The Flags of the World/Chapter 4

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
The Flags of the World
Chapter 4

[ 86 ]

CHAPTER IV.

The Flag of Columbus—Early Settlements in North America—the Birth of the United States—Early Revolutionary and State Flags—the Pine-tree Flag—the Rattle-snake Flag—the Stars and Stripes—Early Variations of it—the Arms of Washington—Entry of New States into the Union—the Eagle—the Flag of the President—Secession of the Southern States—State Flags again—the Stars and Bars—the Southern Cross—the Birth of the German Empire—the Influence of War Songs—Flags of the Empire—Flags of the smaller German States—the Austro-Hungary Monarchy—The Flags of Russia—The Crosses of St. Andrew and St. George again—the Flags of France—St. Martin—The Oriflamme—the Fleurs-de-lys—Their Origin—the White Cross—the White Flag of the Bourbons—the Tricolor—the Red Flag—the Flags of Spain—of Portugal—the Consummation of Italian Unity—the Arms of Savoy—the Flags of Italy—of the Temporal Power of the Papacy—the Flag of Denmark—its Celestial Origin—the Flags of Norway and Sweden—of Switzerland—Cantonal Colours—the Geneva Convention—the Flags of Holland—of Belgium—of Greece—the Crescent of Turkey—the Tughra—the Flags of Roumania, Servia, and Bulgaria—Flags of Mexico and of the States of Southern and Central America—of Japan—the Rising Sun—the Chrysanthemum—the Flags of China, Siam, and Corea—of Sarawak—of the Orange Free State, Liberia, Congo State, and the Transvaal Republic.

The well-known Ensign (Fig. 146) of the United States of America is the outcome of many changes; the last of a long series of National, State, and local devices.

The first flag planted on American ground was borne thither by Christopher Columbus, in the year 1497, and bore on its folds the arms of Leon and Castile, a flag divided into four and having upon it, each twice repeated, the lion of Leon and the Castle of Castile: the first red on white, the second white on red. These arms form a portion of the present Spanish Standard, and may be seen in the upper staff corner in Fig. 194. In this same year—1497—Newfoundland was discovered, but the first English settlement on the mainland was not made until Sir Walter Raleigh took possession of a tract of country in 1584, naming it Virginia, after Elizabeth, the Virgin-Queen he served, and hoisting the Standard of Her Majesty, bearing in its rich blazonry (Fig. 22) the ruddy lions of England quartered with the golden lilies of France. The Dutch established themselves, in the year 1614, in what is now the State of New York; the French, having already founded a colony in Canada in 1534, took possession of Louisiana, so called after their King Louis, in 1718, while Florida, at first French, became Spanish, and in 1763 was ceded to England. [ 87 ]

Three ships, bearing the earliest Pilgrim Fathers from England to America, had already sailed from England in the year 1606, and these were followed by the historic Mayflower and the Plymouth Rock, in 1620. While these exiles for conscience sake established for themselves a new England in the west, a colony of Scotchmen in the year 1622 took possession of a tract of land which they named Nova Scotia. Maryland, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Carolina, Pennsylvania, and other colonies were successively formed by parties of Englishmen—the final outcome of peaceful settlement, or the arbitrament of the sword, being that the greater part of the eastern seaboard, and the country beyond it, came under the sway of the English Crown, until injudicious taxation and ill-advised repression led at length to open discontent and disloyalty, and finally to revolution and the birth of the great Republic of the West.

So long as the Colonists owed allegiance to the British crown, one would naturally have taken for granted that they would have been found beneath the national flag, but this was not altogether the case. In the early days of New England the Puritans strongly objected to the red cross on the flag: not from any disloyalty to the old country, but from a conscientious objection to the use of a symbol which they deemed idolatrous. By the year 1700, though the Cross of St. George was still the leading device, the different colonies began to employ special devices to distinguish their vessels from those of England and of each other.[1] This, though it indicated a certain jealousy and independence amongst the colonies themselves, was no proof of any desire for separation from the old country, and even when, later on, the dispute between King and Colonists became acute, we find them parting from the old flag with great reluctance. Fig. 142 is a very good illustration of this; its date is 1775.

In the early stages of the Revolution each section adopted a flag of its own, and it was only later on, when the desirability of union and uniformity became evident, that the necessity for one common flag was felt. Thus, the people of Massachusetts ranged themselves beneath banners bearing pine trees; the men of South Carolina went in for rattle-snakes; the New Yorkers adopted a white flag with a black beaver thereon; the Rhode Islanders had a white flag with a blue anchor upon it; and, in like manner, each contingent adopted its special device.

In Fig. 144, one of the flags of the insurgents at Bunker's Hill, [ 88 ] June 17th, 1775, we see that the Cross of St. George is still preserved, and it might well fly in company with Fig. 67, a flag of the London Trained Bands, except that in the corner we see the pine tree. In Fig. 145 the English emblem has dropped out and the pine tree has become much more conspicuous, and in Figs. 147 and 148 all suggestion of St. George or of the red or blue Ensigns has disappeared. This arboreal device was not by any means a new one to the men of Massachusetts. We find a mint established at Boston as early as 1651, busily engaged in coining the silver captured from the Spaniards by the Buccaneers. On one side was the date and value of the coin, and, on the reverse, a tree in the centre and "In Massachusetts" around it. It must be remembered that at the time there was no king to resent this encroachment on the royal prerogative, and no notice was taken of it by the Parliament or by Cromwell. There was a tacit allowance of it afterwards, even by Charles II., for more than twenty years. It will be remembered that on his enquiry into the matter he was told by some courtier that the device was intended for the Royal Oak, and the question was allowed to drop.

South Carolina adopted the rattle-snake flag at the suggestion of one Gadsden, a delegate to the General Congress of the South Carolina Convention in 1776. On a yellow ground was placed a rattlesnake, having thirteen rattles; the reptile was coiled ready to strike, and beneath was the warning motto, "Don't tread on me." The number thirteen had reference to the thirteen revolted States, as it was originally proposed that this flag should be the navy flag for all the States. As an accessory to a portrait of Commodore Hopkins, "Commander-in-chief of the American fleet," we see a flag of thirteen alternate red and white stripes. It has no canton, but undulating diagonally across the stripes is a rattlesnake. The idea was not altogether a new one, as we find the Pennsylvania Gazette, in commenting twenty-five years previously on the iniquity of the British Government in sending its convicts to America, suggesting as a set off that "a cargo of rattlesnakes should be distributed in St. James's Park, Spring Gardens, and other places of pleasure." At the commencement of any great struggle by a revolting people there is often a great variety of device, and it is only after a while that such a multiplicity is found to be a danger. Hence we find that prior to the yellow rattlesnake flag, South Carolina had, with equal enthusiasm, adopted the blue flag with the crescent moon that we have figured in No. 158.[2] [ 89 ]

In the year 1775 a committee was appointed to consider the question of a single flag for the thirteen States. This ensign, though it went far towards moulding these different sections into the United States, was a curious illustration of that reluctance that we have already referred to, to sever themselves finally from the Old Country, as the Committee recommended the retention of the Union in the upper corner next the staff, but substituted for the broad red field of the rest of the flag thirteen horizontally disposed stripes, alternately red and white, the emblems of the union into one of the thirteen colonies in their struggle against oppression. We have this represented in Fig. 57. It was also the flag of the East India Company.

On the final declaration of Independence, when the severance from the Old Country was irrevocable, and the colonists became a nation, the question of a national flag was one of the points awaiting solution; but it was not till about a year afterwards that a decision was come to. The vessels commissioned by Washington flew the flag we have figured in No. 147; this was approved in April, 1776, and remained in use some little time, as did also the one represented in Fig. 149. Sometimes we find the cross and pine-tree removed and the whole flag nothing but the red and white stripes. This flag composed of stripes alone was not peculiar to the American navy, as a flag of similar design was for a long time a well-known signal in the British fleet, being that used for the red division to form up into line of battle.

Anyone looking over a collection of the common pottery made from about a hundred and fifty years ago up to comparatively recent times will find that stirring contemporary events are very freely introduced—sea-fights, portraits of leading statesmen, generals, and so forth. These are often caricatures, as, for example, the hundreds that may be seen in our various museums and private collections derisive of "Boney," while others are as historically correct as the potter's knowledge and skill could compass. Anyone visiting the Corporation Museum at Brighton will find a jug bearing the head of Zebulon M. Pike, an American general; trophies of flags are grouped around this, but the only flag with any device upon it is a plain striped one. Another that bears the head of Commodore Decatur, U.S.N., has below it a cannon, on the left a trophy of flags and weapons, and on the right a ship; and a very similar jug may be seen in honour of Commodore Parry. In each of these cases the flags in the trophies and on the ships are simply striped.

On August 14th, 1777, Congress resolved "that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternately red and white, and that the Union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing [ 90 ] a new constellation."[3] This was the birth of the national flag, "the stars and stripes," and it would appear at first sight to be a final settlement of the device, though in practice the result did not work out at all uniformly, the number of stripes being unequal. If we commence at the top with a white one, we shall have seven white and six red, whereas if we begin with a red stripe we shall get seven red and six white. Each of these renderings was for some years in use, until it was authoritatively laid down that the latter was the arrangement to be adopted. It seems a minor point, but any of our readers who will re-draw Fig. 146 and transpose the colours of the stripes, so that the upper and lower edges of the flag are white instead of red, will be surprised to note how so apparently trivial a change will affect the appearance of the flag.[4] In like manner the stars were sometimes made with six points, and at others with five. Even so late as 1779, we find such a striking variation as a flag bearing stars with eight points, and its stripes alternately red, blue, and white. The coins issued during the presidency of Washington had five-pointed stars on them, but later on they had six points. Nobody seems now to know why this change was made.

As nothing was said in this resolution of Congress as to the arrangement of the stars on the blue field, a further opening for variety of treatment was found. In some of the early flags they were arranged to represent the letters U.S., in others they were all placed in a circle, in others again they were dispersed irregularly, so as the better to suggest a constellation; and it was finally ordered that they should be placed in parallel horizontal rows, as we now see them.

Though the stars did not appear in the American flag until 1777, we find in a poem in the Massachusetts Spy of March 10th, 1774, on the outbreak of the rebellion, the lines—

"The American ensign now sparkles a star
Which shall shortly flame wide through the skies."

[ 91 ]

This poetic and prophetic flight is the earliest suggestion of the stars in the national flag of the United States.

It has been held that the American Eagle and the stars and stripes of the national flag were suggested by the crest and arms of the Washington family. This statement has been often made; hence we find an American patriot writing:—"It is not a little curious that the poor, worn-out rag of feudalism, as many would count it, should have expanded into the bright and ample banner that now waves on every sea." But that it should be so seems by no means an established fact. No reference is made to it in Washington's correspondence, or in that of any of his contemporaries. The arms of the Washington family are a white shield having two horizontal red bars, and above these a row of three red stars; and this certainly bears some little resemblance to the American flag, but how much is mere coincidence, and how much is adaptation it is impossible to say. These arms may be seen on a brass in Solgrave Church, Huntingdonshire, on the tomb of Laurence Washington, the last lineal ancestor who was buried in England. He was twice Mayor of Northampton, in 1533 and in 1546, and the first President of the United States was his great-great-grandson. He was a man of considerable influence, and on the dissolution of the monasteries Henry gave him the Priory of St. Andrews, Northampton. In the troublous times that succeeded, his son John went to America, and lived for some twenty years on the banks of the Potomac.

Another theory that has been advanced is that the blue quarter was taken from the blue banner of the Scotch Covenanters, and was therefore significant of the Solemn League and Covenant of the United Colonies against oppression, while the stripes were a blending of the red colours used in the army with the white flags used in the navy. We give the theory for what it is worth, which we venture to say is not very much; but as it was advanced by an American writer, we give it place.

