The term “historical flags” is used to apply to those symbols now obsolete or no longer in use. As nations form and develop they create a symbol of their nationhood. If the country divides amicably, through war – civil or otherwise, or is absorbed by another nation, the older flag may disappear. This has been the case in several countries, many in modern times.
The face of Africa and Europe has altered over the centuries. Countries have sprung up throughout the African continent. In the islands, some nations have formed as they have formed as, no longer a colony, they move to create their own nation. In Europe, nations have risen and fallen. The breakdown of first Russia, and then the Soviet Union and several wars resulted in the rising few countries.
New nations mean new flags. The splitting of countries also results in the creation of new symbols. It also means the old flags are now obsolete. They are historical flags – a memory of the times past. Two countries, often bitter enemies, have gone through several versions of their flags. In both cases, revolutions have resulted in new designs. In one, the United States of America, a civil war also resulted in changes to the flag.
For both Russia and the States, growth and governmental changes has seen the changes in their flags. They provide, as a result, excellent examples of historical flags.
Russian Historical Flags
The country of Russia has seen several flags during its long history. The current flag of the Russian Federation is actually an adaptation of a historical flag flown under the Russian Empire. Until then, the country had seen several flags reflecting the political changes within the country. Among these are the famous Hammer and Sickle design officially known as the Red Banner (1923-1941). It was redesigned in 1955 and in 1980, the hammer and sickle was no longer to appear on both sides of the flag. It was to be placed only on the obverse or front. The rear or back of the flag was to be totally red.
American Historical Flags
The American flag has undergone a gradual and progressive move in its design. It has increased the number of stars from the original 13 to the current number of 50. Union historical flags are those who number from 13 to 49 inclusive. There are also Confederate historical flags. These include the following:
- The Bonnie Blue Flag – an unofficial flag of the Confederate States
- The Stars and Bars – 4 different versions between 1861 and 163 featuring different numbers of stars
- The Stainless Banner accepted in 1863
- The Blood Stained Banner – few were ever manufactured
The United States and Russia are not the only countries with historical flags in their past. In the future, there are also sure to be changes in borders and, therefore, flags, as countries rise, fall and merge. This will result in the creation of more national flags falling into the category of historical.
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