The Top 5 Strangest World Flags

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A national flag is more than just a piece of fabric hanging off a flagpole; it’s the symbolic representation of the nation’s character itself. A flag reflects the pride and spirit of the nation that it represents, and its design is inspired by the history, culture and people who make up the nation over which it hangs. And usually flags are rectangular, which is also worth noting. Keeping all those points in mind, let’s take a look at a few national flags that make you wonder if their creators were partaking in the favored national drink while working out their designs.

5 The Flags of Switzerland and Vatican City

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These two nations share more than just guardsmen taking care of the Pope, they also fly the only two official state flags that are perfect square shapes. The Swiss flag is a red square featuring a prominent white cross, while Vatican City flies under a square made up of one vertical yellow stripe and one white stripe, the latter featuring a fancy coat of arms with gold and silver keys, a bejeweled crown and such. If you need to draw one of these two flags in short order, choose Switzerland’s.

4 The Flag of Bhutan

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The national flag of Bhutan is not so much strange as it is awesome. Their flag consists of two right triangles, the hypotenuses of which bisect the rectangular shape they together form. One of the triangles is yellow, the other a reddish-orange. And in between these two colorful triangles is a crazy-looking dragon clutching a huge jewel in each of his claws. Oh, and this is no ordinary dragon, it’s a Thunder Dragon.

3 The (Former) Flag of Libya

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If the simplest answer is usually the best, then we suppose no one can argue that the flag Libya flew between 1977 and 2011 was too simple. Hey, they could have gone without any color at all, right? In the late ‘70s, about a decade into his “leadership” of the nation, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi opted for a large green rectangle as the symbol of Libya. It came as little surprise to anyone that as Gaddafi’s power waned during that whole Libyan Civil War thing, the all-green flag he had imposed on his people quickly fell out of use.

2 The Flag of Nepal

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Oh Nepal, you had to go and make things complicated, didn’t you? You just had to have the only national flag that’s not in a quadrilateral shape. Instead of the standard rectangle, Nepal’s flag consist of two triangles stacked on top of each other. And the triangles aren’t even the same size, for crying out loud! This single, two-triangle flag was adopted in place of the double pennants Nepal used to fly, and we suppose it’s simpler to have your national flag be a single piece of fabric, if not a simple piece of fabric.

1 The Flag of Mozambique

Image Credit: Crwflags.com

The official flag of Mozambique consists of five horizontal stripes in three different colors and one red triangle set to the left side of the rectangle. On this triangle are featured images of an open book, a hoe and an AK-47 assault rifle complete with an attached bayonet. Yeah, that’s the one that gives us pause. The constitution of Mozambique touches on the symbolism of its flag’s graphics, and the gun is meant to refer to defense, but we think the decade-and-a-half-long civil war the country suffered in the late 20th century might have influenced the designers some too.

Steven John is a published novelist and competitive pole vault champion. (The latter is not true.) His writing runs the gamut from speculative fiction to essays fueled by a mix of mirth and derision. He has never been to Lisbon but, statistically speaking, is probably taller than you.

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