Australia is very similar to that of New Zealand.

The flag of Ethiopia features the country’s emblem in the center. This particular design of the flag was adopted in 1996 with the emblem representing unity and nationality.

The official name of the flag of the United Kingdom is “Union Jack” or the “Union Flag.” There is, however, a misconception that the term “Union Jack” should only be used when the flag is flown from the bow of a warship.

Many national flags feature a circle and in many instances, the circle is in the center. In the case of both Bangladesh and Japan, their flags simply show a circle against a solid background – red circle on white for Japan and a slightly off-center red circle on green for Bangladesh.

Nigeria’s flag is described as a vertical bicolor triband. It is the only national flag of its kind – a vertical bicolor triband without any accompanying symbol (such as the maple leaf in the center of Canada’s flag).

During the 1936 Summer Olympic Games in Berlin, the teams of Haiti and Lichtenstein received quite a surprise – their flags were identical! No one had noticed it before this, but by the following year, Lichtenstein added a crown to the top (blue) band of its flag. The Haitian flag has also changed and now bears the country's coat of arms in its center.

A host of countries and regions use red, white and blue tricolor flags. In the case of Chile, its flag is very similar to the Lone Star Flag of Texas, in which the blue band containing the star extends from top to bottom. It is also quite similar to Cuba’s first flag in which the blue and red are interchanged.

Turkey’s national flag is one of several to feature a crescent moon and a single star. Others are Algeria, Tunisia, Mauritania, Pakistan, Libya, Azerbaijan and Malaysia. A few other countries have flags with a crescent and multiple stars.

Quite a few countries have held design competitions in order to select a national flag. This was the case in The Bahamas when, just prior to its independence from the United Kingdom in 1973, a committee combined elements of designs submitted in a national competition to come up with the country’s national flag.

It’s always easy to spot the flag of Nepal – it’s the only national flag which isn’t a quadrilateral (four-sided shape). The Nepalese flag is actual two pennants combined to form an irregular pentagon (five-sided shape).

Belize’s flag holds the distinction of being the only national flag to prominently feature human beings. The flag of the Republic of Malta bears a small image of Saint George within a cross in one corner of the flag.

The Irish tricolor with its vertical bands of green, white, and orange is very similar to the flag of Cote d’Ivoire. The difference is that the Ivoirian colors are reversed: orange, white and green.

Belgium and Germany have flags that are somewhat similar. Whereas Belgium’s flag is a black, yellow, and red vertical triband, Germany’s is a black, red and yellow horizontal triband.

The structure depicted in the middle band of Cambodia’s flag is the main building of the ancient Angkor Wat temple complex. Angkor was the capital of the Khmer Empire (now Cambodia) during what was considered to be the country’s classical era (9th to 15h century). Pakistan has the only other national flag with a building depicted on it.

Trinidad’s flag is not the only one to feature a fimbriated diagonal stripe (that is, a stripe with a narrow border). The flags of Namibia and Tanzania have a similar style. What sets T&T’s flag apart, however, is the positioning of the stripes with respect to the corners of the flag.

While Chadians hold their flag in the highest esteem, it is by no means unique. In fact, it is almost identical to the flag of Romania, with the Chadian flag having a slightly darker shade of blue. Both Andorra and Moldova also have blue, yellow and red vertical triband flags but theirs bear each country’s coat of arms in the yellow band.

From 1977 to 2011, the Libyan flag held the distinction of being the only national flag made up of just one solid color – green. The current flag is the one used since 1951 and which the all-green flag had temporarily replaced.

The Sun features prominently in Japanese traditions and folklore, which explains the stylized Sun featured in the center of Japan’s flag. In addition, Japan is known as “Land of the Rising Sun” and legends say that the country was founded by the Sun goddess, Amaterasu, in the 7th century BCE.

Paraguay has the only two-sided national flag. One side (the obverse) shows the National Coat of Arms. The other side (the reverse), has the Seal of the Treasury.

The national flag of Mozambique is the only one in the world to feature an assault rifle – an AK-47. The weapon is said to represent defense and vigilance. The flag of Guatemala is the only other one to feature firearms – a pair of old-fashioned rifles.

China’s flag features five five-pointed stars which is in keeping with the significance of the number 5 in Chinese tradition. For instance, 5 symbolizes the four cardinal points with China at the center.

While most countries choose a rectangle as the shape of their national flag, Switzerland’s flag is a square. Vatican City is the only other country with a square flag.

The six-pointed Star of David (a.k.a. Shield of David or Magen David) is depicted in the center of the Israeli flag. In 2007, a 5-ton Israeli flag took the world record for largest flag ever made.

The flag of Turkmenistan definitely has one of the most intricate designs of any national flag. The design in the stripe is actually five rug motifs, each representing a different Turkmen tribe.

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