Should our readers care to consider yet another theory, they may learn that the genesis of the star-spangled banner was very much less prosaic. Prose has it that a Committee of Council, accompanied by General Washington, called on Mrs. Ross, an upholstress of Arch Street, Philadelphia, and engaged her to make a flag from a rough sketch that they brought with them, that she in turn suggested one or two practical modifications, and that at her wish Washington re-drew it there and then, that she at once set to work on it, and in a few hours the first star-spangled flag was floating in the breeze; but the poet ignores the services of Mrs. Ross altogether, and declares that [ 92 ]

"When Freedom from her mountain height
Unfurled her standard to the air,
She tore the azure robe of Night
And set the stars of glory there.
She mingled with its gorgeous dyes
The milky baldric of the skies,
And striped its pure celestial white
With streakings of the morning light:
Then from his mansion in the sun
She called her eagle-bearer down
And gave into his mighty hand
The symbol of her chosen land."

This view was expressed by another great American in the words:—"As at the early dawn the stars shine forth even while it grows light, and then, as the sun advances, that light breaks out into banks and streaming lines of colour, the glowing red and intense light striving together and ribbing the horizon with bars effulgent, so on the American flag stars and beams of light shine out together. Where this flag comes, and men behold it, they see in its sacred emblazoning no ramping lions, and no fierce eagle, no embattled castles, or insignia of imperial authority: they see the symbols of light: it is the banner of dawn; it means Liberty!"

We have clearly now got a long way from the establishment in Arch Street. This flag, which, after such glowing passages as the foregoing, we should almost expect to find too sacred a thing for change or criticism, has undergone some few modifications in its details, though the original broad idea has remained untouched.

As the first conception was that each of the original thirteen States was represented in the national flag by a star and a stripe, other States, as they came into the Union, naturally expected the same consideration: hence on the admission of Vermont in 1791, and Kentucky in 1792, an Act was passed which increased the number of stars and stripes from thirteen to fifteen. Later on came Tennessee, Ohio, Louisiana, and so forth, and the flag was presently made to consist of twenty stars and stripes, but it was found to be so objectionable to be thus continually altering it that it was settled in the year 1818 to go back to the original thirteen stripes, but to add a star for each new State. Hence the stripes show always the original number of the States at the birth of the nation, while the stars show the present number in the Union.

It is interesting to trace the growth of the country, Illinois being enrolled in the Union in 1818, Alabama in 1819, Maine in 1820, Missouri in 1821, Arkansas in 1836, Michigan in 1837, and so on; but suffice it now to say that by 1891 the original thirteen had [ 93 ] grown to forty-four, and it was announced that on and after the 4th of July of that year the national flag should bear this latter number of stars. As there are still several territories awaiting promotion to the rank of States, the constellation is even yet incomplete.

"A song for our banner! The watchword recall
 Which gave the Republic her station;
United we stand, divided we fall,
 It made, and preserves us, a nation!
The union of lakes, the union of lands,
 The union of States none can sever;
The union of hearts, the union of hands,
 And the flag of our Union for ever."

The most striking modification of the flag is seen in the Revenue Service. We have still the silver stars on the azure field and the stripes of alternate red and white, but in this special case the stripes, instead of being disposed horizontally, are placed vertically, a slight enough difference apparently, but one which makes a striking alteration in the appearance of the flag.

The pendant of the United States Navy is shown in Fig. 151; the stars in it, it will be seen, are reduced to the original thirteen, while the narrowness of the flag permits but two of the stripes.

The American Jack is simply the blue and white portion of the National flag, Fig. 146, made into a separate flag.

The Commodore's broad pendant is a swallow-tailed blue flag, with one white star in the centre. The Admiral's flag, hoisted at the main, is shown in Fig. 143; the Vice-Admiral's flag, hoisted at the fore, has three white stars on the blue field; and the Rear-Admiral's flag, hoisted at mizen, has two arranged vertically over each other.

While in some nationalities the flag of the war navy differs from that of the mercantile marine—as in the case of Great Britain, Germany, and Spain—in others the same flag is used. This is so in the United States, France, etc.

The Chief of the State, whether he be called Emperor, King, President, or Sultan, has his own flag—his personal Standard—and this special and personal flag, in the case of the President of the United States, has on its blue field an eagle, bearing on its breast a shield with the stars and stripes, and beneath it the national motto, "E pluribus unum." As it has been suggested that the employment of the eagle as a symbol of the State was derived from the crest of Washington, it may not be inopportune to state that the crest in question was not an eagle at all, but a raven. The idea of the eagle, together with the word "Senate," and many such similar [ 94 ] things, no doubt arose from their use in ancient Rome, and afforded an illustration the more of the pseudo-classicalism that was raging in the eighteenth century in France and elsewhere.

The eagle appears on many of the early flags of America. Fig. 150 is a curious example of its use. In an old engraving we see a figure of Liberty defended by Washington, and above them this flag. In another old print before us we see Washington leaning on a cannon, and behind him a flag bearing the stars and stripes, plus an eagle, that with outstretched wings fills up much of the field, having in his beak a label with the "E pluribus unum" upon it, with one foot grasping the thunderbolts of War, and the other the olive-branch of Peace.

Both these eagle-bearing flags, it will be seen, are associated with the President; but in many of these early examples there seems no necessary connection. Thus in one instance we see a busy ship-building scene, and while the ship in the foreground has at stern the stars and stripes, at the bowsprit it bears a Jack that is identical with the blue and white portion of Fig. 150.

In a Presidential Standard proposed in 1818 the flag is quartered. In the first quarter are twenty white stars on a blue field; in the second quarter is the eagle and thunderbolt; in the third a sitting figure emblematic of Liberty; in the fourth, seven red horizontal stripes alternating with six white ones. We found the flag figured in an old American book, but are unable to say whether such a flag was ever actually made, proposition and adoption not being altogether the same thing.

History repeated itself on the secession from the Union, in the year 1860, of North and South Carolina, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Virginia, Texas, Arkansas, and Tennessee. There was the same desire at first for individuality in the different flags adopted by the seceding States, the same unwillingness to break wholly away from the old flag, that we have seen as features in the first revolt.

Louisiana adopted the flag shown in Fig. 156; this was emblematic of the origin and history of the State, Louisiana having been settled by Louis Quatorze in 1718, ceded to Spain at the peace of 1763, restored to France in 1802, sold by France to America in 1803, and admitted as a State of the Union in 1812. The Spanish Flag, Fig. 192, is red and yellow, hence the golden star on the ruddy field, while the stripes of red, white and blue are the colours found in the flags of France and America.

On the election of President Lincoln in November, 1860, South Carolina, by vote of Convention, proclaimed her resumption of independence as a Sovereign State, and on the 17th of the month the new State Flag, having a green Palmetto palm in the centre of a [ 95 ] field of white, was hoisted in Charleston amidst the ringing of bells, a salute of one hundred guns, and every possible sign of public rejoicing. In January, 1861, the flag shown in Fig. 155 was substituted, the old crescent moon of the first rebellion, 1775, reappearing, but in the Charleston Mercury, of January 29th, 1861, we read that "the Legislature last night again altered the design of the State Flag. It now consists of a blue field with a white Palmetto palm tree in the middle. The white crescent in the upper flagstaff corner remains as before, but the horns pointing upwards. This may be regarded as final." This flag is shown in Fig. 159. Fig. 160 is the flag of Texas—"the lone star" State.

"Hurrah for the Lone Star!
 Up, up to the mast
With the honoured old bunting,
 And nail it there fast.
The ship is in danger,
 And Texans will fight
'Neath the flag of the Lone Star
 For God and their right."

When it became necessary, as it almost immediately did, to adopt one flag as the common Ensign of all the Confederate States, a special committee was appointed to consider the matter, and to study the numerous designs submitted to them. On presenting their report the Chairman said—"A flag should be simple, readily made, and capable of being made up in bunting; it should be different from the flag of any other country, place, or people: it should be significant: it should be readily distinguishable at a distance: the colours should be well contrasted and durable: and lastly, and not the least important point, it should be effective and handsome. The Committee humbly think that the flag which they submit combines these requirements. It is very easy to make; it is entirely different from any other national flag. The three colours of which it is composed—red, white, and blue—are the true Republican Colours; they are emblematic of the three great virtues—valour, purity, and truth. Naval men assure us that it can be recognised at a great distance. The colours contrast admirably, and are lasting. In effect and appearance it must speak for itself." The flag, thus highly and justly commended, was first hoisted on March 4th, 1861, at Montgomery. It is represented in Fig. 152, and was quickly known as the "Stars and Bars."[5] Even the New York Herald admitted that "the design of this flag is striking, and it has [ 96 ] the merit of originality as well as of durability." The circle of white stars was intended to correspond in number with the States in the Confederacy, but no great attention seems to have been paid to this. The flag may be seen engraved on the paper money of the different Southern States, and on other Government papers. In one example before us the stars are seven in number, and in another nine are shown, the number of seceding States being eleven.

While the "Stars and Bars," Fig. 152, was quite a different flag from Fig. 146, the "Stars and Stripes," it was found that, nevertheless, in the stress of battle confusion arose; so the battle flag, Fig. 153, known as the "Southern Cross," became largely adopted, though its use was never actually legalised. Here, again, we find that though eleven should be the proper number of the stars, they are in our illustration thirteen, while in one example we have found seventeen. It would be found in practice very difficult to make a pleasing arrangement of eleven stars; given a central one, and two on either side of it in the arms of the cross, and we get nine as a result, with three on either side it will total to thirteen, and with four it must take seventeen. In a few instances it may be seen without the red portions—a white flag with the blue cross and white stars. One great objection to the Southern Cross was that it was not adapted for sea service, since being alike in whatever way it was looked at, it could not be reversed in case of distress. To obviate this difficulty, at a Congress in Richmond in 1863 the form seen in Fig. 154 was adopted—a plain white flag having the Southern Cross as its Union; but this, in turn, was objected to as being too much like a flag of truce, so to meet this, in the following year, it was ordered that the space between the Union and the outer edge of the flag should be divided vertically in half, and that the outer half should be red: an alteration that may have been necessary, but which greatly spoiled the appearance of what was, before this, a handsome and striking flag. As the struggle came to an end in the following year, the "Stars and Bars" and the "Southern Cross" perished in the general downfall of the Southern cause—the victories of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Shenandoah Valley, Chattanooga, and many another hard-fought field, and the brilliant strategy of Lee, Beauregard, Longstreet, Jackson, Early, Hood, and many another gallant commander, being all in vain against the unlimited resources of the North. Over six hundred and fifty thousand human lives, over seven hundred millions of pounds sterling, were spent in what an American writer delicately calls "the late unpleasantness."

The Americans, jealous of the honour of their flag, have sometimes, to our insular notions, a rather odd way of showing it. Some [ 97 ] of our readers will remember how an American, some time ago, undertook to carry the flag of his country through England. Whatever visions he or his compatriots may have had of his defending it gallantly against hostile attack were soon proved to be baseless. Englishmen, cela va sans dire, have no hostility to the Americans, and the populace—urban, suburban, and rural—everywhere entered into the humour of the thing, and cheered the gallant sergeant and his bunting wherever he appeared. All the risk and terror of the exploit melted away in general acclamation and hearty welcome. An Englishman told us that in descending a mountain in Norway he met an American carrying something rolled up; he unfolded it, and displayed the Stars and Stripes, and said that he had brought it to plant on the summit of the mountain. Why he should do so is by no means apparent: but still, as it pleased him and hurt no one else, it would be churlish, indeed, to demur to so innocent a pastime. Our friend courteously raised his hat to the symbol of the great daughter nation over the ocean, whereupon the American heartily reciprocated, saying, "Thanks, stranger; and here's to the Union Jack."[6]

When the French declared war against Prussia, on July 16th, 1870, they were entirely unprepared for the enthusiasm and unity with which the various German States rallied together against the common opponent. It was thought that the Southern and Catholic States would, at least, be neutral, if they did not side with France against a Power that, during previous conflict with Austria, had laid heavy hand on those that had then taken sides against her. But this, after all, had been but a quarrel amongst themselves; and the attempt of France to violate German soil was at once the signal for Germans to stand shoulder to shoulder in one brotherhood against the common foe. The separate interests and grievances of Bavarians, Saxons, Hessians, Badeners, Brunswickers, Wurtemburgers, Hanoverians, were at once put aside, and united Germany, in solid phalanx, rose in irresistible might. In the great historic Palace of Versailles, in the hall dedicated "to all the glories of France," the Confederate Princes of Germany, headed by the King of Bavaria, [ 98 ] conferred on the King of Prussia the title of Emperor of Germany, bestowing on him the duty of representing all the German States in international questions, and appointing him and his successors the Commander-in-chief of the German forces. Thus, on January 17th, 1871, amid the acclamation of the allied Sovereigns and the deep bass of the cannon in the trenches surrounding the beleagured capital of the common enemy, the principle of German unity received its seal and consummation.

