An ethnic flag is a flag that symbolizes a certain ethnic group. Ethnic flags are often introduced to the ethnic community through the respective cultural or political ethnic movements. They are popular among diasporas, ethnic minorities, and some ethnic majorities, especially in multiethnic countries.


Like the concept of a state's national flag itself, that of an "ethnic flag" is modern, first arising in the late 19th century; strictly speaking, the national flags of nation states are themselves "ethnic flags", and often so used by ethnic minorities in neighbouring states, especially in the context of irredentism (e.g. the flag of the Republic of Albania used as an "ethnic Albanian flag" by Kosovar Albanians).

Ethnic flags are often used in irredentism, representing the "national flag" of a proposed or unrecognized state. The first such flags were designed at the end of the 19th century, such as the Basque flag (1894) or the "Flag of Zion" used to symbolize Zionism from 1898, which became the national flag of Israel 50 years later.

Most early ethnic flags imply a connection with an unrecognized state claimed by the respective ethnicities, such as the flag of Kurdistan which originates as the flag of the Republic of Ararat (1927). A flag of the Hispanic People was designed in 1932.[1]

Alternatively, an "ethnic flag" may represent a Pan-nationalism, such as the Pan-Arab flag which originates as the flag of the Arab Revolt during World War I,[2] the proposed flag of Pan-Slavism (1848),[3] Pan-Iranism or Pan-Turkism.

The concept of using ethnic flags to symbolize ethnic groups within a multiethnic state, not necessarily connected with irredentism, became popular in the later 20th century, such as the Australian Aboriginal flag (1971), the Assyrian flag (1971),[4] the flag of the Romani people (1971), the Berber flag (1970s), the Sami flag (1986) or the national Māori flag (1990). Designing ethnic or tribal flags has become very popular since the 1990s, especially for online use, and mostly do not have any kind of "official" status and must be judged based on de facto use.[citation needed] In many cases, the national flag of a sovereign state is often seen and used as a de facto ethnic flag by its people.[5][6]

Individual flags

Further information: Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization

This is a list of links to ethnic flags with referenced entries in Wikipedia articles, including flags of irredentist or nationalist movements motivated by ethnic nationalism. For a looser (unreferenced) collection of proposed or claimed ethnic flags see Flags of ethnic groups on Wikimedia Commons.

