The flag is a symbol of every state. The flag can be carried, the flag can be flown at a location. The flag can be waved. People who carry a flag in this way want to emphasize their affiliation with a particular country or organization. The original idea of creating a flag probably arose among the original hunters and warriors. Hunters / warriors originally wanted their enemies and friends to recognize that they knew where the fighting would take place and who would be prone to it. The first flags were made of bird feathers and animal skin. In ancient Egypt, soldiers carried poles with a metal figure of a bird, animal or some object placed on top of the pole.
The first cloth flags were used in China and India. The Chinese had cloth flags around 1100 BC. In the first period of the history of ancient Rome, soldiers wore poles with tops in the shape of various animals. Later they started using fabric flags. Many types of flags were used in Europe during the Middle Ages. The crusaders carried flags in their campaigns. Noble or royal families had symbols or symbols on their flags by which they were distinguished and recognized. Today, there are 196 countries in the world, each of which has its own flag (194 member states of the United Nations and two countries that are independent and have their own flags but are not members of the UN: the Vatican or the Holy See and Kosovo). On the other hand, The United States State Department recognizes 195 independent states around the world. A country not recognized by The United States State Department, for example, is Taiwan. Taiwan is not recognized as an independent and international community for political reasons.
The state is a political entity that maintains complete sovereignty over its territory and people. The word nation differs from state because it refers to a group of people who share similar beliefs and culture. It is not necessarily limited by geography.
The following countries are not on the list of 196 countries, although each country has its own flag:
• Taiwan – has a flag, the United Nations considers Taiwan to be the People’s Republic of China
• Cook Islands and Niue-have flags. Both countries, in free cooperation with New Zealand, which are members of several UN specialized agencies and are recognized as “full-fledged contracting capabilities”, but are not Member States or observer States. Certain areas are referred to as states which is not true. Some of the most common mistakes are that states are considered Puerto Rico, Bermuda, Greenland, Palestine, Western Sahara, often Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England.
196 countries are worldwide 54 countries are on the African continent, 49 countries belong to Asia, 44 countries belong to Europe, 33 countries are in Latin America and the Caribbean, 14 countries in Oceania and 2 countries in North America. The 196 states include 193 member states of the United Nations, as well as Taiwan, the Vatican and Kosovo.
11 states with 44 permanently inhabited outer territories are also included. The total number is 249 states and permanently inhabited outer territories.
Total world population: 7,323,187,457 (2016)
The data represent an estimate of the population for June 1, 2016.
So there are 249 different flags of each state and permanently inhabited territory.
The flag is the wind of history that makes us feel
heirs of the past and blacksmiths of the future.
Delia Steinberg Guzmán
The stars symbolize the ideals of unity, solidarity and harmony among the peoples of Europe. The number of stars is not related to the number of member states, while the circle symbolizes unity.The history of the European flag takes us back to 1955. The Council of Europe (which advocates for the defense of human rights and promotes European culture) has chosen the current design for its own needs. In the following years, it encouraged the emerging European institutions to accept the flag themselves. In 1983, the European Parliament decided that the flag used by the Council of Europe should become the Community flag. In 1985, by decision of European leaders, it became the official emblem of the European Communities, which would later become the European Union. In addition, all European institutions today have their own emblem.
Calculating the total number of countries in the world is not an easy task. It is an issue full of political, geographical and social-economic difficulties. Depending on the source, the number of countries can vary considerably and there is no universal agreement on the total number. However, many people consider the United Nations to be the most reliable source because a country that has become a UN member requires a significant evaluation and voting process. A country applying for UN membership must obtain the consent of all five permanent member states of the Security Council (United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia and China), except for the approval of a two-thirds majority of the General Assembly. This shows that it is not so easy to determine the exact number of states that exist in the world. The ever-changing political situation means that questions about sovereignty are unlikely to be fully clear. The changing forces of globalization continue to redefine the meaning of the nation.
The flag has been moving people for thousands of years, bringing them into a special emotional state and ready to give their best or even die for the community. The flag is a “piece of colored fabric” that carries a deeper and symbolic meaning.
All our lives we have seen numerous flags of states, sports clubs, universities, associations or some groups / communities. It is hard to imagine human society without flags. At the Olympic Games and other sports competitions, the flag is often highlighted as the main motif of competitors. Carrying the flag of one’s own state is considered one of the greatest accolades for athletes.
We will find the flag practically by looking historically at every valuable record and every significant event. Thus at the very beginning of the ancient Indian epic Mahabharata the Sakya people appear led by Hanuman carrying a red flag. On this flag is written in golden letters: There is nothing above the truth. Egyptian annals speak of flags fluttering high on pillars above the walls of Egyptian temples. History books report that wars once ended as soon as one side stole the flag from the other. Such is the ever-present value of the flag.
The flag often has a practical use (signaling at sea or in traffic). But the primary function of the flag is symbolic. Vexillology, a discipline that studies the history of flags and symbolism says that flags are a profound expression of the community they represent. To reveal the value of the flag, the concept of symbols should be touched upon. For C. G. Jung, a symbol is not an ordinary sign or emblem, but an image that can most appropriately signify the vaguely perceived nature of the Spirit. Jung further clarifies: The symbol does not hide or explain anything, it points beyond itself to a meaning that is still in the afterlife, incomprehensible, vaguely sensed, which no word of the language we speak could express.
Man has always given meaning to various aspects of his life through symbols. Thus he would find a connection between the external (material) and the hidden deep in the person (spiritual). Symbols have always had the same purpose – to encourage man to discover answers to important questions about the meaning of life, about his deepest aspirations and the quality of life’s endeavor. An important determinant of symbols is that they are revealed to each individual according to the level of consciousness. With the evolution of consciousness, man changes his attitude towards symbols.
The value of the flag lies in the invisible aspect – in the ideas that the flag contains. The flag symbolizes something hidden and common to all members and participants.
The material base of one flag is the fabric displayed on the mast. The symbolism is inscribed in heraldic signs – coats of arms. Everything on the flag is a symbol: colors, shape, individual elements and the flag as a whole. The colors on the flag speak of a certain aspect important to the community and it is necessary to know the symbolism of the colors so that the message can be deciphered. Modern and traditional psychology teach that colors have a significant impact on man and reactions. They affect everyday behavior and mood. Colors give importance and depth to a particular element with which they are associated. They help uncover a hidden message. Sometimes just one color is enough to describe a situation, without a spoken word. A white flag, for example, can save someone’s life during a war.
Fluttering is also an element that makes the flag special and important. The element of air moves the flag to flutter and move before the eyes of the observer. The flag dances with the wind representing a life that is constantly moving. The flag receives raindrops and splashing waves with the same pride with which it allows itself to be carried by the wind.
The importance of the flag lies in the values it represents and the people it represents. This is why the flag has often been considered sacred throughout history. Whether the mast is attached to a pad or held by a human hand, the flag rests on the ground and rises high above the people, exposing itself to the sun, snow, wind and rain. The flag encourages man to do the same and remains firm and steady. Fluttering and opposing the conditions in which it finds itself, the flag shows people the ideal to which it can strive and represent it in life. That is why the flag has always been carried with pride and on special occasions. Representing one flag has always been a matter of honor, just as representing any value in your own life. There have always been people who are willing to carry flags and people who are willing to live certain human values and set an example of why it is worth living. Accordingly, in European tradition we come across an epitaph that conveys the following message: If you cannot carry the flag of honor, stab it into the ground; we will wear it – your grandfathers.