The War Ensign of the Empire is represented in Fig. 207. The colours of Prussia, black and white, and the Prussian Eagle enter largely into it, and perhaps it may at first sight appear that these symbols of the Prussian State are even a little too conspicuous, but it must be borne in mind that it is to the Sovereign of this State the headship of all is given, and that the vital interests of Prussia in the matter may be further illustrated by the fact that while she has a population, in round numbers, of thirty millions, Bavaria has but five, and Saxony three, while the Wurtemburgers and Badeners between them make up about another three millions, and no other State in the Empire comes at all near these figures. Prussia has over 130,000 square miles of territory to fight for, while Bavaria has but 29,292, and the next largest, Wurtemburg, has only an area of 7,531; in every way, political, commercial, or what not, the interests of Prussia are overwhelmingly predominant.

The flag of West Prussia is the black, white, black, shewn in Fig. 211, while the East Prussian flag is made up of but two horizontal strips, the upper black and the lower white. Hence the well-known war song, "Ich bin ein Preussen,"[7] commences,

"I am a Prussian! Know ye not my banner?
 Before me floats my flag of black and white!
My fathers died for freedom, 'twas their manner,
 So say those colours floating in your sight."

[ 99 ]

The black, white, and red canton in the staff-head corner of the flag is also made into an independent flag, as at Fig. 208, and used as a "Jack" in the Imperial Navy, while this same flag, Fig. 208, minus the cross, is the flag of the Mercantile Marine. On the 25th of October, 1867, on the establishment of the North German Confederacy, at the conclusion of the Austro-Prussian campaign, the King of Prussia sanctioned a proposal for a flag common to all. We find in this decree that "the confederate flag henceforth solely to bear the qualification of the national flag, and as such to be exclusively on board the merchantmen of the Confederacy, shall be composed of three equilateral stripes horizontally arranged: the colour of the top one being black, the middle stripe white, and that of the bottom stripe red." On the inclusion of the South German States on the formation of the German Empire, the latter still more potent and august body retained the Confederacy Flag for its mercantile marine. Up to the year 1867 no German national flag had ever flown on the ocean, as the various States and free cities had their special colours of merely local value.

The responsible Minister of the Crown, in a speech delivered in the Diet in 1867, stated to the members that the combination of colours was emblematic of a junction of the black-white Prussian flag with the red-white ensign of the Hanseatic League. This league of the sea-ports of Germany was organised in 1164 for their mutual defence and for the interchange of commercial advantages. As its strength and reputation increased, many other cities sought to be admitted, but international jealousies disintegrated the League, and by the year 1630 it was reduced from sixty-six cities to three—Lubeck, Hamburg, and Bremen. These three Hanse towns still retain special privileges. The red and the white in the German flag represents the commercial prosperity of the nation, while the black and white symbolises the strong arm of the State prepared to protect and foster it. The flags of these three cities still retain the old colours, Lubeck being half white and half red, Bremen red and white stripes, and Hamburg a white castle on a red field.

The arms of the Hohenzollerns are quarterly arranged. The first and fourth quarters are themselves quartered, black and white for Zollern, while the second and third quarters are azure with a golden stag for Sigmaringen. Friedrich VI., the first of the Hohenzollerns, the Burggraf of Nürnberg, became Friedrich I., Elector of Brandenburg, in 1417. There were twelve in all, of these Hohenzollern Electors, and Friedrich III., the last of these, became in 1701 the first King of Prussia. All the succeeding Sovereigns have been of the same house, so that the black and [ 100 ] white in the flag of to-day is the black and white that for over five hundred years has been emblazoned in the arms of the Hohenzollerns.

The cross on the flag (Figs. 207 and 208)—the "iron cross" so highly prized as the reward of fine service—is the cross of the Teutonic Order, and dates from the close of the 12th century. The history of the Teutonic Order, in its connexion with Prussia, is dealt with very fully in the first volume of Carlyle's "Frederick the Great."

The Imperial Standard of Germany has the iron cross, black with white border, on a yellow field, in the centre of all being a shield bearing the arms of Prussia, surmounted by a crown and surrounded by the collar of the Order of the Black Eagle. The yellow groundwork of the flag is diapered over in each quarter with three black eagles and a crown. The arms of the cross stretch out to the four edges of the flag.

The Admiral's flag in the Imperial German Navy is square, and consists of the black cross on a white ground—the cross, as in the standard, extending to the edges of the flag. The Vice-Admiral's flag is similar, but has in the upper staff-space a black ball in addition, while the Rear-Admiral has the same flag again, but with the addition of a black ball in each of the quarters nearest the mast. The Chief of the Admiralty has a white flag again with the cross in the centre, but in this case there is a considerable margin of white all round, and four red anchors are placed so that they extend in a sloping direction from the corners of the flag towards the inner angles of the cross. We get the characteristic black and white again in the burgee of the Imperial Yacht Club, which is thus quartered, an upright line meeting a horizontal one in the centre of the burgee, and thus giving a first and fourth black quarter and a second and third white one. The signal for a pilot again is a white flag with a broad border of black; if our readers will take a mourning envelope with a good deep margin of black to it, they will see the effect exactly.

German vessels engaged in trade on the East African coast fly the black, white, red, but in the centre of the white stripe is a blue anchor placed erect, while the Imperial Governor in East Africa substitutes for the anchor the black eagle. The German East Africa Company's flag is white cut into quarters by a narrow and parallel-edged cross and a red canton with five white stars on it in the quarter nearest the masthead.

While we find amongst the minor States of Germany Oldenburg, Fig. 204, with a cross-bearing flag, the greater number are made up of stripes disposed horizontally, and either two or three in number. Thus Fig. 199 is the white-green of Saxony, Fig. 200 [ 101 ] the black-red-yellow of Waldeck, Fig. 202 the blue-white of Pomerania, Fig. 203 the black-red of Wurtemburg, Fig. 205 the red-yellow-blue of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Fig. 206 the blue-yellow of Brunswick, Fig. 209 the green-white of Saxe-Coburg Gotha, Fig. 210 the blue-red-white of Schomberg Lippe, Fig. 212 the red-white of Hesse. Others that we have not figured are the red-yellow of Baden, the white-blue of Bavaria, the yellow-white of Hanover, the yellow-red of Elsass, the red-yellow of Lothringen.[8] To these, others might be added: Sleswig-Holstein, Brandenburg, Posen, Silesia, etc., all agreeing in the same general character.

The Imperial Standard of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy is yellow, and has in its centre the black double-headed eagle and a bordering all round composed of equal-sided triangles turning alternately their apices inwards and outwards; the first of these are alternately yellow and white, the second alternately scarlet and black. On the displayed wings of the eagle are the arms of the eleven provinces of the empire.

The war-ensign of the monarchy in represented in Fig. 213; it is composed of three equal horizontal bands of red, white, red, and bears in its centre beneath the Imperial crown a shield similarly divided. This flag originated in 1786, when the Emperor Joseph II. decreed its introduction. This shield was the heraldic device of the ancient Dukes of Austria, and is known to have been in existence in the year 1191, as Duke Leopold Heldenthum bore these arms at that date during the Crusades.

The "Oesterreich-Ungarische Monarchie," to give it its official title, is under the command of one Sovereign, who is both Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary, but each of these great States has its own Parliament, Ministry, and Administration. Austria had long held the Hungarians in most unwilling subjection, and the disastrous outcome for Austria of the war with Prussia made it absolutely essential to make peace with Hungary, the Magyars seeing in the humiliation of Austria the opportunity that they had long been awaiting of becoming once again an independent State. A compromise was effected in February, 1867, by which the Hungarians were willing to remain under the rule of the Emperor of Austria, but only on condition that he submitted to be crowned King of Hungary, and that in the dual monarchy thus [ 102 ] created they should have absolutely the same rights and freedom as the Austrians. The Austrian flag, as we have seen, is red-white-red, while the Hungarian is red-white-green, and a commission being appointed to consider how these two flags could be blended into one, introduced on March 6th, 1869, as the result of its deliberations, the Austro-Hungarian national flag that we have represented in Fig. 214.

The Austrian provinces have chiefly bi- or tri-color flags, the stripes being arranged horizontally. Thus Bohemia is red-white; Tyrol is white-red; Dalmatia is blue-yellow; Galicia is blue-red; Croatia is red-white-blue; Istria yellow-red-blue.

We are so used in England to the idea that cheering is a spontaneous product that it seems strange to find that the official welcome by the Austrian fleet to their Emperor is a salute of twenty-one guns, followed by fifteen hurrahs. Each rank has its special limit of honour; thus a minister of State or field-marshal is saluted by nineteen guns and eleven hurrahs; a general by thirteen and seven, while a commodore drops to eleven and three; ambassadors, archbishops, consuls, all have their definite share of gunpowder and such specified amount of shouting as is held to be befitting to their position.

The Imperial Standard of the Czar of all the Russias is the brilliant yellow and black flag represented in Fig. 226. The introduction of the black two-headed eagle dates back from the year 1472, when Ivan the Great married Sophia, a niece of Constantine Palæolagus, and thence assumed the arms of the Greek Empire. On the breast of the eagle is an escutcheon bearing on its red field in silver the figure of St. George slaying the dragon, the whole being surrounded by the collar of the Order of St. Andrew. On the displayed wings of the eagle are other shields, too small for representation in our figure, bearing the arms of Kiow, a silver angel on an azure field; of Novgorod, two black bears on a golden shield; of Voldermirz, a golden lion rampant on a red shield; of Kasan, a black wyvern on a silver ground, and so forth. The flag of the Czarina is similar, except that it has a broad blue bordering to it.

A new Standard is made for each Czar. It was originally borne before him in battle, but this custom has fallen into disuse, and it is now deposited with the rest of the regalia. On the heavy gold brocade is embroidered the black eagle, and around this the arms of the provinces of the Empire. From the eagle that surmounts the staff are pendant the blue ribbons of the Order of St. Andrew, embroidered in gold, with the dates of the foundation of the Russian State in 862, the baptism by St. Vladimir in 986, the union of all Russian possessions under the sceptre of John III. in 1497, and the [ 103 ] proclamation of the Empire by Peter the Great. Its dedication is a great religious function, and its sacred character and its appeal to a lofty patriotism duly enforced. Thus we find the Imperial Chaplain addressing the present Czar before the consecration of the standard as follows:—

"Divine Providence has resolved, by the right of succession to the Throne, to entrust to thee, as Supreme Head and Autocrat of the Peoples of the Empire of all the Russias, this Sacred Banner, an emblem of its unity and power.

"We pray the Heavenly Father for the union of all thy subjects in loyalty and devotion to their Throne and Country, and in the unselfish fulfilment of their patriotic duties.

"May this Banner inspire thy enemies with dread, may it be a sign to thee of Divine Assistance, and in the name of God, of the Orthodox Faith, of Right and of Justice; may it help thee, in spite of all obstacles, to lead thy people to prosperity, greatness, and glory."

After the Benediction, holy water was sprinkled upon the standard, and the Czar, as the embodiment of the Nation, was again addressed:—

"The Almighty has been pleased, in the course of the law of inheritance, to enthrone you as the Sovereign Ruler of all the peoples of the Russian nation; this sacred Standard is a token of unity and power. We pray it may unite all thy subjects in unquestioning loyalty to the Throne and Country, and in unselfish fulfilment of each duty of a subject. May it be to thee a sign, terrible to the foes of Russia, of the help given by the Lord God to the glory of His Holy Name, that, through Orthodox Faith, notwithstanding all limitations, thy people may be led to prosperity, greatness, and glory; so shall all nations know that God is on our side."

