What does a flag represent?

Posted: November 30, 2009 in Miscellaneous
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Why do countries have flags? Are they a requirement? What do they mean? What do the colours and symbols stand for?

The Year 8 are currently analysing the Union flag or Union Jack as it is more popularly known. It represents four different countries and has had several design changes in its 300 year history. England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales make up the countries which form the United Kingdom and the Union Jack represents this state. They each have different reasons for wanting to form an alliance or become part of a larger state. You can find out yourself via the Year 8 links but this post is about the bigger picture. A modern flag is pictured below. Do you recognise it and what do you think it stands for?

Is it an important flag? Do you recognise those below and how do they compare with others?

Each of the flags above are important but do you know why. The Year 8 students are currently researching their own flags. They will hopefully find out new things about their own country. Their work will be put on display so students can learn off one another.

What is the purpose of a flag? Here are some answers from around the world…

Flags have been used in one form or another for more than 4,000 years. They were used as a means of communication, initially for military purposes and then for identifying signals at sea. They evolved to represent royal houses, then countries and other levels of government, businesses, military ranks and units, sports teams, and political parties.   NEW ZEALAND

The flag is a symbol of the nation. It represents the purpose and resolve of the nation and was first expressed by our Founding Fathers who founded the new nation. The flag represents the history and future of our country. USA

The Australian National Flag identifies a free and democratic people in a nation united in purpose. Our national flag belongs equally to all Australians whatever their origins. Each of the symbols on the flag has a special meaning for Australians. The stars of the Southern Cross represent our geographic position in the Southern Hemisphere; the Commonwealth star stands for our federation of States and Territories; the Crosses represent the principles on which our nation is based, namely, parliamentary democracy, rule of law and freedom of speech. AUSTRALIA

How long have countries had their own flags? The oldest flag we have today is the Danish one above. Throughout history flags have represented people, groups or organisations. Read the following article to gain a better idea of the history.

A brief history of flags

How to draw the Union Jack?


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