Flags of Europe - The Origin of European Flag Designs
There are many different European flags, but all of them are united by their shared heritage. Most of the designs originated as the personal heraldry of feudal kings and their vassals, but a few of the flags of European countries were designed specifically to distance themselves and their nations from that tradition. Most of those flags originated among revolutionary movements, which created a second tradition that led to similarities among the flags of Europe.
Flags of Kings and Rebels
The flags that began as the personal symbols of kings show a great deal of variety. Most of them have histories that can be traced back for hundreds of years. Some of the oldest of these flags are those of the Scandinavian nations, which are characterized by a cross on a solid field of another color. The similarities between those flags is a reflection of the heritage and history that the nations share. Many other flags, such as that of the
are much more recent designs that still include symbols that come from medieval flags.
The flags of Europe that are not derived from medieval designs most often consist of three stripes of different colors. The most famous of these flags is that of France, which served as the inspiration for the flags of many revolutionary movements in Europe. The later revolutionary flags were often created by altering the
by adopting colors that were associated with the traditional culture of other nations in Europe. Some of those traditional colors are derived from feudal heraldry, so even the flags that were designed to emphasize the ideals of a revolutionary movement often have a link to Europe's medieval past.
There are many flags of European countries, but Europe itself also has flags of its own. Many Pan-European organizations use unique flags to represent themselves. The most famous of these flags is the flag of the
but many other small organizations also have their own flags. These European flags tend to be much younger than the other flags of Europe, and their designs are usually intended to represent the organization's role in Europe rather than to reflect any regional or national heritage.
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