The Russians venerate St. Andrew as their patron Saint, believing that it was he who carried the doctrines of Christianity into their midst. Origen asserts that he preached in Scythia. Peter the Great instituted under his name and protection, in the year 1698, the first and most noble order of Knighthood of the Russian Empire as a reward for the valour of his officers in the war against the Ottomans. The badge is the X-like cross of St. Andrew displayed upon the Imperial Eagle and pendant from a broad blue ribbon. We have already seen that St. Andrew is the Patron Saint of Scotland also, but in Scotland the cross, Fig. 92, is white upon a field of blue, while in Russia, Fig. 217, it is blue upon a field of white. This flag, Fig. 217, is the war ensign, the flag of the Imperial Navy.

The creed of the Russian Church extols the worship of Saints, and amongst the numerous subjects of veneration St. George takes [ 104 ] rank next to St. Andrew himself. Hence we see his presentment on the Standard of the Czar, and hence Catherine II., in 1762, instituted an order of knighthood in his honour. The badge is a cross of gold, having in its centre a medallion with a figure of the saint slaying the dragon; the ribbon being yellow and black. St. George, we need scarcely remind our readers, is the great warrior-Saint of England too, but while we place his scarlet cross, Fig. 91, on the field of white, the Russians reverse the arrangement and place his white cross on scarlet.[9]

Fig. 215 is the Russian Union Jack that combines the crosses of St. Andrew and St. George. Fig. 73 is the British Union Jack that deals with precisely the same combination.

The flag of the Russian merchant service is represented in Fig. 218. This was originally instead of being white, blue, red, a flag of blue, white, red. Peter the Great borrowed this from the Dutch, amongst whom he learnt ship-building. The Dutch flag, Fig. 237, it will be seen is a tricolor of red, white, blue. Peter simply turned this upside down, and afterwards, for greater distinction, charged the central white space with a small blue St. Andrew's Cross, as we see in Fig. 219, which represents this early form of flag. Later on, for still greater clearness of distinction, the blue and the white strips changed places, and so we get the modern Russian mercantile flag, as shown in Fig. 218. It was evidently undesirable that the flag of the great Empire of Russia should be the same as that of a reversed Dutch ensign—a signal of distress and disaster.

Based upon these two simple forms, the government Cross of St. Andrew, Fig. 217, and the commercial tricolor, Fig. 218, we get a great variety of official flags. Thus Fig. 220 is a very happy blending of the two forms in the flag of a Consul-General, since he is an official of the State, and at the same time his duties deal largely with commercial interests; and much the same ground may be taken as regards the blending of the two flags in Fig. 221, the flag of a Russian Chargé d'Affaires. Fig. 223 is the ensign of a Russian transport; if of the second division the field of the flag is blue, and if of the third it is red, in each of these cases the crossed anchors being white. The Russian signal for a pilot is the Jack shown in Fig. 215, but with a broad white border to it. [ 105 ]

A Russian Ambassador or Minister Plenipotentiary flies the flag shown in Fig. 222. In the Imperial Navy we find a considerable variety of flag types. While the full Admiral flies the Imperial Naval Flag, Fig. 217, that of the Vice-Admiral has along its bottom edge a horizontal strip of blue, and that of the Rear-Admiral in the same position a strip of red. The flag of the Minister of Marine is the official flag, Fig. 217, except that instead of the four plain white spaces there seen these triangles hold each of them a golden anchor, the fluke end outwards. There are many other modifications that we need not here particularise.

Fig. 216 is the official flag of Poland; the device in the canton in the upper corner, the white eagle on the scarlet field, is the ancient Polish flag, when Poland was yet a nation.

The early history of the French flag is lost in obscurity, and it is not always easy to trace the various modifications that it has undergone. At the earliest date of which we have record we find the kings of the Franks marshalling their forces under the plain blue flag known as the Chape de St. Martin. Later on the red flag of St. Denis, known as the oriflamme, came into use, and was held in great popular esteem, until by the tenth century we find it accepted as the national flag, though the blue flag still held its ground as a recognised flag. We may, in fact, assume that as the Russians placed themselves beneath the protection both of St. George and also of St. Andrew, so the French felt that a double claim on saintly assistance would be by no means amiss.

The Chape de St. Martin was originally in the keeping of the monks of the Abbey of Marmoutiers, and popular belief held it to be a portion of the actual blue cloak that the legend affirms the Saint divided with the beggar suppliant. The Counts of Anjou claimed the right to take this blue flag to battle with them. We find it borne by Clovis in the year 507 against Alaric, and again by Charlemagne at the battle of Narbonne; and time after time it led the hosts of France to victory. When the kings of France transferred the seat of government to Paris, the great local Saint, St. Denis, was held in high honour, and the scarlet flag of the Abbey Church of St. Denis gradually ousted the blue flag of St. Martin, and "St. Denis" became the war-cry of France.[10] Fig. 179 is a representation of the oriflamme from some ancient stained glass, but the authorities differ somewhat; thus the "Chronique de Flandre" describes it as having three points and tassels of green [ 106 ] silk attached thereto, while an English authority says, "The celestial auriflamb, so by the French admired, was but of one colour, a square redde banner." Du Cange gives no hint of its shape, but affirms that it was simple, "sans portraiture d'autre affaire." All therefore that seems quite definite is that it was a plain scarlet flag. The last time that the sacred ensign was borne to battle was at Agincourt on October 25th, 1415, when it certainly failed to justify the confidence of its votaries.

The precise date when the golden fleurs-de-lys were added to the blue flag is open to doubt, but we find the form at a very early date, and from the first recognition of heraldic coats of arms this blazon was the accepted cognizance of the kings of France. We see this represented in Fig. 184. Originally the fleurs-de-lys were powdered, as in Fig. 188, over the whole surface, but in the reign of Charles V., A.D. 1365, the number was reduced to three.[11]

The meaning of the fleur-de-lys has given rise to much controversy; some will tell us that it is a lily flower or an iris, while others affirm that it is a lance-head. Some authorities see in it an arbitrary floral form assumed by King Louis,[12] and therefore the fleur-de-Louis; while others are so hard put to it that they tell us of a river Lys in Flanders that was so notable for its profusion of yellow iris that the flower became known as the fleur-de-Lys. The ancient chronicles gravely record that they were lilies brought from Paradise by an angel to King Clovis in the year 496, on the eve of a great battle fought near Cologne. Clovis made a vow that if he were victorious he would embrace the Christian faith, and the angel visitant and the celestial gift were a proof that his prayers were heard and his vow accepted. As the belief that France was in an especial degree under Divine protection was a very flattering one, the lilies were held for centuries in great favour; and the fleur-de-lys did not finally disappear from the flag of France until the downfall of Louis Philippe in the year 1848, a date within the recollection, doubtless, of some of our readers. Finality, indeed, may not even yet have been reached in the matter. As the bees of Napoleon I. reappeared in the arms of Napoleon III., so the fleur-de-lys may yet again appear on the ensigns of France. By virtue of a Napoleonic decree in 1852 against factious or treasonable emblems, it was forbidden to introduce the fleur-de-lys in jewellery, tapestry, or any other decorative way, lest its introduction might peril the position of a [ 107 ] sovereign who rose to power by lavish bribery, and the free outpouring of blood. Napoleon the First, and at least by contrast the Great, when at Auch enquired the reason why many of the windows of the cathedral were partially concealed by paper, and he was informed that it was because it was feared that he would be offended at the sight of certain ancient emblems there represented. "What!" he exclaimed, "the fleurs-de-lys? Uncover them this moment. During eight centuries they guided the French to glory, as my eagles do now, and they must always be dear to France and held in reverence by her true children."

The white cross frequently appears on the early French flags. Fig. 188, the flag of the French Guards in the year 1563, is a good example of this. We find Favyn, in a book published in Paris in 1620, "Le Théâtre d'honneur et de Chevalerie," writing: "Le grand estendard de satin bleu celeste en riche broderie de fleurs de lys d'or a une grande croix plein de satin blanc, qui est la croix de France." Figs. 180 and 181 are taken from a MS. executed in the time of Louis XII., A.D. 1498, illustrating a battle scene; these two flags are placed by the side of the fleur-de-lys flag, Fig. 184. When Louis XI., in 1479, organised the national infantry we find him giving them as the national ensign a scarlet flag with white cross on it; and some two hundred years later we find the various provincial levies beneath flags of various designs and colours, but all agreeing in having the white cross as the leading feature. Fig. 182, for example, is that of the Soissonois. Desjardins, in his excellent book on the French flag,[13] gives a great many illustrations of these. In the Musée d'Artillerie in Paris we find a very valuable collection of martial equipments from the time of Charlemagne, and amongst these a fine series (original where possible, or, failing this copies) of the flags of France from the year 1250.

The Huguenot party in France adopted the white flag, and when King Henry III., 1574 to 1589, himself a Protestant, came to the throne, the white flag became the royal ensign, and was fully adopted in the next reign, that of Henry IV., the first king of the house of Bourbon, as the national flag. The whole history of the flag prior to the Great Revolution, is somewhat confused, and in the year 1669, which we may consider about the middle of the Bourbon or white flag period,[14] we find the order given by the [ 108 ] Minister of the Marine that "the ensigns are to be blue, powdered with yellow fleurs-de-lys, with a large white cross in the middle." Merchant ships were to wear the same flag as the ships of war except that in the canton corner was to be placed the device of their province or town. Before the end of the year a new order was issued to the effect that "the ensigns at the stern are to be in all cases white," while the merchants were to fly the white flag with the device of the port in the corner. The white flag was sometimes plain, as in Fig. 183, and at other times provided with yellow fleurs-de-lys. On the restoration of the Bourbons in 1814, after the Republic, Consulate, and Empire, the white flag was again the flag of the nation, and remained so until 1830, its last appearance in France, unless or until the house of Bourbon again arises to the throne, when the restoration of the drapeau blanc would probably follow. The white flag has therefore been the national ensign of France for over two hundred years.

In a book in the library of the Science and Art Department, South Kensington, we found the flag represented in Fig. 185 figured as the French Standard, with Fig. 187 apparently as an alternative, while the National flag of France is represented as the tricolor with bordering shown in Fig. 189, and the Admiral's flag is given as pure white. The book is entitled "A Display of Naval Flags of all Nations." It was published in Liverpool; no date is given, but we can arrive approximately at this, as the British Standard is represented as including the arms of Hanover; this limits its publication to between the years 1714 and 1837.

The well-known tricolor of France, Fig. 191, dates from the era of the Revolution and came into existence in 1789. It has, with the exception of the short Bourbon Restoration, been the flag of France for over a century, and it remains so to this day, though it underwent some few modifications ere it settled down to the present form. Thus, for instance, on October 24th 1790, it was decreed that the colour next the staff was to be red, the central strip white and the outer blue, but on February 15th, 1794, it was ordered that "the flag prescribed by the National Assembly be abolished. The national flag shall be formed of the three national colours in equal bands placed vertically, the hoist being blue, the centre white, and the fly red." On the Revolution of 1848, the provisional government ordered on March 5th that the colours were to run thus—blue, red, white, but the opposition to this was so strong that only two days later the order was cancelled. In 1790 the tricolor was made the Jack, and the ensign was as shown in Fig. 190. This ensign was to be common to both the men-of-war and the flags of the merchant navy, but the arrangement was not of long continuance. The spirit of change that was felt in every department affected the flags [ 109 ] likewise, and some little time elapsed before the matter was satisfactorily settled.

The arms of Paris are a white galley on a red ground, and above this are three golden fleurs-de-lys on a blue band or strip. On July 14th, 1789, it was determined that a civic guard of forty thousand men should be raised, and that its colours should be those of the city, the gules and azure of the groundwork of the escutcheon, to which, on the proposal of Lafayette, the white of the royal drapeau blanc was added.