image name group world region linguistic phylum introduction notes
Flag of Scotland Scottish Europe, North Indo-European, Germanic, Anglic, Scottish Gaelic 1385 The saltire appears to have become the official national flag in 1385 when the Parliament of Scotland agreed that Scottish soldiers should wear the white cross as a distinguishing mark.
Flag of the Mapuches Mapuche people America, South Araucanian, Mapudungun 1506; 1991 Original adopted during the Arauco War between the Mapuche and the Spaniards; a simple blue field with a white Guñelve (Mapudungun: Wünelfe) star centered, representing the Morning Star. The modern rendition approved by Aukiñ Wallmapu Ngulam, also known as Council of All Lands, in 1991. It was chosen in a contest of 500 entries, and is called Wenufoye (in Mapudungun "The Heaven's Winter's Bark"); however, instead of the Guñelve star, a Kultrum (Mapuche drum) is centered.
Bhagwa Dhwaj Hindu Nationalism/Hindutva and Marathi Indian subcontinent Indo-Aryan, Dravidian 1674 Specific design was first used by the Maratha Empire, and currently used by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. Similar saffron-coloured designs also used by the Sikh Khalsa.
A bandera Corsa Corsicans Europe, West Indo-European, Romance, Corsican 1755 From an older tradition, but with uncertain origins, this banner was officially adopted by the Corsican Republic of Pasquale Paoli.
Métis flag Métis people America, North mixed; Michif 1814 Received from Alexander Macdonnell of the North West Company in 1814 and used by the Canadian Métis resistance in the Battle of Seven Oaks (1816).[7]
Circassian Flag Circassians Europe, Caucasus Northwest Caucasian, Adyghe 1830; 1992 Used by Circassians since the 19th century and Adygea since 1992.
Flag of Hawaii Native Hawaiians Polynesia Austronesian, Hawaiian 1845 Adopted by the Kingdom of Hawaii, and continued to be used by the protectorate, republic, and territory before statehood. The flag was last modified in 1898, and is noteworthy as still being used after the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom.
Flag of Ireland Irish Europe, North Indo-European, Celtic, Irish Gaelic 1848 Thomas Francis Meagher commented in 1848: "The white in the centre signifies a lasting truce between Orange and Green and I trust that beneath its folds the hands of Irish Protestants and Irish Catholics may be clasped in generous and heroic brotherhood." It was confirmed as the National Flag in 1937.[8]
Pan-Slavic colours Slavs Europe, Eastern Indo-European, Slavic 1848 Adopted by the Prague Slavic Congress, 1848, used as the ethnic flag of Sorbs, Moravians, and other Slavic-speaking minorities.
Flag of the Choctaw Nation Choctaw people America, North Muskogean, Western 1860; 1970s First flag adopted in 1860 before the United States Civil War, becoming the first Native American Tribe to adopt a flag; the second form was approved by the Tribal Council in the 1970s and altered in the late 1980s to present form.
Flag of Tonga Tongans Polynesia Austronesian, Tongan 1875 The only ethnically Polynesian nation to never relinquish its sovereignty to any foreign power. The constitution states the flag can never be changed.
Flag of Acadia Acadians America, North Indo-European, Romance, French 1884 Adopted at the Second Acadian National Convention held in Miscouche, Prince Edward Island, on 15 August 1884.
Ikurriña Basque people Europe, West Basque 1895 Designed in 1894 for the province of Biscay, adopted in 1895 by "Euzkeldun Batzokija" (predecessor of the Basque Nationalist Party), adopted it as the flag of the Basque Autonomous Region in 1936, prohibited in Francoist Spain 1938–1977, official adoption as the flag of the Basque Country in 1978.
Flag of Zion Jews Asia, Western Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Hebrew 1898 Introduced as the flag of Zionism at the Second Zionist Congress held in Switzerland in 1898; adopted as the state flag of Israel in 1948.
Flag of Tibet Tibetans Asia Tibetic 1916
Flag of the Arab Revolt Arabs Asia, Western Africa, Northern Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Arabic 1917 Introduced as the flag of the Arab nationalist revolt against the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Hejaz in 1917. It became the basis of a number of flags using the Pan-Arab colors later in the 20th century.[original research?]
Crimean Tatar flag Crimean Tatars Europe, Eastern Turkic, Crimean Tatar 1917 Introduced under the Crimean People's Republic (November 1917), now used as ethnic flag.[9]
Flag of Armenia Armenians Europe, Western Asia Indo-European 1918 The Armenian Supreme Soviet adopted the current flag on 24 August 1990. On 15 June 2006, the Law on the National Flag of Armenia, governing its usage, was passed by the National Assembly of Armenia.
Estelada Catalans Europe, West Indo-European, Romance, Catalan 1918 The flag was designed in 1918 by Vicenç Albert Ballester i Camps.[10] It came from combining the traditional four red stripes over a yellow field of the Catalan Senyera with a blue triangle at the hoist containing a five-pointed white star, inspired by the flags of Cuba, the Philippines and Puerto Rico; the lone star motif symbolizes Catalan independence.
