Flags of North America
The nations of North America are separated from each other by significant cultural differences, but they also have a great deal of shared history and heritage. The flags of North America reflect that duality. Each of the flags has a unique design, and they could never be mistaken for each other, but they also have a few shared elements and there are distinct similarities in their histories.
The nations of North America began as colonies, and the history of North America flags likewise begins during the colonial period. The earliest flags were carried by the explorers who established the first colonies and mapped the territories, but those flags eventually gave way to other, more specific flags. The Union Jack represented both the colonies that would become the United States and those that would become Canada during the colonial period, although many of those colonies developed unofficial flags of their own before they gained independence. Mexico flew the flag of the Spanish Empire rather than that of Britain, but it also developed unofficial flags before it gained complete independence from Spain. These early flags of North America fell out of use when the colonies began to work towards independence, but they started the vexillological traditions of North America.
The nations of North America adopted new flags during and after their transition to independence, but they did not go about it in the same way. The United States of America adopted the earliest form of the American flag slightly less than a year after the Declaration of Independence, and the American soldiers went on to carry that flag into battle. The flag's design changed to represent the states that joined the nation in later years, but the fundamental pattern remained the same. Mexico also adopted a variety of flags during the revolution, but it changed the design several times before settling on the fundamental pattern that guided most of its flags. Canada's succession from the British Empire was peaceful, but it still adopted a flag of its own during the early stages of the process. The flag's design shares the stability that is the hallmark of North America flags and has changed very little since it was authorized by the Canadian government.