Ethnic flag

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

An ethnic flag is a flag that symbolizes a certain ethnic group. Ethnic flags are often introduced to the ethnic community through the respective cultural or political ethnic movements. They are popular among diasporas, ethnic minorities, and some ethnic majorities, especially in multiethnic countries.


Like the concept of a state's national flag itself, that of an "ethnic flag" is modern, first arising in the late 19th century; strictly speaking, the national flags of nation states are themselves "ethnic flags", and often so used by ethnic minorities in neighbouring states, especially in the context of irredentism (e.g. the flag of the Republic of Albania used as an "ethnic Albanian flag" by Kosovar Albanians).

Ethnic flags are often used in irredentism, representing the "national flag" of a proposed or unrecognized state. The first such flags were designed at the end of the 19th century, such as the Basque flag (1894) or the "Flag of Zion" used to symbolize Zionism from 1898, which became the national flag of Israel 50 years later.

Most early ethnic flags imply a connection with an unrecognized state claimed by the respective ethnicities, such as the flag of Kurdistan which originates as the flag of the Republic of Ararat (1927). A flag of the Hispanic People was designed in 1932.[1]

Alternatively, an "ethnic flag" may represent a Pan-nationalism, such as the Pan-Arab flag which originates as the flag of the Arab Revolt during World War I,[2] the proposed flag of Pan-Slavism (1848),[3] Pan-Iranism or Pan-Turkism.

The concept of using ethnic flags to symbolize ethnic groups within a multiethnic state, not necessarily connected with irredentism, became popular in the later 20th century, such as the Australian Aboriginal flag (1971), the Assyrian flag (1971),[4] the flag of the Romani people (1971), the Berber flag (1970s), the Sami flag (1986) or the Māori flag (1990). Designing ethnic or tribal flags has become very popular since the 1990s, especially for online use, and mostly do not have any kind of "official" status and must be judged based on de facto use.[citation needed] In many cases, the national flag of a sovereign state is often seen and used as a de facto ethnic flag by its people.[5][6]

Individual flags[edit]

image name group world region linguistic phylum introduction notes
Flag of Corsica.svg A bandera Corsa Corsicans Europe, West Corsican 1755 From an older tradition, but with uncertain origins, this banner was officially adopted by the Corsican Republic of Pasquale Paoli.
Metis Blue.svg Métis flag Métis people America, North mixed; Michif 1814 Received from Alexander Macdonnell of the North West Company in 1814 and used by the Canadian Métis resistance in the Battle of Seven Oaks (1816).[7]
Flag of Adygea.svg Circassian Flag Circassians Europe, Caucasus Northwest Caucasian, Adyghe 1830; 1992 Used by Circassians since the 19th century and Adygea since 1992.
Flag of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.svg Pan-Slavic colours Slavs Europe, Eastern Indo-European, Slavic 1848 Adopted by the Prague Slavic Congress, 1848, used as the ethnic flag of Sorbs, Moravians, and other Slavic-speaking minorities.
Flag of Acadia.svg Flag of Acadia Acadians America, North Indo-European, Romance, French 1884 Adopted at the Second Acadian National Convention held in Miscouche, Prince Edward Island, on 15 August 1884.
Flag of the Basque Country.svg Ikurriña Basque people Europe, West Basque 1895 Designed in 1894 for the province of Biscay, adopted in 1895 by "Euzkeldun Batzokija" (predecessor of the Basque Nationalist Party), adopted it as the flag of the Basque Autonomous Region in 1936, prohibited in Franco Spain 1938–1977, official adoption as the flag of the Basque Country in 1978.
Flag of Silesians.svg Flag of Upper Silesia Silesians Europe, Central Silesian 1919 Similar to the former flag of the Province of Upper Silesia. A popular symbol of the Movement for Silesian Autonomy.
Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992-1998).svg Bosanski Ljiljan Bosniaks[8] Europe, South Serbo-Croatian 1992 Formerly the national flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina until 1998.[9]
Flag of the Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia.svg Flag of the West Herzegovina Canton Bosnian Croats[10] Europe, South Serbo-Croatian 1992 Formerly the flag of the Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia from 1992 to 1996.
Flag of Serbian national minority in Croatia.svg Flag of Serbs of Croatia Serbs of Croatia Europe Serbo-Croatian 2005 (1997 in eastern Croatia) Adopted by the Serb National Council (2005) and the Joint Council of Municipalities (1997)
Flag of Israel.svg Flag of Zion Jews Asia, Western Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Hebrew 1898 Introduced as the flag of Zionism at the Second Zionist Congress held in Switzerland in 1898; adopted as the state flag of Israel in 1948.
Flag of Hejaz 1917.svg Flag of the Arab Revolt Arabs Asia, Western

