The American flag is iconic. It is instantly recognizable around the world, and it has had an influence on the design of flags from many different countries. Some flags resemble the American flag because of ancestral links, while others have a shared history that is celebrated or remembered through similar colors or designs.
Whatever the reason, America’s influence on other countries throughout history is made obvious by these similarities, and we are going to explore just a few examples of this.
About the American Flag
Instantly recognizable, the American flag has red and white stripes with a blue square filled with stars in the upper right corner. The American flag has a long history
that spans the last couple of centuries, and it was said to have been based on the flag of the British East India Company.
Its official beginning was in 1777, when the Flag Resolution was passed, which adopted the earliest known form of the American flag. Over time, the flag has gone through many changes to reflect political and social expansions, but the core elements have remained the same.
The Republic of Liberia
The flag of the Republic of Liberia is very similar to the American flag. It shares the red and white striped design and has a blue square in the top right corner. However, unlike the American flag, there is only one large star in the middle of the blue square, which is meant to reflect the birth of the first western-influenced independent state in Africa.
The Liberian flag
was adopted in 1847, after the founding of Liberia
, and was designed to reflect the ancestral origins of the country, which were made up of the offspring of American and ex-Caribbean slaves.
Malaysia is another flag that displays the red and white stripes that are so characteristic of the American flag
. The Malaysian flag also has the blue square in the upper right corner, although this square boasts a yellow crescent moon and a yellow sun instead of stars.
The close resemblance that the Malaysian flag
bears to the American flag is said to be mostly accidental. It was modeled on the British East India Company flag, but its stripes and its crescent and moon shapes reflect specific aspects of Malaysian culture and society.
The Texas state flag
bears the same red, white, and blue colors of the American flag. It was adopted in 1839 when Texas was still the Republic of Texas, and it was made the state flag when Texas joined the Union in 1845. To Texans, the white stands for purity, the blue for loyalty, and the red for bravery, while the single star is said to indicate the unity of the state as one people, as well as its independent heart.
Perhaps it’s to be expected that the Puerto Rican flag looks like the American flag; after all, it is one of America’s territories. The Puerto Rican flag
uses the same color scheme, red white and blue, only in a slightly different configuration. It has red and white stripes that are thicker than those of the American flag, with a large blue triangle at the hoist-side. Inside the triangle is a white, five-sided star.
This flag was made the official flag of Puerto Rico in 1952 when the country was made a Commonwealth, though its origins go back to about 1895.
This flag is an unusual entry. The Togo flag
is green, yellow, white, and red—pan-African colors that are popular in Ethiopia—but it is based on the design of Liberia’s flag, and so the layout reveals a strong resemblance to the American flag.
Despite the similar configuration, the colors and patterns have their own meaning to the people of Togo. The red represents the blood shed for the people’s independence, the yellow reflects the natural resources of the land, the green symbolizes the forests and hope for the future, and the white star is a symbol of hope.
consists of 23 islands in the Pacific Ocean. Their flag was adopted in 1987 and was deliberately based on the American flag to reflect the debt the islanders believed was owed to them by America. Between 1946 and 1958 the Bikini islands were used as testing grounds for America’s atomic program, with a total of 23 bombs tested on and near the islands.
In 1954 a particularly devastating nuclear bomb poisoned a great number of islanders. Many of the islands are still uninhabitable due to nuclear radiation and mutations of the local animals and wildlife.