Setting up a flag could also possess the meaning of conquering something. Jaan Künnap with the flag of Estonia at the top of Lenin Peak (7,134 m [23,406 feet]) in 1989.

A flag is a piece of fabric (most often rectangular or quadrilateral) with a distinctive design and colours. It is used as a symbol, a signalling device, or for decoration. The term flag is also used to refer to the graphic design employed, and flags have evolved into a general tool for rudimentary signalling and identification, especially in environments where communication is challenging (such as the maritime environment, where semaphore is used). The study of flags is known as "vexillology" from the Latin vexillum, meaning "flag" or "banner".

National flags are patriotic symbols with widely varied interpretations that often include strong military associations because of their original and ongoing use for that purpose. Flags are also used in messaging, advertising, or for decorative purposes.

Some military units are called "flags" after their use of flags. A flag (Arabic: لواء) is equivalent to a brigade in Arab countries. In Spain, a flag (Spanish: bandera) is a battalion-equivalent in the Spanish Legion.


Bronze flag found in Shahdad, Iran, 3rd millennium BC

In antiquity, field signs or standards were used in warfare that can be categorised as vexilloid or 'flag-like'. This is considered originated in the ancient Egypt or Assyria.[1] Examples include the Sassanid battle standard Derafsh Kaviani, and the standards of the Roman legions such as the eagle of Augustus Caesar's Xth legion, or the dragon standard of the Sarmatians; the latter was let fly freely in the wind, carried by a horseman, but judging from depictions it was more similar to an elongated dragon kite than to a simple flag.

Flag as recognized today, made of a piece of cloth representing a particular entity, is considered invented in the Indian subcontinent or Chinese Zhou dynasty (1046-256 BCE). Chinese flags depicted animals decorated in certain colors. A royal flag is considered being used as well, which was required to be treated with a similar level of respect attributed to the ruler. Indian flags were often triangular shaped and decorated with attachments such as yak's tail and the state umbrella. These usages spread to Southeast Asia as well, and considered transmitted to Europe through the Muslim world where plainly colored flags were being used due to Islamic prescriptions.[1]

In Europe, during the High Middle Ages, flags came to be used primarily as a heraldic device in battle, allowing more easily to identify a knight than only from the heraldic device painted on the shield. Already during the high medieval period, and increasingly during the Late Middle Ages, city states and communes such as those of the Old Swiss Confederacy also began to use flags as field signs. Regimental flags for individual units became commonplace during the Early Modern period.

Sujagi of Eo Jae-yeon, captured in 1871

During the peak of the age of sail, beginning in the early 17th century, it was customary (and later a legal requirement) for ships to carry flags designating their nationality;[2] these flags eventually evolved into the national flags and maritime flags of today. Flags also became the preferred means of communications at sea, resulting in various systems of flag signals; see, International maritime signal flags.

Use of flags outside of military or naval context begins only with the rise of nationalist sentiment by the end of the 18th century; the earliest national flags date to that period, and during the 19th century it became common for every sovereign state to introduce a national flag.[citation needed]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Vlag
Alemannisch: Flagge
Аҧсшәа: Абираҟ
العربية: علم (راية)
aragonés: Bandera
ܐܪܡܝܐ: ܐܬܐ
asturianu: Bandera
Avañe'ẽ: Poyvi
azərbaycanca: Bayraq
تۆرکجه: بايراق
বাংলা: পতাকা
Bân-lâm-gú: Kî-chhì
беларуская: Сцяг
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Сьцяг
भोजपुरी: झंडा
български: Знаме
Boarisch: Fahn
bosanski: Zastava
brezhoneg: Banniel
català: Bandera
Чӑвашла: Ялав
čeština: Vlajka
Chavacano de Zamboanga: Bandera
Cymraeg: Baner
dansk: Flag
Deitsch: Faahne
Deutsch: Flagge
eesti: Lipp
Ελληνικά: Σημαία
español: Bandera
Esperanto: Flago
euskara: Bandera
فارسی: پرچم
Fiji Hindi: Jhanda
føroyskt: Fløgg
français: Drapeau
Frysk: Flagge
Gaeilge: Bratach
Gaelg: Brattagh
galego: Bandeira
ГӀалгӀай: Байракх
한국어: 기 (상징)
Hawaiʻi: Hae
հայերեն: Դրոշ
हिन्दी: ध्वज
hrvatski: Zastava
Ido: Flago
বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরী: ফিরালহান
Bahasa Indonesia: Bendera
ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ/inuktitut: ᓴᐃᒻᒪᑎ
Ирон: Тырыса
íslenska: Fáni
italiano: Bandiera
עברית: דגל
Basa Jawa: Gendéra
kalaallisut: Erfalasoq
ಕನ್ನಡ: ಬಾವುಟ
Kapampangan: Bandera
къарачай-малкъар: Байракъ
ქართული: დროშა
kaszëbsczi: Fana
қазақша: Ту
Kinyarwanda: Ibendera
Kiswahili: Bendera
коми: Дӧрапас
Kreyòl ayisyen: Drapo
Кыргызча: Туу
лакку: Ттугъ
Latina: Vexillum
latviešu: Karogs
лезги: ТӀаратӀ
lietuvių: Vėliava
lingála: Bɛndɛ́lɛ
magyar: Zászló
മലയാളം: പതാക
मराठी: ध्वज
მარგალური: შილა
مصرى: علم (رمز)
Bahasa Melayu: Bendera
Mirandés: Bandeira
မြန်မာဘာသာ: အလံ
Nāhuatl: Pamitl
Nederlands: Vlag
Nedersaksies: Vlagge
नेपाल भाषा: ध्वांय्
нохчийн: Байракх
norsk: Flagg
norsk nynorsk: Flagg
Nouormand: Couleu
Novial: Flage
occitan: Bandièra
олык марий: Тисте
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Bayroq
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਝੰਡਾ
پنجابی: چنڈا
Papiamentu: Bandera
پښتو: بیرغ
ភាសាខ្មែរ: ទង់ជាតិ
polski: Flaga
português: Bandeira
română: Drapel
Runa Simi: Unancha
русский: Флаг
саха тыла: Былаах
Gagana Samoa: Fuʻa
संस्कृतम्: ध्वजः
Scots: Banner
shqip: Flamuri
sicilianu: Bannera
සිංහල: කොඩි
Simple English: Flag
سنڌي: جهنڊو
slovenčina: Vlajka
slovenščina: Zastava
словѣньскъ / ⰔⰎⰑⰂⰡⰐⰠⰔⰍⰟ: Ꙁнамѧ
ślůnski: Fana
Soomaaliga: Calan
کوردی: ئاڵا
српски / srpski: Застава
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Zastava
Basa Sunda: Bandéra
suomi: Lippu
svenska: Flagga
Tagalog: Watawat
Taqbaylit: Annay
తెలుగు: పతాకం
ไทย: ธง
тоҷикӣ: Парчам
Tsetsêhestâhese: Hoohëö'o
Türkçe: Bayrak
тыва дыл: Тук
українська: Прапор
اردو: پرچم
vèneto: Bandiera
Tiếng Việt: Lá cờ
Volapük: Stän
Võro: Lipuq
walon: Drapea
Winaray: Bandira
ייִדיש: פאן
Yorùbá: Àsìá
中文: 旗幟