During the first and second Empire the Imperial Standard was still the tricolor, but it bore in the centre of the white strip the eagle; and all three strips were richly diapered over with the golden bees of the Napoleons. The national flag was the tricolor pure and simple, both for the Imperial and the Commercial Navy. As the flags of the army were borne on staffs surmounted by a golden eagle, the term "eagle" was often applied to these colours.[15]

On the outbreak of the second Republic in 1848, the people immediately on its proclamation demanded the adoption of the ill-omened red flag. Lamartine, the leading member of the provisional Government, closed an impassioned address with the words: "Citizens, I will reject even to death this banner of blood, and you should repudiate it still more than myself, for this red flag you offer us has only made the circuit of the Champs de Mars bathed in the blood of the people, while the tricolor has made the circuit of the world, with the name, the glory, and the liberty of your country." Louis Blanc and other members of the Government were in favour of the red flag, and at last a compromise was effected and the tricolor was accepted with the addition of a large red rosette. Louis Blanc, not unreasonably, as a Republican, pointed out that Lafayette had in 1789 associated the white of the Bourbon flag with the red and blue of the arms of the City, and that the tricolor flag was therefore the result of a compromise between the king and the people, but that in 1848 the king having abdicated, and monarchy done away with, there was no reason why any suggestion of the kingly power should continue. Doubtless the suppression of the flag of the barricades, the symbol of civil strife, [ 110 ] of anarchy and bloodshed, and the retaining of the tricolor was the wiser and more patriotic course, though it required no mean amount of courage and strong personal influence to effect the change.

The Imperial Eagle, so long a symbol of victory, has now in these Republican days[16] disappeared from the national colours. The flag of the French army is now surmounted by a wreath of laurel traversed by a golden dart with the letters R.F. and the regimental number, while on one face of the flag itself is, in the middle, the inscription "Republique Française, Honneur et Patrie," each corner being occupied by a golden wreath enclosing the number of the regiment. The name of the regiment and its "honours" occupy the other side.

The pendant of the French man-of-war is simply, Fig. 186, the tricolor elongated. The Admiral flies a swallow-tailed tricolor, while the Rear-Admiral and the Vice-Admiral have flags of the ordinary shape, like Fig. 191, except that the former officer has two white stars on the blue strip near the top of it, and the latter three. Maritime prefects have the three white stars on the blue plus two crossed anchors in blue in the centre of the white strip. The Governor of a French colony has such a special and distinctive flag as Fig. 96 would be if, instead of the Union canton on the blue, we placed in similar place the tricolor. There are naturally a great many other official flags, but the requirements of our space forbid our going into any further description of them.

The war and mercantile flags of Spain have undergone many changes, and their early history is very difficult to unravel; but on May 28th, 1785, the flags were adopted that have continued in use ever since. Fig. 192 is the flag of the Spanish Navy; it consists, as will be seen, of three stripes—a central yellow one, and a red one, somewhat narrower, above and below. The original proportion was that the yellow should be equal in width to the two red ones combined. This central stripe is charged, near the hoist, with an escutcheon containing the arms of Castile and Leon, and surmounted by the royal crown. The mercantile flag, Fig. 193, is also red and yellow. The yellow stripe in the centre is without the escutcheon, and in width it should be equal to one-third of the entire depth of the flag, the remaining thirds above and below it being divided into two equal strips, the one red and the other yellow. This simple striping of the two colours was doubtless [ 111 ] suggested by the arms of Arragon, the vertical red and yellow bars[17] of which may be seen also in the Spanish Royal Standard, Fig. 194. Spain, like Italy, has grown into one monarchy by the aggregation of minor States. In the year 1031 we have the Union of Navarre and Castile; in 1037 we find Leon and Asturias joining this same growing kingdom, and in the year 1474 Ferdinand II. of Arragon married Isabella of Castile, and thus united nearly the whole of the Christian part of Spain into one monarchy. In 1492 this same prince added to his dominions Moorish Spain by the conquest of Granada.

Legend hath it that in the year 873 the Carlovingian Prince Charles the Bold honoured Geoffrey, Count of Barcelona, by dipping his four fingers in the blood from the Count's wounds after a battle in which they were allied, and drawing them down the Count's golden shield, and that these ruddy bars were then and there incorporated in the blazon. Barcelona was shortly afterwards merged into the kingdom of Arragon, and its arms were adopted as those of that kingdom. Its four upright strips of red, the marks of the royal fingers, are just beyond the upper shield in Fig. 194.

The pendant of the Spanish Navy bears at its broad end a golden space in which the arms and crown, as in Fig. 192, are placed; the rest of the streamer is a broad strip of yellow, bordered, as in Fig. 192, by two slightly narrower strips of red.

The Royal Standard of Spain, Fig. 194, is of very elaborate character, and many of its bearings are as inappropriate to the historic facts of the present day as the retention in the arms of Great Britain of the French fleurs-de-lys centuries after all claim to its sovereignty had been lost. In the upper left hand part of the flag we find quartered the lion of Leon and the castle of Castile.[18] At the point we have marked "C" are the arms of Arragon. "D" is the device of Sicily. The red and white stripes at "E" are the arms of Austria; we have already encountered these in Fig. 213. The flag of ancient Burgundy, oblique stripes of yellow and blue within a red border, is placed at "F." The black lion on the golden ground at "G" is the heraldic bearing of Flanders, while the red eagle "H" is the device of Antwerp. At "I" we have the [ 112 ] golden lion of Brabant, and above it at "J" the fleurs-de-lys and chequers of ancient Burgundy. The upper small shield contains the arms of Portugal, and the lower contains the fleurs-de-lys of France.[19]

The Portuguese were an independent nation until Philip II. of Spain overran the country, and annexed it in the year 1580 to his own dominions, but in the year 1640 they threw off the Spanish yoke, which had grown intolerable, and raised John, Duke of Braganza, to the throne. The regal power has ever since remained in this family.

The Royal Standard bears on its scarlet field the arms of Portugal, surmounted by the regal crown. These arms were originally only the white shield with the five smaller escutcheons that we see in the centre of the present blazon. Would the scale of our illustration (Fig. 195) permit it, each of these small escutcheons should bear upon its surface five white circular spots. Portugal was invaded by the Moors in the year 713, and the greater part of the country was held by them for over three centuries. In the year 1139 Alphonso I. defeated an alliance of five great Moorish princes at the Battle of Ourique, and the five escutcheons in the shield represents the five-fold victory, while the five circles placed on each escutcheon symbolise the five wounds of the Saviour in whose strength he defeated the infidels. The scarlet border with its castles was added by Alphonso III., after his marriage in 1252 with the daughter of Alphonso the Wise, King of Castile, the arms of which province, as we have already seen in discussing the Spanish Standard, are a golden castle on a red field.

In an English poem, written by an eye-witness of the Siege of Rouen in the year 1418, we find an interesting reference to the arms of Portugal, where we read of

"The Kyngis herandis and pursiuantis,
In cotis of armys arryauntis.
The Englishe a beste, the Frensshe a floure
Of Portyugale bothe castelle and toure,
And other cotis of diversitie
As lordis beren in ther degre."[20]

The Portuguese ensign for her vessels of war and also for the merchant service bears the shield and crown, but instead of the [ 113 ] scarlet field we find the groundwork of the flag half blue, and half white, as shown in Fig. 196. The choice of these special colours, no doubt, arose from the arms on the original shield, the five blue escutcheons on the white ground. The Portuguese Jack has the national arms and royal crown in the centre of a white field, the whole being surrounded by the broad border of blue.

Italy, for centuries a geographical expression, is now one and indivisible. Within the recollection of many of our readers the peninsula was composed of the Kingdom of the two Sicilies, the Pontifical States, the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, the Duchies of Parma and Modena. There was also in the north the Kingdom of Sardinia, while Lombardy and Venetia were in the grip of Austria. It is somewhat beside our present purpose to go into the wonderful story of how Victor Emmanuel of Savoy, aided by Cavour, Garibaldi, and many another noble patriot, by diplomacy, by lives freely laid down on the Tchernaya, on the fields of Magenta and Solferino, by the disaster at Sedan, by bold audacity at one time, by patient waiting at another, was finally installed in Rome, the Capital of United Italy, as king of a great and free nation of over thirty millions of people. Suffice it now to say that this Kingdom of Italy, as we now know it, did not achieve until the year 1870 this full unity under one flag that had been for centuries the dream of patriots who freely shed their blood on the battlefield or the scaffold, or perished in the dungeons of Papal Rome, or Naples, or Austria for this ideal.

On the downfall in 1861 of the Bourbon Government in the Kingdom of the two Sicilies before the onslaught of the Volunteers of Garibaldi, the first National Parliament met in Turin, and proclaimed Victor Emmanuel King of Italy. The title was at once acknowledged by Great Britain, and, later on, by the other Powers, and the capital of the rising State was transferred to Florence. The Papal States were still under the protection of France, "the eldest Son of the Church"; and the young Kingdom, unable to wrest Rome from the French, had to wait with such patience as it could command for the consummation of its hopes. The long-looked-for day at last arrived, when amidst the tremendous defeats inflicted in 1870 by Germany on France, the French garrison in Rome was withdrawn, and the Italians, after a short, sharp conflict with the Papal troops, entered into possession of the Eternal City, and at once made it the Capital of a State at last free throughout its length and breadth—no longer a geographical expression, but a potent factor to be reckoned with and fully recognised.

Napoleon I. formed Italy into one kingdom in the year 1805, but it was ruled by himself and the Viceroy, Eugene Beauharnois, he appointed; and on his overthrow this, like the various other political [ 114 ] arrangements he devised, came to nought. The flag he bestowed was a tricolor of green, white, and red, his idea being that, while giving the new Kingdom a flag of its own, it should indicate by its near resemblance to that of France the source to which it owed its existence. In 1848, the great revolutionary period, this flag, which had passed out of existence on the downfall of Napoleon, was reassumed by the Nationalists of the Peninsula, and accepted by the King of Sardinia as the ensign of his own kingdom, and charged by him with the arms of Savoy. This tricolor, so charged (see Fig. 197) was the flag to which the eyes of all Italian patriots turned, and it is to-day the flag of all Italy. The flag we have represented is the ensign of the Merchant Service; the flag of the armed forces military and naval, is similar, save that the shield in the centre is surmounted by the Royal Crown. The Royal Standard, the personal flag of the King, has the arms of Savoy in the centre, on a white ground, the whole having a broad bordering of blue.

This shield of Savoy, the white cross on the red field, was the device of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, an order semi-religious, semi-military, that owed its origin to the Crusades. In the year 1310 the Knights captured Rhodes from the Saracens, but being hard pressed by the infidels, Duke Amadeus IV., of Savoy, came to the rescue, and the Grand Master of the Order conferred upon him the cross that has ever since been borne in the arms of Savoy. The Jack or bowsprit flag of the Italian man-of-war, Fig. 234, is simply this shield of the Knights of St. John squared into suitable flag-like form.

The Minister of Marine has the tricolor, but on the green portion is placed erect a golden anchor. The vessels carrying the Royal Mail fly a burgee of green, white, red, having a large white "P" on the green; and there are many other official flags, the insignia of various authorities or different departments, but lack of space forbids our dwelling at greater length upon them.

The war flag of the defunct temporal power of the Pope was white, and in its centre stood figures of St. Peter and St. Paul, and above them the cross keys and tiara. Fig. 198 was the flag of the merchant ships owned by the subjects of the States of the Church. The combination of yellow and white is very curious. In the banner borne by Godfrey, the Crusader King of Jerusalem, the only tinctures introduced were the two metals, gold and silver, five golden crosses being placed upon a silver field. This was done of deliberate intention that it might be unlike all other devices, as it is in all other cases deemed false heraldry to place metal on metal. The theory that these metals were selected because of the reference in the Psalms to the Holy City, may also be a very possible one—"Though ye have lien amongst the pots, yet shall ye [ 115 ] be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold." However this may be, the yellow and white of the arms of Jerusalem was adopted by the Papal Government.

