World Facts

List of Countries by Flag Adoption Dates

A list of flag adoption dates from countries all around the world.

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A national flag symbolizes and represents a country and is characterized by different colors and symbols with specific meanings to a particular country. National flags are often flown by governments but can also be flown citizens as a sign of patriotism. Historically, the flags were used as military standards. However, with the emergence of national sentiments, the national flags became popular in the civilian context. Different countries adopted their national flags at different stages of their national history. Although some of the countries have altered or changed the designs of their flags several times, other countries have maintained their original flags.

Oldest National Flags

The oldest national flag in the world is the flag of Denmark. The current flag which features a white Scandinavian cross on a red background has been in use since the 1370s or earlier. It was also used in sea battles during the war with Sweden in the 1560s. However, its origin remains unclear with several legends explaining the same. The current proportions of the flag, popularly known as “Dannebrog” were formalized in 1893.

The second-oldest flag is that of the Kingdom of Netherlands. The current flag design originated from the orange-white-blue variant which was adopted in 1575. In 1596, the orange color was replaced by red. The current colors were reaffirmed and formalized by a royal decree in 1937.

The Nepalese flag is the only national flag in the world that is non-quadrilateral. The double-pennon flag features three colors; red, white, and blue, sun, and a crescent moon with a rising sun. The old flag was adopted in 1743 and featured the sun and crescent moon with a human face. The human faces were removed to modernize the flag. The modern flag was adopted in 1962.

Newest Flags

Most of the countries adopted their current flags in the 19th and 20th centuries, with a few in the 21st century. Some countries such as Mauritania, Malawi, South Sudan, and Libya, have some of the newest national flags. Although the original flag of Mauritania was adopted in 1959, the current flag was adopted on August 15, 2017, following a successful referendum on August 5, 2017. The change of flag design saw the introduction of red strips at the top and bottom of the old flag.

The original flag of Malawi was adopted in 1964 after independence and used until July 29, 2010, when the design of the flag was changed to a red-black-green band with full sun in the middle. However, the flag was only used for two years and changed on May 28, 2012, to the current black-red-green with a rising sun which was actually the original flag adopted at independence.

South Sudan, the newest country in Africa, adopted its current flag on July 9, 2011. However, the flag was unofficially adopted in 2005. The flag resembles that of Kenya and Somali with black, red, and green bands separated by white bands (same as Kenyan flag), in addition to a Chevron on the hoist side. The current flag of Libya was first adopted in 1951. After a series of events which led to the country changing its flag several times, the flag was restored on February 17, 2011.

List of Countries by Flag Adoption Dates

RankCountryDate of Current Flag Adoption
1Denmark1370
2Netherlands1572
3Nepal1743
4United Kingdom1801
5Chile1817
6Argentina1818
7Peru1825
8Uruguay1828
9France1830
10Belgium1831
11Tunisia1831
12Paraguay1842
13Turkey1844
14Liberia1847
15Bolivia1851
16Ecuador1860
17Colombia1861
18San Marino1862
19Honduras1866
20Japan1870
21Guatemala1871
22Tonga1875
23Monaco1881
24South Korea1948
25Switzerland1889
26Philippines1898
27Norway1899
28Australia1901
29New Zealand1902
30Cuba1902
31Sweden1906
32Costa Rica1906
33Dominican Republic1908
34Portugal1911
35Albania1912
36El Salvador1912
37Morocco1915
38Thailand1917
39Austria1918
40Finland1918
41Germany1918
42Ireland1919
43Poland1919
44Jordan1928
45Taiwan1921
46Panama1925
47Vatican City1929
48Liechtenstein1937
49Lebanon1943
50Iceland1944
51Indonesia1945
52Vietnam1945
53India1947
54Pakistan1947
55Italy1948
56North Korea1948
57Israel1948
58Samoa1949
59China1949
60Somalia1960
61Hungary1957
62Madagascar1958
63Guinea1958
64Central African Republic1958
65Chad1959
66Brunei1959
67Benin1959
68Niger1959
69Cote d'Ivoire1959
70Singapore1959
71United States1960
72Togo1960
73Gabon1960
74Cyprus1960
75Senegal1960
76Nigeria1960
77Mali1961
78Sierra Leone1961
79Kuwait1961
80Algeria1962
81Jamaica1962
82Trinidad and Tobago1962
83Uganda1962
84Malaysia1950
85Kenya1963
86Tanzania1964
87Malta1964
88Zambia1964
89Maldives1965
90Canada1965
91Gambia1965
92Ghana1966
93Botswana1966
94Barbados1966
95Burundi1967
96Nauru1968
97Mauritius1968
98Mexico1968
99Eswatini1968
100Bhutan1969
101Sudan1970
102Fiji1970
103Papua New Guinea1971
104Qatar1971
105Andorra1971
106Nicaragua1971
107United Arab Emirates1971
108Bangladesh1972
109Sri Lanka1972
110Luxembourg1972
111Saudi Arabia1973
112Bahamas1973
113Guinea-Bissau1973
114Grenada1974
115Cameroon1975
116São Tomé and Príncipe1975
117Angola1975
118Suriname1975
119Laos1975
120Djibouti1977
121Solomon Islands1977
122Dominica1990
123Greece1978
124Saint Lucia1979
125Marshall Islands1979
126Kiribati1979
127Equatorial Guinea1979
128Micronesia1979
129 anuatu1980
130Syria1980
131Zimbabwe1980
132Iran1980
133Spain1981
134Palau1981
135 Belize1981
136 Mozambique1983
137 Saint Kitts and Nevis1983
138 Burkina Faso1984
139 Egypt1984
140 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines1985
141 Haiti1986
142 Lithuania1988
143 Romania1989
144 Namibia1990
145 Yemen1990
146 Moldova1990
147 Estonia1990
148 Armenia1990
149 Azerbaijan1990
150 Croatia1990
151 Russia1991
152 Latvia1991
153 Bulgaria1991
154 Republic of the Congo1991
155 Slovenia1991
156 Uzbekistan1991
157 Mongolia1992
158 Ukraine1992
159 Turkmenistan1992
160 Kyrgyzstan1992
161 Brazil1992
162 Kazakhstan1992
163 Slovakia1992
164 Cape Verde1992
165 Tajikistan1992
166 Czech Republic1993
167 Eritrea1993
168 Cambodia1993
169 South Africa1994
170 Belarus1995
171 North Macedonia1995
172 Oman1995
173 Ethiopia1996
174 Seychelles1996
175 Tuvalu1997
176 Bosnia and Herzegovina1998
177 Rwanda2001
178 Comoros2002
179 Bahrain2002
180 East Timor2002
181 Afghanistan2002
182 Georgia2004
183 Serbia2004
184 Montenegro2004
185 Democratic Republic of the Congo2006
186 Venezuela2006
187 Lesotho2006
188 Kosovo2008
189 Iraq2008
190 Myanmar2010
191 Libya2011
192 South Sudan2011
193 Malawi2012
194 Mauritania2017

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