Country Flags That Have Been in Continuous Use the Longest

Flags and flag-like symbols have long been used to designate the countries or civilizations they represent. While the origin of the first country flag is unknown, it is generally accepted that the flag of Denmark is the oldest flag that has been in continuous use since its introduction. The flag of this European country has been in use since 1625. It utilizes a red background with a white Nordic cross prominently displayed. The Nordic cross is also featured on many other countries’ flags including Iceland, Sweden, and Norway.

Do you know which countries’ flags have been continuously used the longest? looked at historical data from flags around the world to create the following visualization. In addition to Denmark’s flag, some of the oldest flags that have been in continuous use the longest include the Netherlands (1660), Nepal (1743), the United Kingdom (1801), and Chile (1817). The newest flags on the list are from Mauritania (2017), Malawi (2012), South Sudan (2011), Libya (2011), and Myanmar (2010).

While the general style of the flag of the United States has remained the same since it was originally created in the 18th century, the current version of the flag dates back to 1960. That is the first year that the flag included 50 stars, one to represent each state in the country. Both Alaska and Hawaii officially became states in 1959 and their stars were added to the current flag. The thirteen red and white stripes on the American flag represent the original 13 colonies: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.

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