The Danish flag is the oldest now in existence. In the year 1219, King Waldemar of Denmark in a critical moment in his stormy career, saw, or thought he saw, or said he saw, a cross in the sky. He was then leading his troops to battle against the Livonian pagans, and he gladly welcomed this answer to his prayers for Divine succour, this assurance of celestial aid. This sign from Heaven he forthwith adopted as the flag of his country, and called it the Dannebrog, i.e., the strength of Denmark. As a definite chronological fact, apart from all legend, this flag dates from the thirteenth century. There was also an Order of Dannebrog instituted in 1219, in further commemoration and honour of the miracle; and the name is a very popular one in the Danish Royal Navy, one man-of-war after another succeeding to the appellation. One of these Dannebrogs was blown up by the fire of Nelson's fleet in 1801.

The Danish Man-of-War Ensign is shown in Fig. 224. The Royal Standard, like the Ensign, is swallow-tailed, but in the centre of the cross is placed a white square, indicated in our illustration, Fig. 224, by dots. This central, square space contains the Royal Arms, surrounded by the Collars of the Orders of the Elephant and of the Dannebrog. The merchant flag, Fig. 225, is rectangular.

In the year 1397, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark all formed one kingdom under the rule of the latter, but in 1414 the Swedes waged with more or less success an arduous struggle for liberty, and their independence was definitely acknowledged in the year 1523. The flag of Sweden is the yellow cross on the blue ground shown in Fig. 231. The blue and yellow are the colours of the Swedish arms,[21] and they were then doubtless chosen for the flag as the colours of freedom and independence.

Norway had no separate political existence until the year 1814, but in that year the Norwegians seceded from Denmark, and declared their independence. Their first flag was still a red flag with a white cross on it, and the arms of Norway in the upper corner next the flagstaff, but this being found to too closely resemble the Danish flag, they substituted for it the device seen in Fig. 230, which it will be noted is still the Danish flag, plus the blue cross on the white one. The administration of Norway is entirely distinct from Sweden, and it retains its own laws, but in 1814 the two Kingdoms were united under one Sovereign. As a sign of the union there is carried in the upper square, next to the flagstaff in the flags of both countries, a union device, a combination of the Swedish [ 116 ] and Norwegian National colours. After considerable dispute, the Union Jack shown in Fig. 229 was accepted as the symbol of the political relationship of the two nations. It is a very neat arrangement, for if we look at the upper and lower portions we see the flag (Fig. 230) of Norway, if we study the two lateral portions we find they are the flag (Fig. 231) of Sweden. Both the Swedish and Norwegian war flags are swallow-tailed, and have the outer limb of the cross projecting; we may see this very clearly in Fig. 228, where the main body of the flag is Norwegian. The merchant flag is with each nationality rectangular; in Fig. 227 we have the flag of a Swedish merchant vessel. Both in the Norwegian and Swedish flags, as we may note in Figs. 227 and 228, it will be noticed that the Union device is conspicuously present. The Norwegian man-of-war flag, Fig. 228, would be that of a Norwegian merchant if we cut off the points in the fly; the Swedish merchant flag, Fig. 227, would be that of a Swedish man-of-war if instead of the straight end we made it swallow-tailed. As Sovereign of Sweden, the King places his arms in the centre of the large yellow cross; as Sovereign of Norway, in the centre of the large blue cross; hence we get the Swedish and Norwegian Royal Standards, the one for use in the one country, and the other for service in the other, the Union device being present in the upper corner in each case, and the outer portion of the flags swallow-tailed. The Standard is, in fact, the war flag plus the royal arms. The Post Service has in the centre of the flag a white square, with a golden horn and crown in it; the Customs flag has a similar white square at the junction of the arms of the cross, and in its centre is placed a crowned "T."

Fig. 232, on the same sheet as the flags of Norway and Sweden, is the simple and beautiful flag of Switzerland. Like the crosses of St. George, St. Andrew, St. Patrick, or that on the flag of Denmark, its device has a religious significance. Gautier tells us that:—"La première fois qu'il en est fait mention dans l'histoire écrite est dans la Chronique du Bearnois Justinger. Il dit, après avoir fait l'énumération des forces des Suisses quittant Berne pour marcher contre l'armée des nobles coalisés en 1339—'Et tous étaient marqués au signe de la Sainte Croix, une croix blanche dans un écusson rouge, par la raison que l'affranchissement de la nation était pour eux une cause aussi sacrée que la délivrance des lieux saints.'"

Its twenty-two cantons are united by a Constitution, under one President and one flag, but each canton has its own cantonal colours. Thus Basel is half black and half white; St. Gallen, green and white; Geneva, red and yellow; Aargau, black and blue; Glarus, red, black, and white; Uri, yellow and black; Berne, black and red; Fribourg, black and white; Lucerne, blue and white; [ 117 ] Tessin, red and blue; and so forth. In each case the stripes of colour are disposed horizontally, and the one we have each time mentioned first is the upper colour.

Within the walls of the City of Geneva was held, in 1863, an International Conference, to consider how far the horrors of war could be mitigated by aid to the sick and wounded. This Conference proposed that in time of war the neutrality should be fully admitted of field and stationary hospitals, and also recognised in the most complete manner by the belligerent Powers in the case of all officials employed in sanitary work, volunteer nurses, the inhabitants of the country who shall assist the wounded, and the wounded themselves—that an identical distinctive sign should be adopted for the medical corps of all armies, and that an identical flag should be used for all hospitals and ambulances, and for all houses containing wounded men. The distinctive mark of all such refuges is a white flag with a red cross on it—the flag of Switzerland reversed in colouring—and all medical stores, carriages, and the like, bear the same device upon them; while the doctors, nurses, and assistants, have a white armlet with the red cross upon it, the sacred badge that proclaims their mission of mercy. In deference to the religious feelings of Turkey a red crescent may be substituted for the cross in campaigns where that country is one of the belligerents. These valuable proposals were confirmed by a treaty in August, 1864, signed by the representatives of twelve Powers, and known as the Geneva Convention. Since then all the civilised Powers in the world, with the exception of the United States, have given in their adhesion to it. In 1867 an International Conference was held at Paris for still further developing and carrying out in a practical manner the principles of the Geneva Conference, and another at Berlin in 1869 for the same object. One notable feature of these two Conferences was the extension of the principles accepted for land conflict to naval warfare.

Holland, as an Independent State, came into existence in the year 1579. From 1299 we find the country under the rule of the Courts of Hainault, and in 1436 it came into the hands of the Dukes of Burgundy, who in turn were subjugated by the Spaniards. The tyranny and religious persecution to which the Netherlanders were exposed by the Spaniards led to numerous revolts, which at last developed into a War of Independence, under William, Prince of Orange. The Hollanders adopted as their flag the colours of the House of Orange—orange, white, and blue. At first there was great latitude of treatment, the number of the bars of each colour and their order being very variable, but in 1599 it was definitely fixed that the flag of the Netherlands was to be orange, white, blue, in three horizontal stripes of equal width. How the orange became [ 118 ] changed to red is very doubtful; Fournier, writing in 1643, we see refers to the Dutch flag as a tricolor of red, white, blue.

Fig. 237 represents the Royal Standard of Holland; the army and navy and commercial flags are similar, except that the Royal Arms are not introduced.

During the general effervescence caused by the French Revolution, the naval flag of Holland had in the upper staff-corner a white canton, charged with a figure of Liberty, but the innovation was not at all popular, as the sailors preferred the old tricolor under which the great victories of Reuter and Van Tromp were gained, and in 1806 it was deemed expedient to revert to it.

The brilliant scarlet, yellow, and black tricolor represented in Fig. 236 is the flag of Belgium. The Standard has, in addition, the Royal Arms placed in the centre of the yellow strip. The black, yellow, and red, are the colours of the Duchy of Brabant, and these were adopted as the national flag in 1831.

From 1477 onwards we find Belgium under Austrian domination, and in 1566 it fell into the hands of Spain. In 1795, and for some years following, it was held by France, and in 1814 was handed over to the Prince of Orange, but in 1830 the Belgians rose against the Hollanders, and before the end of the year their independence was acknowledged by the Great Powers, and Leopold of Coburg, in the following year, became first King of Belgium. Within a month of his accession to the throne, the Dutch recommenced the struggle, and it was only in 1839 that a final treaty of peace was signed in London between Belgium and Holland, and its claims to independence frankly recognised by the Dutch.

Greece, originally invaded by the Turks in the year 1350, remained for nearly five hundred years under their oppressive yoke, rising from time to time against their masters, only to expose their country, on the failure of their attempts, to the greater tyranny and the most dreadful excesses. Over ten thousand Greeks were slaughtered in Cyprus in 1821, while the bombardment of Scio in 1822, and the horrible massacre on its capture, stand out in lurid colours as one of the most atrocious deeds the world has ever known: over forty thousand men, women, and children fell by the sword. Seven thousand who had fled to the mountains were induced to surrender by a promise of amnesty, and these, too, were murdered. The towns and villages were fired, and the unfortunate inhabitants, hemmed in by the Turks, perished in the flames or fell beneath the swords of their relentless foes if they attempted to escape. Small wonder, then, that the heart of Europe was stirred, and that Lord Byron and thousands more took up the cause of Greek independence, by contributions of arms and money, by fiery denunciation, and with strong right hand. Missolonghi, Navarino, [ 119 ] and many another scene of struggle we cannot here dwell upon, suffice it to say that at last the victory was won and Greece emerged, after a tremendous struggle, from the bondage of the Turks, and took its place in Europe as a free and independent nation, the Porte acknowledging the inexorable logic of the fait accompli on April 25th, 1830. After a short Presidency under one of the Greek nobles, Otho of Bavaria was elected King of Greece in 1833, and the new Kingdom was fairly launched.

The Greeks adopted the blue and white, the colours of Bavaria, as a delicate compliment to the Prince who accepted their invitation to ascend the throne of Greece. The merchant flag of Greece is shown in Fig. 233. It will be seen that it consists of nine stripes, alternately blue and white, the canton being blue, with a white cross in it. The navy flag is similar, except that in addition there is placed a golden crown in the centre of the cross. The Royal Standard is blue with a white cross; the arms of the cross are not, as in Fig. 233, of equal length, but the one next the staff is shorter, as in the Danish flag, Fig. 225. In the open space at the crossing of the arms is placed the Royal Arms.

The Turkish Empire has undergone many changes and vicissitudes, and has in these latter days shrunk considerably. European Turkey now consists of about seventy thousand square miles, while Turkey in Asia, Syria, Asia Minor, Palestine, Armenia, etc., is over seven hundred thousand.[22]

The crescent moon and star, Figs. 239 and 240, were adopted by the Turks as their device on the capture of Constantinople by Mahomet II., in 1453. They were originally the symbol of Diana, the Patroness of Byzantium, and were adopted by the Ottomans as a badge of triumph. Prior to that event, the crescent was a very common charge in the armorial bearings of English Knights, but it fell into considerable disuse when it became the special device of the Mohamedans, though even so late as the year 1464 we find René, Duke of Anjou, founding an Order of Knighthood having as its badge the crescent moon, encircled by a motto signifying "praise by increasing." Though the crescent was, as we have seen, originally a Pagan symbol, it remained throughout the rise and development of the Greek Church the special mark of Constantinople, and even now in Moscow and other Russian cities the [ 120 ] crescent and the cross may be seen combined on the churches, the object being to indicate the Byzantine origin of the Russian Church.

The crescent may be seen on the coins and medals of Augustus, Trajan, and other Emperors. The origin of the symbol was as follows: Philip, the father of Alexander the Great, meeting with many unforeseen difficulties in carrying on the siege of the city, set the soldiers to work one dark night to undermine the walls, but the crescent moon appearing the design was discovered and the scheme miscarried; and in acknowledgment the Byzantines erected a statue to Diana, and made the crescent moon—the attribute of the Goddess—the symbol of their city.

