The Oldest Flags In The World

Published : 04 Apr 2022 06:02 PM | Updated : 30 Apr 2022 05:26 PM

Each country in the world has a flag and some know the exact date when they adopted they flags. However, in some countries, there are still some disputes on the dates. Some flags were also used for other things before becoming national flags in different countries. All the same, other countries have been their flags for centuries now. The order of the origin of the flags might lack concrete evidence to back up which one is the oldest. Therefore, here are some of the oldest flags in the world.

  • Netherlands

This flag has been in use since 1572. It is also known as the Dutch flag. If we go down the origin lane, this flag’s origin is a variation of the prince’s flag (William PRINCE of Orange.)

Also, it happens to originate during the Dutch Revolt against King Philip II of Spain in the late 16th century. The flag initially had three colors: orange, white, and blue. After 1630, they made changes from the orange color to red. According to some sources, the color difference was due to orange fading to red over time.

Most flags from various nations had only two colors. The current Dutch flag features red, white, and blue colors as their flag. However, most people Also prefer orange, white and blue colors. The country also uses this flag color for display in nationalistic events and contexts.

  • Scotland 

Most people say that this is the oldest flag which originated in 1832 AD. The flag is also known as Scotland Saltire, Saltire, or St Andrew's Cross. The Scotland flag features a  bold and unique design with a  simple blue and white saltire. The flag symbolizes Saint Andrew, who tends to have been crucified on a cross that looks like its flag.

The cross symbol was also worn as a badge on hats in Scotland on that day of the feast. The flag also dates back to the 16th century. The St Andrew’s emblem first came into appearance in the 14th century. Regardless of this, the Scottish flag is among one of the oldest flags in the world.

  • Austria

The flag of Austria is one of the oldest flags in the world. It features a red and white triband, which might have been initially used in 1105. The flag’s origin is also based on the coat of arms of the Medieval Babenberg dynasty. The flag stripes were orange, white, and blue in the early days. Later on, the orange and blue stripes became red.

According to some historical evidence, Duke Leopold V of Austria came up with the flag to symbolize his fight. The fight happened during the  Siege of Acre in 1189-1191. It is said that after the war, his surcoat was full of blood, and when he took off his belt, his underneath clothes were strikingly white, which brought about the red-white-red color of the flag. Therefore, this is how the scheme and colors of the Austria flag came into use. Even though this happened in 1105, the flag was officially in use from 1230.

  • Denmark 

The flag of Denmark is also considered one of the oldest existing flags in the world. First, it was formerly known as Dannebrog, and you can trace its history back to late 1219. It is also one of the oldest flags that you will find in the Guinness book of world records.

The flag has a fascinating history of its origin. With most writers and history, it is said that during the battle in Lyndanisse, Estonia, the flag fell from heaven. The flag of Dannebrog features a Gelre Armorial with a coat of arms that represents the King of Denmark.

An interesting thing about this flag is that despite it being a typical flag, it was banned from private use in 1834. The ban was officially uplifted in 1854 as many people displayed it in public. Its cross-design was later adopted with many more countries such as Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland.

  • Latvia

The Latvian flag looks similar to most of the oldest flags globally. Like most ancient flags, this one comes in red and white color. Despite the lack of evidence that the flag could have been in use, it is assumed that it first originated in the 13th century. In 1279 the Latvian flag was first during the war between the ancient Latvian tribes from Cesis. The flag features a red color with white stripes.

In 1918 the Latvian adopted its flag for use. In 1990 they finally restored their independent flag, which is currently in use. According to history, the red color of the flag represents the blood of a Latvian chief injured in the battle and then wrapped in a white sheet. The white color of the flag means where he was lying as the two edges of the sheet were stained with blood.

  • Norway

The old flag of Norway takes its origin back to the 1318 century. The first flag was on the seal of Duchess Ingeborg. Some history also shows that Erick Magnusson flew a flag of a golden lion with a crown and ax on a red background in 1280.

Initially, this flag was only for use by the King of Norway. However, there came a time when it represented Norway's country. From the 17th century until 1814, the government used the same flag similar to Denmark’s to symbolize unity. When the dissolution happened in 1905 between  Norway and Sweden, they reintroduced the Royal Standard of Norway flag.


Conclusion represents some of the oldest flags in the world. It would be best to keep in mind that some of the countries decided to modify their flags along the way. Some of the flags have histories connected to their legends might not have enough proof to back them up.

I hope that the above few countries' histories of their oldest flags will help you. Learning about the oldest flags in the world is an exciting aspect of our day-to-day life.

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