Africa, Northern

Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Arabic 1917 Introduced as the flag of the Arab nationalist revolt against the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Hejaz in 1917. It became the basis of a number of flags using the Pan-Arab colors later in the 20th century.
Flag of Armenia.svg Flag of Armenia Armenians Europe, Western Asia Indo-European 1918 The Armenian Supreme Soviet adopted the current flag on 24 August 1990. On 15 June 2006, the Law on the National Flag of Armenia, governing its usage, was passed by the National Assembly of Armenia.
Flag of the Crimean Tatar people.svg Crimean Tatar flag Crimean Tatars Europe, Eastern Turkic, Crimean Tatar 1917 Introduced under the Crimean People's Republic (November 1917), now used as ethnic flag.[11]
Flag of the UNIA.svg Pan-African flag African Americans United States 1920 Adopted in 1920 by the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League, now used in black nationalism and Pan-Africanism.
Flag of Swedish-speaking Finns.svg Flag of the Swedish-speaking Finns Finland-Swedes Europe, Northern Indo-European, Germanic, Swedish 1922 Used by the Swedish People's Party of Finland from 1922, based on a 1917 design.[12]
Flag of Livonia.svg Flag of Livonians Livonians Europe, Northern Finnic, Livonian 1923 Used by Livonian Society (Līvõd Īt) in 1923.
Flag of the Korean National Association.svg Flag of the Korean National Association Koreans Asia, Eastern Korean 1928 Designed by Yong-man Park. Due to the inherently ethnic nature of Korean nationalism, the South Korean flag is also seen and used as a de facto pan-Korean ethnic flag by many South Koreans.[6][5]
Flag of Somalia.svg Flag of Somalia Somalis Africa, Horn Somali 1954 Used by the Somali Republic after independence from the UK and Italy, Blue field with the Star of Unity
Flag of Kurdistan.svg Flag of the Kurds Kurds, Kurdish irredentism Asia, Western Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Kurdish 1927 Used by the Republic of Ararat in 1927, based on earlier designs used in the 1890s revolt.
Flag of the race.svg Hispanic flag Hispanidad, La Raza Americas Indo-European, Romance, Spanish 1932 Winning entry in a contest organized by Juana de Ibarbourou in 1932.
Flag of the Romani people.svg Flag of the Romani people Romani people Europe Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Romani 1933 Introduced by the General Union of the Roma of Romania in 1933, adopted at the First World Romani Congress in 1971.
Malay tricolour.svg Malay tricolour Malay people, Malayness Asia, Southeast Austronesian, Malay 1946 Introduced by the United Malays National Organisation (1946).
Flag of Quebec.svg Fleurdelisé Québécois people America, North Indo-European, Romance, French, Quebec French 1948 Adopted by the government of Quebec during the administration of Maurice Duplessis.
Flag of Druze.svg Druze flag Druze Levant, West Asia Semitic 1948 Adopted by the Druze Mental Chiefdom based on "Five Limits Star Druze Star.
Flag of Biafra.svg Flag of Biafra Igbo people Africa, West Niger-Congo, Igbo 1967 Flag of the irredentist Republic of Biafra, after 1970 used as ethnic flag.[13]
Flag of Assyria.svg Assyrian flag Assyrian people (Syriac Christians) Asia, Western Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Aramaic 1971 A 1968 design adopted by the Assyrian Universal Alliance in 1971.
Australian Aboriginal Flag.svg Australian Aboriginal Flag Aboriginal Australians Australia Australian 1971 Designed in 1971, given official recognition by the Australian authorities in 1995.
