There is a lot that goes into the design of every national flag in the world. Almost every aspect of each flag has a deeper meaning to it, with some using colors while others use small symbols. Then, there are some countries that use animals as part of their country’s representation, with some being true symbols of the nation.
Today, we’ll look at five countries that use animals on their flag in a very unique way. We’ll also dive into the history of the flag and how the animals were chosen. Some have a history that dates back several centuries while some are only a few decades. Here are the five most unique country flags of the world featuring an animal.
If you were to focus only on the background of Bhutan’s national flag, it wouldn’t be anything all that interesting. It’s simply yellow and orange split down the middle diagonally. What really draws attention, though, is the foreground, which features a large white dragon with amazing detail. The flag was officially adopted by Bhutan in 1969 and was designed by Mayum Choying Wangmo Dorji.
Dorji made sure that the dragon was split equally along the different colored backgrounds, showing that there was a balance between the country’s rich traditions in religion and civility. The dragon is white due to its purity and is meant to show that the citizens of Bhutan are always on guard for their country. While the colors don’t really give off a vibe that the country is ready to defend, the dragon sure does.
There are multiple countries that use an eagle on their official flag, but only one of them has two heads. With a simple all-red background, the foreground features the two-headed eagle with symmetrical features front and center. This isn’t a new flag, either, as it was designed by Sadik Kaceli all the way back in the mid-15th century. Back then, the flag was used by Albanian nobility but went unused for years.
Nationalists who fought against the Ottoman Empire brought the two-headed eagle flag back into regular use. As the country was fighting for its independence, it became a symbol that Albanians could get behind. The result was the flag becoming adopted in 1912 and it has undergone a couple of slight alterations since then. The eagle itself is used to honor the freedom fighters who made Albania independent.
You can’t discuss flags with an eagle without discussing the truly unique flag of Mexico. The flag is also one of the newer ones used by a developed nation as it was adopted in late 1968. The background features green, white, and red colors, with the meaning changing over time. These days, the green is for victory, the red is for the fallen soldiers who fought for independence, and the white shows national unity.
As for the eagle, he’s a little preoccupied in the middle of the white bar. With one talon planted firmly on a cactus, the eagle is chomping away at a rattlesnake while also hanging on tightly to it with its other talon. The Sun is important to Mexico’s rich history, and the eagle represents just that. It also represents Aztec lore, specifically Huitzilopochtli, the god of victory.
The birds that were used on the national flags of Albania and Mexico are extremely aggressive, but that’s not the case for Zimbabwe. Instead, the country uses a stone carving called the Zimbabwe Bird that has been part of the national coat of arms for centuries. The bird can also be seen on the nation’s currency, as it is used prominently throughout Zimbabwe.
Not much is known about the meaning behind the birds, as they were discovered in the ruins of Great Zimbabwe. There are several theories to the symbolism, with many agreeing that it’s a bateleur eagle, which was said to be the messenger of God. Whatever the root symbolism, this flag that was adopted in 1980 is given its own space while the rest of the flag has green and red stripes with a singular black stripe in the middle.
The list started with a dragon and now wraps up with one, but this time with a European country. Since the seventh century, the red dragon has been a symbol for the nation of Wales, originally representing King Cadwaladr. Two centuries later, the dragon became a symbol of independence and was seen as a messenger.
Wales became a country in 1056 but wasn’t officially recognized until the mid-16th century. Throughout most of that time, the red dragon was used prominently, but it wasn’t until 1959 when the dragon in front of a green and white background was adopted as the national flag.