A canton in a flag is a rectangular area at the top hoist corner of a flag, occupying up to a quarter of the flag's area. The canton of a flag may be a flag in its own right. For instance, British ensigns have the Union Jack as their canton, as do their derivatives such as the national flags of Australia and New Zealand.
Following the practice of British ensigns, a canton sometimes contains a symbol of national unity such as the blue field and white stars of the U.S. flag. In these cases, the canton may be called simply the union.
The U.S. flag's canton derives from the British use of the Union Jack in the canton of its possessions (including, historically, the early United States). Subsequently, many New World nations (and other later countries and regions, such as Liberia or Malaysia) that were inspired by the U.S. incorporated elements likewise inspired by the U.S. flag. As a result, many extant uses of a prominent canton derive either from British territorial history, or U.S. influence and inspiration.
- 1 Current flags using cantons
- 2 See also
- 3 External links
Current flags using cantons
The flag of Abkhazia features a red canton with a white right hand and seven white stars on it.
The flag of Australia features the Union Flag as a canton.
The flag of Chile incorporates a blue canton bearing a white five-pointed star.
The flag of Fiji has a canton of the Union Flag.
The flag of Greece has a blue canton with a white Greek cross.
The flag of Liberia has a blue canton with a white five-pointed star.
The flag of Malaysia has a canton with a crescent and 14-pointed star in yellow on a blue field.
The flag of New Zealand has a Union Flag canton.
The flag of Togo has a red canton bearing a white five-pointed star.
The flag of Tonga has a white canton bearing a red Greek cross couped.
The flag of Tuvalu features the Union Flag in its canton.
Territories and subdivisions
The design of the U.S. flag, including its prominent use of the canton (aka union), has inspired similar designs, including cantons, in flags of some U.S. subdivisions.
The flag of Hawaii has the British flag in the canton.
The flag of Georgia has the state seal in the canton, surrounded by 13 stars which, like the strips on the U.S. flag, represent the original 13 colonies, of which Georgia was one.
A former flag of Louisiana
A former flag of Mississippi, which also incorporated elements of the Flag of the Confederate States of America
An early flag design for New Mexico, which shows a rare instance of the U.S. flag as a canton
Flag of the short lived Republic of Vermont, which adapted the U.S. flag's union of 13 stars
The first version of the Confederate flag imitated the union of the U.S. flag, with the stars representing the constituent states
An early Confederate-era flag of Tennessee
All of the Australian states (though not territories) adopt the use of the British flag in their cantons.
Two Canadian provinces adopt the use of the British flag in their cantons.
Province of San Juan
Flag of Brittany, inspired by the U.S. and Greek flags
The flag of the autonomous province of Adjara contains the Georgian flag in the canton.
Every county flag of Liberia contains the Liberian flag in its canton.
- Media related to Flags with cantons at Wikimedia Commons