Pine Ridge Flag.svg Flag of the Oglala Sioux Nation Oglala Lakota America, North Siouan, Teton Sioux 1961 The circle of eight teepees on the flag represent the nine districts of the reservation: Porcupine, Wakpamni, Medicine Root, Pass Creek, Eagle Nest, White Clay, LaCreek, Wounded Knee, and Pine Ridge. The red field represents the blood shed by the tribe in defense of their lands and an allegorical reference to the term "red man," by which they were referred to by European Americans. The flag is sometimes used to represent the Great Sioux Nation at large and is the flag of the unrecognized Republic of Lakotah.
Navajo flag.svg Flag of the Navajo Nation Navajo people America, North Southern Athabaskan 1968 In 1995 the Navajo flag became the first Native American tribal flag in space when Bernard Harris carried it aboard the space shuttle Discovery.
Flag of the Cherokee Nation.svg Flag of the Cherokee Nation Cherokee Nation America, North Iroquoian 1978 Approved by the Tribal Council in 1978, altered in 1989 (addition of a black star).
Flag of The Choctaw Brigade 02.svgChoctaw flag.svg Flag of the Choctaw Nation Choctaw Nation America, North Muskogean, Western 1860; 1970s First flag adopted in 1860 during the United States Civil War, becoming the first Native American Tribe to adopt a flag; the second form was approved by the Tribal Council in the 1970s and altered in the late 1980s to present form.
Flag of the Hopi.png Flag of the Hopi Nation Hopi people America, North Uto-Aztecan 2002 [14]
Ancient mapuche flag.svg Flag of the Mapuches.svg Flag of the Mapuches Mapuche Nation America, South Araucanian, Mapudungun 16th-17th century; 1991 Original adopted during the Arauco War between the Mapuche and the Spaniards; a simple blue field with a white Guñelve (Mapudungun: Wünelfe) star centered, representing the Morning Star. The modern rendition approved by Aukiñ Wallmapu Ngulam, also known as Council of All Lands, in 1991. It was chosen in a contest of 500 entries, and is called Wenufoye (in Mapudungun "The Heaven's Winter's Bark"); however, instead of the Guñelve star, a Kultrum (Mapuche drum) is centered.
Flag of Hawaii.svg Flag of Hawaii Native Hawaiians Polynesia Hawaiian 1845 Adopted by the Kingdom of Hawaii, and continued to be used by the protectorate, republic, and territory before statehood. The flag was last modified in 1898, and is noteworthy as still being used after the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom.
Flag of Rapa Nui, Chile.svg Flag of Rapa Nui Rapanui Polynesia Rapanui 2006 A similar flag was used from the 13th century until 1899 during its period of independence.
Flag of Tonga.svg Flag of Tonga Tongans Polynesia Tongan 1875 The only ethnically Polynesian nation to never relinquish its sovereignty to any foreign power. The constitution states the flag can never be changed.
Tino Rangatiratanga Maori sovereignty movement flag.svg Tino Rangatiratanga flag Maori Oceania, New Zealand Austronesian, Maori 1990 Designed in 1990 and made the subject of an activist campaign until its official recognition by New Zealand authorities in 2009.
Torres Strait Islander flag Torres Strait Islanders Australia Creole, Torres Strait Island 1992 Recognised by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission in June 1992, granted official status Australia in 1995.
Flag of Greenland.svg Flag of Greenland Greenlandic Inuit Arctic Greenlandic 1989 The only national flag of a Nordic country or territory without a Nordic Cross.
Flag of Tornedalians (2007).svg Tornedalians Flag Tornedalians Europe, Northern Finnic 2007
Flag of the Merina people.svg Flag of Merina people Merina people Africa, Madagascar Austronesian, Malagasy 1997 Since 1997.[15]
Berber flag.svg Berber flag Berbers Africa, North Afro-Asiatic, Berber 1998 Adopted by the World Amazigh Congress based on 1970s proposals by the Berber Academy.
Flag of the Syriac-Aramaic People.svg Aramean-Syriac flag Aramaeans (Syriac Christians) Asia, Western Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Aramaic 1980 Used by the Bahro Suryoyo journal in 1980.
