Unusual flags of the world

Most people can identify the national flags of the U.S., Great Britain and the Soviet Union. But hardly anyone can describe the unusual banners of the following countries:

Nauru's flag (wikipedia.org)NAURU

What does Nauru’s flag look like? The first response should be, “Where’s Nauru?” The answer to that gives a tiny clue to the flag’s design.

An island speck in the South Pacific, Nauru – the world’s smallest republic – sounds like a lovely spot. Actually, its reality is grim. The BBC News in England cites “allegations of human rights abuses and overcrowding.” Asylum seekers headed for Australia are pointed northeast toward Nauru and then abandoned.

Next year, the isle will mark the 50th anniversary of its flag which consists of a blue field and a yellow stripe running horizontally across the middle, standing for the Equator. Beneath the stripe – indicating that Naura is south of the Earth’s dividing line – rests a 12-pointed star to mark the dozen original tribes that occupied the island.

Paraguay's flag (wikipedia.org)PARAGUAY

Many flags have imitated America’s and France’s red, white and blue colors, and Paraguay is no exception. But the banner of the South American nation has a unique facet: It’s different on its two sides.

One side has three horizontal stripes. In the center of the white strip is a circle with the Star of May, marking the country’s independence day.

On its back, the flag sports the Treasury Seal, which features a cap of liberty (another French touch) and a lion. Above them runs a motto: “Peace and Justice.”

Mozambique's banner (wikipedia.org)MOZAMBIQUE

An unusual object makes up part of the busy design of this African nation. Its busy-ness includes the use of red, green, white, black and yellow, standing for, respectively, independence, fertile land, peace, Africa and mineral riches.

The banner also sports three objects, one of which is unexpected on a flag. The objects are a hoe to stand for agriculture, a book to salute education and – of all things – a rifle to represent defense. The trio rests on a yellow star, which stands for Marxism.

A 2005 contest to create a new flag without a rifle drew 169 entries, but the nation’s Parliament rejected any change.

Flag of GuatemalaGUATEMALA

If you think that Mozambique is the only country in the world with a rifle on it, think again and look at Guatemala’s vertical white and blue stripes. In the middle of the central white strip lie both a rifle and a sword that proclaim the nation’s defense of liberty.

Two extra images also appear on the cloth: a laurel wreath and a quetzal bird with its elongated tail. The quetzal symbolizes freedom.

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