The War Flag of Turkey is the crescent and star on the scarlet field, as shown in Fig. 239. The flag of the Merchant Service seems less definitely fixed. In the Official Flag Book[23] of the English Admiralty, Fig. 239 is given as both the man-of-war flag and the merchant flag for Turkey, Egypt, and Tripoli, while in an excellent book on the subject, published at Vienna in 1883, Fig. 235 is given as the flag of the commercial marine; and we have also seen a plain red flag with a star in the upper corner of the hoist, and another divided into three horizontal bands, the upper and lower being red, and the central one green.

The Military and Naval Service of Tunis has the flag represented in Fig. 240, while the Tunisian commercial flag is simply red, without device of any kind.

In a map bearing the date 1502 the Turkish Dominions are marked by a scarlet flag having three points and bearing three black crescents, while in a sheet of flags with the comparatively modern date of 1735, "Turk" is represented by a blue flag with three crescents in white upon it.

The personal flag of the Sultan, corresponding to our Royal Standard, is scarlet, and bears in its centre the device of the reigning sovereign: hence it undergoes a change at each accession to the throne. This device, known as the Tughra, is placed on the coinage, postal stamps, etc., as well as on the Royal Flag, and consists of the name of the Sultan, the title Khan, and the epithet El muzaffar daima, signifying the ever-victorious. The history of the Tughra is curious: When Sultan Murad I. entered into a treaty of peace with the Ragusans, he was not sufficiently scholarly to be able to affix [ 121 ] his signature to the document, so he wetted his open hand with ink and pressed it on the paper, the first, second, and third fingers making smears in fairly close proximity, while the thumb and fourth finger were apart on either side. Within the mark thus made, the Ottoman Scribes wrote the name of Murad, his title, and the epithet that bore testimony to his ever-victorious career. The Tughra remains the symbol of this, the three upright forms being the three fingers of Murad, the rounded line to the left the thumb, and the line to the right the little finger; these leading forms do not vary, but the smaller characters change with the change of sovereign. This Murad, sometimes called Amurath, ascended the throne in the year 1362.[24]

The personal flag of the Khedive of Egypt is green, and has in its centre the crescent and three white stars.

By the Treaty of Berlin, July 1878, the provinces of Moldavia and Wallachia, formerly a portion of the Turkish Empire, and the territory of the Dobrudscha, were recognised as an independent State, and were formed into the kingdom of Roumania somewhat later, the sovereign who had previously held the rank of prince being crowned king in March, 1881. The flag of Roumania is the brilliant blue, yellow and red tricolor shown in Fig. 242.

The flag of Servia, another small kingdom of Eastern Europe, is shown in Fig. 243; the royal standard is similar, except that the arms are placed in the centre of the blue stripe. It will be seen that the flag of Servia is that of Russia, Fig. 218, reversed. By the Berlin Treaty of 1878, Servia received a large increase of territory, and was created an independent State, its princely ruler being crowned king in March, 1882.

The State of Bulgaria is another of the creations of the Berlin Treaty. It is governed by a prince who is nominally under the suzerainty of Turkey. Its war flag is shown in Fig. 241; the mercantile flag has no leonine canton, but is simply a tricolor of white, green, and red.

Having already dealt with the United States, we propose now to turn our attention to the other Governments of the New World. The simple and effective ensign of Chili is represented in Fig. 161. This flag is used both by the Chilian men-of-war and by the vessels of the mercantile marine. Fig. 157 is so much of the pendant of a man-of-war as the limits of our page will permit. The Chilian Jack is the blue canton and white star of Fig. 161, treated as a distinct [ 122 ] flag, and the flags of the various naval ranks are also blue with a varying number of white stars.

Fig. 164 is the merchant flag of New Granada; the Government ensign has in addition the shield of arms in the centre of the blue stripe. It will be observed that the colours in this tricolor are the same as those of Roumania, Fig. 242, only differently disposed. New Granada is composed of nine small States, and in 1863 these bound themselves into a closer confederation, and changed their collective name from New Granada to that of the United States of Colombia, and adopted a tricolor of yellow, blue, and red, only disposed horizontally instead of as in Fig. 164, vertically. This sounds identical with the flag of Venezuela, but in the centre of the Colombian flag is placed a different device, and the yellow stripe takes up half the space, the other two being only half its width. Fig. 165 is the flag of Uruguay, a State that was formerly a province of Brazil, but declared its independence in the year 1825. The next flag on our plate, Fig. 166, is the war ensign of Guatemala: the shield in the centre bears a scroll with the words "Libertad 15 de Setiembre, 1821," surmounted by a parrot, surrounded by a wreath, and having behind it crossed rifles and swords. The merchant flag is the plain blue, white, blue, without the shield. In the year 1525 the country was conquered by Don Pedro de Alvarado, one of the companions of Cortes, and it remained subject to Spain until 1821, when it gained its independence, the "Libertad" of the scroll. It then went in vigorously for several years of civil war, and the outcome of this was that the country known under Spanish rule as Guatemala, a country embracing all Central America, split up in 1839 into five Republics, all absolutely independent of each other, viz., Guatemala, San Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica.

The next flag, Fig. 167, is the ensign of Costa Rica: the one represented is that of the Merchant Service. The war ensign differs from it in having in the centre the arms of the State, surrounded on either side by a trophy of three flags, and beneath all a wreath. Fig. 168, the flag of Paraguay, is very suggestive of the colours of Holland, though the device in the centre serves to differentiate it. Paraguay is the only State in America that has no sea-board, and therefore no Mercantile Marine.

Brazil, discovered by the Portuguese in 1500, remained in their possession until a revolutionary struggle in the year 1821 ended in favour of the Brazilians, when an Empire was shortly afterwards established. Compared to the other States of South America, it has passed through long periods of rest and prosperity, but of late years its political position has been one of considerable uncertainty, the Emperor having been dismissed and the rival [ 123 ] ambitions for the Presidentship leading to civil war. These political changes have necessarily produced modifications in the flag. The present flag, Fig. 169, is not altogether unlike that of the late Empire, though in this latter case the yellow diamond on the green ground held a shield and Imperial crown, flanked by sprays of coffee and tobacco. In the present flag this yellow diamond has a blue sphere spotted over with stars and a white band running across it, that bears in blue letters the legend Ordem e progresso.[25] Fig. 173 is the upper portion of the man-of-war pendant, a blue ground with white stars. Fig. 169 is the ensign, both of the War and Merchant Navy of Brazil.

The yellow, blue, and red tricolor, Fig. 170, is the merchant ensign of Venezuela; the war flag has the same stripes, and in addition the shield of the arms of the State is placed on the yellow band at the staff corner. When the Spaniards arrived off the coast in the year 1499, they found on landing that some of the native Indians were living in huts built on piles, hence they called the country Venezuela, or little Venice.

Bolivia, formerly comprised in the Spanish Vice-Royalty of Colombia, derives its present name from Simon Bolivar, the leader of the revolution that gained it its freedom. Its commercial flag is shown in Fig. 171; the war flag only differs in having the arms of the State placed in the centre of the red strip.

The familiar green, white, red of Italy is repeated in the flag of Mexico, but instead of the cross of Savoy, we have the eagle and serpent. The Mexican merchant ensign is the plain tricolor of green, white, red, the central device we see in Fig. 172 marking it as the war flag. Mexico was discovered in 1518, and conquered, with infamous cruelties, by Cortes. After a lengthened revolutionary struggle, the yoke of Spain was finally thrown off in 1829, and the independence of Mexico was recognised by all the great European Powers.

Peru was discovered by the Spaniards in 1513, and was soon afterwards, under the command of Pizarro, added to the dominions of the King of Spain. Peru remained in subjection to the Spaniards (who murdered the Incas and all their descendants, and committed the most frightful cruelties) until 1826, when the independence of the country, after a prolonged struggle, was completely achieved. The Peruvian war ensign is given in Fig. 174, the merchant flag being the plain red, white, red.

San Salvador, the smallest of the Central American Republics, [ 124 ] established itself in 1839, on the break-up of the Spanish State of Guatemala. Its flag is shown in Fig. 175.

The country now held by the Argentine Republic was discovered in 1517, and settled by the Spaniards in 1553. The war ensign is represented in Fig. 176; the merchant ensign has the three stripes, but the golden sun is missing.

The Government of Ecuador has Fig. 177 as its war flag, the merchant ensign being without the ring of white stars. The last flag on the sheet (Fig. 178) is the merchant flag of Haiti; the Government flag has the blue and red reduced to a broad border, the central portion of the flag being white. In the centre of this white portion stands a palm tree, and below it a trophy of arms and flags, flanked on either side by a cannon.

The flag of the Cuban national forces in conflict with Spain has at the hoist a triangular portion of blue, one side of this triangle being the depth of the flag itself, and on this blue field is a white, five-pointed star. The rest of the flag is made up of the following horizontal and equal stripes—red, white, red, white, red.

Japan—known to the Japanese as Niphon, derived from Nitsu, Sun, and Phon, the rising—the Land of the Rising Sun,[26] has adopted this rising sun as its emblem. Japan claims to possess a written history of over 2,500 years, but the fairly authentic portion begins with the year 660 B.C., when the present hereditary succession of rulers commenced. English merchants visited Japan in 1612, and the Portuguese almost a century before. By 1587 the converts of the Portuguese Jesuit Missions numbered some six hundred thousand. At this time some Spanish Franciscans appeared on the scene, and political and religious discord soon followed. The Japanese ruler took alarm at the Papal claim to universal sovereignty, and the Buddhist Priesthood and the English and Dutch Protestant traders fanned the flame of suspicion and jealousy. This was done so effectually that the Japanese Government banished all foreigners, and closed the country against them. This state of things lasted for over two centuries, and it was only in the year 1853 that Japan was re-opened to the outside world. The flag of Japan, the rising sun, is represented in Fig. 244. The red ball without the rays is used as a Jack, in which case it is placed in the centre of the white field. Fig. 245 is the Standard of the Emperor. The chrysanthemum is the emblem of Japan, and its golden flower, somewhat conventionally rendered it must be admitted, is the form we see introduced in Fig. 245.[27] Figs. 246 and 248 are the transport flag and the guard flag respectively of the Japanese war marine. [ 125 ]

The Imperial Standard of China is yellow with a blue dragon. The official flag book of the Admiralty gives the flag of a Chinese Admiral as made up of the following horizontal stripes: yellow, white, black, green, red, a blue dragon on a white ground being the canton in the staff-head corner. The merchant ensign is shown in Fig. 247. Amongst the Chinese flags captured in 1841, and preserved in the Royal United Service Institution, is one with a blue centre with an inscription in white upon it, and with a broad notched border of white; another has its centre of a pale blue and a darker blue dragon upon it, the whole being surrounded by a broad and deeply-notched border of red.

The flag of Siam is scarlet with a white elephant thereon. Before Xacca, the founder of the nation, was born his mother dreamt that she brought forth a white elephant, and the Brahmins affirm that Xacca, after a metempsychosis of eighty thousand changes, concluded his very varied experiences as this white elephant, and thence was received into the company of the Celestial Deities. On this account the white elephant is held a sacred beast, and the Siamese rejoice to place themselves beneath so potent a protector. The flag of Korea bears the tiger. In the thickly-wooded glens of the interior, the royal tiger is found in formidable numbers.

The flag of Sarawak, a territory of some forty thousand square miles, on the north-west of Borneo, is shown in Fig. 252. The Government was obtained in 1842 from the Sultan of Borneo by an Englishman, Sir James Brooke, and it is still ruled by one of the family, a nephew of the first Rajah.

In Africa, the only flags that we need particularize are those of the Orange Free State, Liberia, the Congo State, and the South African Republic.

The Orange Free State was founded by Dutch emigrants from the Cape of Good Hope. It was proclaimed British territory in 1848, but by a Convention entered into in 1854, the inhabitants were declared to be "to all intents and purposes, a free and independent people, and their Government to be treated thenceforth as a free and independent Government." The flag, Fig. 249, is the only one that has orange in it, clearly in allusion to the name of the State, while the canton of red, white, and blue, equally shows the pride of the people in their Dutch origin.