Sami flag.svg Sami flag Sami people Europe, Northern Finnic, Sami 1986 Adopted by the 13th Nordic Sami Conference on 15 August 1986.
Chaldean flag.svg Chaldean Flag Chaldean Christians Asia, Western Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Aramaic 1999 Approved by the International Chaldean Association of Professional Visual Artists and various other Chaldean organisations.[16] Designed by Amer Fatuhi.
Aromanian flag.svg Flag of the Aromanians Aromanians Europe, Balkans Indo-European, Romance Unknown Variations of this flag exist according to the country in which the Aromanians are located.[18]
Kokbayraq flag.svg Flag of East Turkestan Uyghurs Asia Turkic 1934
Flag of the Iraqi Turkmen Front.svg Flag of the Iraqi Turkmen Front Iraqi Turkmen/Turkmeneli Asia Turkic 2008 [citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "La bandera olvidada que representa a toda la Hispanidad". ABC Spain (in Spanish). 11 October 2015. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
  2. ^ Abū Khaldūn Sati' al-Husri, The days of Maysalūn: A Page from the Modern History of the Arabs, Sidney Glauser Trans. (Washington D.C.: Middle East Institute, 1966), 46.
  3. ^ Gabriella Elgenius (2007). Thomas Hylland Eriksen (ed.). Flag, Nation and Symbolism in Europe and America. Richard Jenkins. Routledge. p. 27. ISBN 978-1-134-06696-4. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  4. ^ "The Origins and Description of the Assyrian Flag" by Homer Ashurian, Assyrian Universal Alliance, 03-1999 Archived 17 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ a b Myers, Brian Reynolds (2011). "North Korea's state-loyalty advantage". Free Online Library. Archived from the original on 20 May 2018. Retrieved 29 May 2018. Judging from the yin-yang flag's universal popularity in South Korea, even among those who deny the legitimacy of the Republic of Korea, it evidently evokes the [Korean race] race first and the [South Korean] state second.
  6. ^ a b Myers, Brian Reynolds (20 December 2017). "North Korea's Unification Drive". Sthele Press. Retrieved 9 January 2018. When the average [South Korean] man sees the [South Korean] flag, he feels fraternity with [ethnic] Koreans around the world.
  7. ^ "Symbols and Traditions". Métis Nation of Ontario. Archived from the original on 2015-01-09. Retrieved 2015-01-08.
  8. ^ "Bosnia's 'Foreign' Flag Still Draws Mixed Feelings".
  9. ^ Obad, Kemal (23 November 2015). "Geopolitical importance of Bosnia-Herzegovina in global relations". Daily Sabah. Turkey. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  10. ^ Mario Jareb: Hrvatski nacionalni simboli, Alfa, Hrvatski institut za povijest, Zagreb, 2010.
  11. ^ Jaume Olle', Crimea: The Tatars (Ukraine), Flags of the World — (10 July 2000). "adopted November 1917, abolished January 1918" (Jaumé Olle, Historical Flags, 1998).
  12. ^ "Svenska Brevmärken 1922" (in Swedish). Svenska Centralarkivet. Archived from the original on August 13, 2007. Retrieved April 5, 2010.
  13. ^ Minahan, James (2002). Encyclopedia of the Stateless Nations: S-Z. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 762. ISBN 0-313-32384-4.
  14. ^ Donald T. Healy, Peter J. Orenski, Native American Flags University of Oklahoma Press (2003), 92–94.
  15. ^ Merina local flag (Madagascar). Flags of the World (2015-05-20). Retrieved on 2017-10-17.
  16. ^ "Chaldean Flag ... from A to Z". Retrieved 2016-10-03.
  17. ^ "The Coptic Flag, Meanings and Colors by The Free Copts". Archived from the original on 2007-01-14. Retrieved 2016-10-03.
  18. ^ Ene, Maria Camelia (2016). "Paftaua, tipuri de decorații și simboluri. Accesorii din patrimoniul Muzeului Municipiului București" (PDF) (in Romanian). 30. Bucharest: Bucharest Municipality Museum: 123–149. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)

External links[edit]