Wombat’s top ten bonkers flags and one awesome one
Welcome to my wacky world of vexillology. Who doesn’t love a flag, and the dafter the better? These are my favourites. I’ve also added one awesome one at the end because JUST LOOK AT IT. Thanks to @sjcoltrane for the Benine Empire dialogue.
1. The Benin Empire. The putative flag of the Benin Empire is a real West African flag that was brought to Britain after their successful campaign against the Benin Empire in 1897. The original flag is currently in the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich (see a picture of the original flag here).
“No do not come closer for I hav a sharp thing.”
“There I said so. Now look what u hav done.”
2. The North Caucasian Emirate, Russia (1918-1921).
“We need a crescent moon and three stars. We should arrange them carefully.”
“Look, the pub’s open, lets finish designing it there.”
3. The Sicilian flag bears three legs in the shape of a triskelion which, according to my beloved Pliny the Elder, is supposed to represent the three corners of the island. The winged head is that of Medusa. I don’t know why you’d insert wheat there, no.
“We have so much wheat in Sicily that we’ve thought of another use for it.”
4. The Seychelles. Apparently the radiating bands are meant to symbolise a dynamic new country moving into the future, and not that the designer let his eight-year-old daughter do the job.
“Daddy, my red and blue crayons have run out.”
“Just use yellow and green instead, Jocasta.”
5. Irkutsk – when devised in 1690 this was described as a tiger (“babr”) with a sable in its mouth. In 1870 a heraldist mistakenly assumed that ‘babr’ was a mis-spelling of ‘bobr’, meaning beaver. Confusion has reigned since, and with the depiction now is of a fabulous half-beaver half-tiger.
“What’s wrong with your tiger-beaver’s EYES?”
“It’s just seen what the Sicilians do with wheat.”
6. Friesland, in the Netherlands. The seven water-lily splots are a reference to the Frisian “sea countries” in the Middle Ages. I imagine.
7. Zheleznogorsk, a closed Siberian city founded in 1950 to develop weapons-grade plutonium, chose this design of an angry hula-hooping bear trying to peel an enormous hard-boiled egg.
“Hang on, why do we need a flag if we’re a closed city?”
“So that 65 years from now someone can make fun of it in a blog post.”
“What’s a blog post?”
8. Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, a province of central Ukraine.
“I can’t decide between stars, waves, curly things or a bloke in a nightie.”
“What the shazbat, bung ‘em all in.”
9. Pskov, yet another Russian city. Those Russians love their daft flags.
“Why have you added the karate chop from God?”
“I have NO idea, and Googling didn’t help at all.”
10. Anadyr, yet another Russian city – the easternmost, fact fans. In Russia’s tough political climate it really is heartening to see a flag that celebrates the tender, non-traditional love of a smiley bear and a fish.
“Let us design the BEST FLAG IN THE WORLD!”
“Start with a smiley bear. Everybody loves a smiley bear.”
“I think that’s just you, Oleg.”
And finally, as relief against the silliness, one final flag of complete awesomeness. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the magnificence of THIS from Bhutan, featuring features Druk, the Thunder Dragon of Bhutanese mythology clutching four magnificent jewels. Because wow.