The flag of the Independent Negro Republic of Liberia, is shown in Fig. 250. The population largely consists of freed slaves, emigrants from America and their descendants, plus the aborigines. The flag, it will be seen, even to the thirteen stripes, is largely based on that of the United States, though one would have thought that that would have been about the last thing they would have selected. [ 126 ]

The Congo Free State in Central Africa was established in 1885 by the King of the Belgians; its flag is the golden star on the blue ground that we see in Fig. 251, a device at once simple, expressive and pleasing.

In 1840, a number of Dutch Boers, dissatisfied with the Government of Cape Colony, established themselves in Natal, where their treatment of the natives was so unjustifiable that a general rising was imminent, and the British Government was compelled to interfere, and itself take charge of the district. This the Boers resented, so they crossed the Vaal and established themselves afresh in the wilderness. In 1854, the British Government recognised the Transvaal or South African Republic, and in 1881 a fresh Convention was agreed to by which the Boers were confirmed in full possession of the land, subject to the recognition of the British suzerainty. The flag of the Transvaal Government is shown in Fig. 253.

Now have we journeyed the whole world over and found in every land the emblems of nationality and patriotism. Unfamiliar as many of these may appear to us, they each represent a symbol endeared to thousands or hundreds of thousands of hearts, and thus are they full of warm human interest. For these various strips of gaily-coloured bunting, men have given without hesitation their lives, have poured out blood and treasure without stint or count of cost, and wherever they encounter them the wide world over, the wanderers forget for a while the alien shore or waste of ocean as their thoughts turn to the dear homeland.


  1. Thus in a French book on flags (La Haye's), published in 1737, we see a "pavillon de Nouvelle Angleterre en Amerique." This is a blue flag, having on a white canton the Cross of St. George, and in the first quarter of this canton a globe, in allusion to America, the new world.
  2. In September, 1775, Moultrie, the heroic defender of the fort which still bears his name, devised this the first flag of the State of South Carolina, the uniform of the South Carolina men being blue, and some of the regiments having a silver crescent in their caps; but why they had the silver crescent as a badge no record seems to inform us.
  3. It may be somewhat of an assistance to our readers if we give a few chronological details: The obnoxious duty on tea and other articles imposed by the British Parliament, June, 1767. Tea thrown overboard in Boston harbour by the discontented populace, November, 1773. The Boston Port Bill, by which that port was to be shut up until compensation made to the East India Company for the tea destroyed, passed March, 1774. General Congress of the colonists at Philadelphia, September, 1774. Revolution, first blood shed at Lexington, April, 1775. Washington appointed Commander-in-Chief of the American Armies, June, 1775. Thirteen colonies declare themselves independent, July 4th, 1776. Independence of Colonies recognised by France in March, 1778, by Holland in April, 1782, and by Great Britain in September, 1783. John Adams received as ambassador from America by George III. in June, 1785, and first ambassador sent from Great Britain to the United States, in 1791.
  4. In an old print before us of the fight between the Shannon and the Chesapeake, we see that the latter hoists three American flags, all having the top and bottom stripes white, and at the foremast a white flag inscribed with the enigmatical motto, "Free Trade and Sailors' rights."
  5. "Forty flags with their silver stars,
    Forty flags with their crimson bars."
     Whittier, "Barbara Frietchie."
  6. At a banquet at the Mansion House, when many leading Englishmen and eminent Colonists gathered together to celebrate St. George's Day, the American Ambassador, an honoured guest, said that he was very conscious that he was there at a gathering of the clans. "There was a tradition that the mischievous boy was generally the favourite of the household. His mother might confess it openly, his father secretly, but the rest of the family said nothing about it. Now there was a mischievous boy who broke away from home something more than a century ago, but let them not suppose that because he left the home he or his descendants ever came back without a strong feeling that it is the home." He went on to say that he never met a body of representative Englishmen, British men, speaking the same language that he did, without a sense of grave joy and pleasure: the sense that they were his brethren in a great cause, and that he joined with them, he and his people, in sustaining the best hopes and aspirations of the world's civilization. Blood is thicker than water, and all right-minded Englishmen will read his kindly words with pleasure, and give them heartiest reciprocation.
  7. To the Germans, in their campaign against France, this and the "Watch upon the Rhine" were worth many battalions as a spur and stimulus to heroic deeds. During the American War both Federals and Confederates owed much to the influence of stirring patriotic songs. There can be no doubt that the songs of Dibdin contributed not a little to our own naval victories, and every cause that is worth fighting for evokes like stirring strains. Perhaps one of the most marked illustrations of this is the birth of that grand war-song known as the "Marseillaise." Rouget de l'Isle, its author, was a captain of French Engineers stationed in Strassbourg on the opening of the campaign against Austria and Prussia in 1792. On the eve of the day that the contingent from that city was going to join the main army of the Rhine, a question arose as to what air should be played at their departure. Several were suggested and rejected, and Rouget de l'Isle left the meeting and retired to his own quarters, and before the gathering broke up had written both words and music of "Le Chant de l'Armee du Rhin." On returning to the meeting, still in consultation on the various details of the morrow, he sang his composition, and it was at once welcomed with delight. It flew like wildfire throughout France, and, owing to the Marseillaise troops singing it on entering Paris, it derived the name by which it has ever since been known. Its stirring words and the grand roll of the music aroused the enthusiasm of the country, and at once made it the battle-song of France, to be at times proscribed, but never forgotten.
  8. The book on German costume by Köbel, printed at Frankfort-on-the-Main in 1545, should be referred to, if possible, by the reader. It is, unfortunately, a very rare book. The first edition of this splendid volume contains 144 large illustrations of standard-bearers; the figures are admirably drawn and very varied in attitude, while the flags they carry are replete with interest, many of course being now quite obsolete, while others there represented have come down to us through the three centuries intact.
  9. The Pamiot Azof, one of the most powerful ironclads of the Russian Navy, flies at her mast-head the Cross of St. George (white on red), in memory of the gallant service at Navarino in 1527 of her predecessor of that name. The Czar Nicholas decreed that all future Pamiot Azofs in the navy should bear this distinguishing mark of honour. Peter the Great built the first Pamiot Azof as a memorial of the great siege of Azof, and the name has been handed down ever since. The influence of that piece of scarlet and white bunting will doubtless be such that no Pamiot Azof will ever fall short of the highest expectations that this exceptional honour would suggest.
  10. "Clisson, assura sa Majesté du gain de la bataille, le roi lui répondit: 'Connestable, Dieu le veeulte, nous irons donc avant au nom de Dieu et de Sainct Denis.'"—Vulson de la Colombière.
  11. In a miniature of Charles II., A.D. 869, in a book of prayers, the royal sceptre terminates in a fleur-de-lys. The crown of Hugh Capet, A.D. 957, in St. Denis, is formed of fleur-de-lys, as is that of his successor, Robert le Sage, A.D. 996, Henry I., 1031, and many others. To make the matter more complicated, we find on the crown of Uffa, first king of the East Angles, A. D. 575, true fleurs-de-lys.
  12. One old writer asserts that Louis VII., on setting out in the year 1137 for the Crusade chose the purple iris flower as his emblem.
  13. "Recherches sur les Drapeaux Français, Oriflamme, bannière de France, Marques nationales, Couleurs du roi, drapeaux de l'armée, pavilions de la Marine."—Gustave Desjardins, Paris, 1874. Another good book to see is the "Histoire du drapeau de la Monarchie Française," by M. Rey.
  14. It may be helpful here to append for reference the chronology of the earlier sovereigns of the House of Bourbon:—Henry IV., "the Great," ascended the throne in 1589; Louis XIII., "the Just," 1610; Louis XIV., "the Great," 1643; Louis XV., "the Well-beloved," 1715; Louis XVI., 1774, guillotined in January, 1793.
  15. Thus, at a grand military fête, on May 10th, 1852, in the Champ de Mars, on restoring this symbol, we find the Emperor addressing the troops:—"The Roman eagle, adopted by the Emperor Napoleon at the commencement of this century, was a brilliant symbol of the grandeur of France. It disappeared amongst our calamities. It ought to return when France, raised up again, should no more repudiate her high position. Soldiers! Take again the eagles which have so often led our fathers to glory." In 1855, in addressing a detachment of the Imperial Guard prior to its departure for the Crimea, he exclaimed, "The Imperial Guard, the heroic representative of military glory and honour, is here before me. Receive then these eagles, which will lead you on to glory. Soon will you have planted them on the walls of Sebastopol!"
  16. First Republic, 1792 to 1799. The Consulate, 1799 to 1804. The first Empire, 1804 to 1814. The Restoration, Bourbon and Orleanist, 1814 to 1848, the second Republic, 1848 to 1853, the second Empire, 1853 to 1870, the third Republic from 1870.
  17. The diary of Henry Machyn, "Citizen and Merchant Tayler of London," from which we have already quoted, tells us how the writer saw the "Kyng's grace and dyvers Spaneards," the said King being Philip of Spain, riding through the city attired in red and yellow, the colours of Spain. In the cavalcade, Machyn tells us, were "men with thrumpets in the same colors, and drumes made of ketylles, and baners in the same colors."
  18. This quarter of the flag, the arms of Leon and Castile, was the entire flag of the time of Columbus. Isabella gave the great explorer a personal flag, a white swallow-tailed ensign having in its centre a green cross and the letters F.Y. The quartered arms of Leon and Castile are sculptured upon the monument in Westminster Abbey of Alianore, the daughter of Ferdinand III., King of Leon and Castile, and the wife of Edward I. of England. The date of the tomb is 1290.
  19. The following chronological items may prove of assistance. Crown of Navarre passes to France, 1276. Ferdinand of Arragon re-conquers Navarre, 1512. Accession of House of Austria to throne of Spain, 1516. Spain annexed Netherlands, 1556, and, shortly after Philip II., husband of our Queen Mary, annexed Burgundy. Portugal united to Spain, 1580. Portugal lost, 1640. Philip V. invades Naples, 1714. Charles III., King of the Two Sicilies, succeeds to Spanish crown, 1759.
  20. The various heralds and pursuivants in their tabards blazoned with the lions of England, the fleurs-de-lys of France, or the castles of Portugal.
  21. Az. three crosses in pale or.
  22. The Turks, originally an Asiatic people, overran the provinces of the Eastern, or Greek Empire, about the year 1300, but did not capture Constantinople until 1453. Thirty years afterwards they obtained a footing in Italy, and in 1516 Egypt was added to the Empire. The invading hosts spread terror throughout Europe, and in 1529 and in 1683 we find them besieging Vienna. Rhodes was captured from the Knights of St. John, Greece subdued, Cyprus taken from the Venetians: but later on the tide of war turned against them, and frequent hostilities with England, France, and Russia led to the gradual weakening of the Turkish power.
  23. There is such a general impression that officials are so very much bound up in highly-starched red tape that we gladly take this opportunity of acknowledging the extreme consideration with which all our enquiries have been met. The libraries of the Admiralty, the Royal United Service Museum, the Guildhall, South Kensington, etc., have been placed unreservedly at our service. The authorities of the Board of Trade, of Lloyds, of the Royal Chelsea Hospital, of the Royal Naval Exhibition, the Agents-General of the Colonies, have all most willingly given every possible information, and we have received from all to whom we have applied for information the greatest readiness to afford it, and the most courteous responses.
  24. The position of Sultan, though one of great dignity, has its serious drawbacks. This all-conquering Murad was, after all, assassinated; his son and successor, Bajuzet, died in prison. Isa Belis the next holder of the throne, Solyman who succeeded him, and Musa, who succeeded Solyman, were all in turn murdered by their brothers or other relatives.
  25. "Order and progress." Not a very happily chosen motto, since, as a Brazilian said to us, such a sentiment might equally be placed on the flags of all civilized nations, order and progress not being features to take any special credit for, but to be entirely taken for granted, and as a matter of course.
  26. Our English name, Japan, for this land of the Far East, is a corruption of the Chinese name for it, Zipangn, a word of the same meaning, Land of the Rising Sun.
  27. There are four Orders of Distinction in Japan; the first is the Order of the Chrysanthemum, and the second that of the Rising Sun.