National flag

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{country, population, people}
{style, bgcolor, rowspan}
{@card@, make, design}
{language, word, form}
{black, white, people}
{war, force, army}
{service, military, aircraft}
{build, building, house}
{line, north, south}
{ship, engine, design}
{school, student, university}
{system, computer, user}

A national flag is a flag that symbolizes a country. The flag is flown by the government, but usually can be flown by citizens of that country as well.

Both public and private buildings such as schools and courthouses often fly the national flag. In some countries, the national flags are only flown from non-military buildings on certain flag days.

There are three distinct types of national flag for use on land, and three for use at sea, although many countries use identical designs for several (and sometimes all) of these types of flag.

Contents

History

Historically, flags originate as military standards, used as field signs. The practice of flying flags indicating the country of origin outside of the context of warfare emerges with the maritime flag, introduced during the age of sail, in the early 17th century. It was only with the emergence of nationalist sentiment from the late 18th century that the desire was felt to display national flags also in civilian contexts.[1]

The earliest national flags adopted for display of patriotism in a civilian context were those flown in the Republicanist American and French revolutions in the late 18th century. The oldest national flags that remain in use are thus the Flag of the United States (in the original 13-star version adopted in 1777), the French tricolour (adopted 1794), followed by the British Union flag (adopted 1801, based on a design of 1606, in turn based on the 16th-century flags of England and Scotland).

Most countries of Europe adopted a national flag in the course of the 19th and early 20th century, often based on older (medieval) war flags. For example, the flag of Denmark was introduced in 1854, based on a 17th century design. The flag of Switzerland was introduced in 1889, also based on medieval war flags. The Netherlands introduced two national flags in 1813 (either an orange-white-blue or a red-white-blue tricolour; the final decision in favour of red was made in 1937). The non-European powers followed the trend in the late 19th century, the flag of Japan being introduced in 1870, that of Qing China in 1890. Also in the 19th century, most countries of South America introduced a flag as they became independent (Peru 1820, Bolivia 1851, Colombia 1860, Brazil 1822, etc.)

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