September 1, 2014
Before there were icons and logos, there were flags. For centuries, people have been devising simple shapes and colours to symbolize complex ideas.
With hundreds of countries in the world, there are bound to be some oddly coincidental similarities among their flags. Here are some that I found.
There are many others that also have similarities, but this is because they share histories, ethnicities or religions. I haven’t included them.
Thailand and Costa Rica are on opposite sides of the world, yet their flags are the same — with reversed colours.
The flag of Poland is the reverse of Indonesia and Monaco, which are identical. Singapore is also the same except that it has a moon and stars.
The flags of Italy and Mexico are almost the same except Mexico has a decoration in the middle. Ireland is also close except that it ends with orange instead of red. Côte d’Ivoire is the reverse of Ireland.
India and Niger have close to the same colours with a round object in the middle. Hungary is also close, but with a plain centre.
The flags of Romania and Chad are the same. Andorra is also the same except it has an emblem in the middle. Belgium is close — starting with black, instead of blue.
Netherlands and Paraguay are close to the same, with the addition of an emblem for Paraguay.
Ghana and Bolivia have the same colour combination but different embellishments.
Austria and Latvia are red with a horizontal white stripe in the middle. Lebanon is similar but also has a cedar in the middle.
Bangladesh, Japan, Laos, Palau and Greenland all have a big dot.
Somalia, Vietnam and Morocco have a big star on a one-colour background.
Three flags use maps of their territory: Cyprus, Kosovo and Antarctica.
Bhutan and Wales both have dragons.
Basque Country and the United Kingdom have crosses on top of each other.
Malaysia and the United States both have a blue canton and stripes.
And finally we have Nigeria in west Africa and Norfolk Island — a territory of Australia in the direction of New Zealand — with nothing in common except, you guessed it, their flags. That’s an evergreen that distinguishes the Norfolk Island flag.
Credit: Flag icons from GoSquared.