Flag of Upper Silesia Silesians Europe, Central Silesian 1919 Similar to the former flag of the Province of Upper Silesia. A popular symbol of the Movement for Silesian Autonomy.
Pan-African flag Black People Black diaspora 1920 Adopted in 1920 by the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League, now used in black nationalism and Pan-Africanism.
Flag of the Swedish-speaking Finns Finland-Swedes Europe, Northern Indo-European, Germanic, Swedish 1922 Used by the Swedish People's Party of Finland from 1922, based on a 1917 design.[11]
Flag of Livonians Livonians Europe, Northern Finnic, Livonian 1923 Used by Livonian Society (Līvõd Īt) in 1923.
Flag of New Mexico Neomexicanos America, North Indo-European, Romance, Spanish 1925
Flag of Oklahoma Okies America, North Indo-European, Germanic, English 1925
Flag of the Kurds Kurds, Kurdish nationalism Asia, Western Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Kurdish 1927 Used by the Republic of Ararat in 1927, based on earlier designs used in the 1890s revolt.
Flag of the Korean National Association Koreans Asia, Eastern Korean 1928 Designed by Yong-man Park. Due to the inherently ethnic nature of Korean nationalism, the South Korean flag is also seen and used as a de facto pan-Korean ethnic flag by many South Koreans.[6][5]
Hispanic flag Hispanidad, La Raza Americas Indo-European, Romance, Spanish 1932 Winning entry in a contest organized by Juana de Ibarbourou in 1932.
Flag of the Romani people Romani people Europe Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Romani 1933 Introduced by the General Union of the Roma of Romania in 1933, adopted at the First World Romani Congress in 1971.
Flag of East Turkestan Uyghurs Asia Turkic 1934
Malay tricolour Malay people, Malayness Asia, Southeast Austronesian, Malay 1946 Introduced by the United Malays National Organisation (1946).
Fleurdelisé Québécois people America, North Indo-European, Romance, French, Quebec French 1948 Adopted by the government of Quebec during the administration of Maurice Duplessis.
Druze flag Druze Levant, West Asia Semitic 1948 Adopted by the Druze Mental Chiefdom based on "Five Limits Star Druze Star.
Flag of the Danube Swabians Danube Swabian Europe Germanic 1950 A coat of arms designed in 1950 by Hans Diplich has been adopted by many Danube Swabian cultural organizations.[12][13] Its blazon is "Parti per fess wavy 1 Or, an eagle displayed couped Sable langued Gules; 2 parti per fess Argent and Vert, a fortress Argent roofed and turreted Gules surmounted with Sun and Crescent waning Or; chief wavy Azure".
Flag of Somalia Somalis Africa, Horn Somali 1954 Used by the Somali Republic after independence from the UK and Italy, Blue field with the Star of Unity
Naga National Flag Nagas Asia, South Sino-Tibetan 1956 The flag was first hoisted on 22 March 1956 at Parashen, Rengma Region by proclaiming the Federal Government of Nagaland (FGN).[14]
Flag of Occitania Occitans Europe, West Indo-European, Romance, Occitan 1959 Inspired by the historic flag of the County of Toulouse, the modern rendition which included the seven-point star was designed by the Occitan Nationalist Party.
Flag of the Oglala Sioux Nation Oglala Lakota America, North Siouan, Teton Sioux 1961 The circle of eight teepees on the flag represent the nine districts of the reservation: Porcupine, Wakpamni, Medicine Root, Pass Creek, Eagle Nest, White Clay, LaCreek, Wounded Knee, and Pine Ridge. The red field represents the blood shed by the tribe in defense of their lands.
Flag of Tsėhéstáno Notameohmésêhese America, North Algic, Plains Algonquian 1964 The decorative glyph of the Morning Star, a traditional icon of Cheyenne art, centered on a light blue field, represents the Northern Cheyenne.
Black american heritage flag African-Americans America, North English, Ebonics, Tutnese, Gullah 1967 The flag was created in 1967 by Melvin Charles and Gleason T. Jackson.[15] The idea to create the flag came about when Charles realized that every other group of people had a flag at parades except Black Americans. He designed the flag alongside Jackson and they would later travel the country to visit various churches, schools, and public events to promote the flag.[16]

The color red represents the blood shed by African Americans for freedom and equality in America. The color black represents pride in the black race. The color gold represents intellect, prosperity, and peace.[15]

Flag of Biafra Igbo people Africa, West Niger-Congo, Igbo 1967 Flag of the irredentist Republic of Biafra, after 1970 used as ethnic flag.[17]
Flag of the Navajo Nation Navajo people America, North Southern Athabaskan 1968 The black, white, turquoise, and yellow colors of the four sacred mountains come from the Navajo creation story, while the overall flag recalls sand painting, and a rainbow symbolizing Navajo sovereignty. In 1995 the Navajo flag became the first Native American tribal flag in space when Bernard Harris carried it aboard the space shuttle Discovery.
Assyrian flag Assyrian people (Syriac Christians) Asia, Western Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Aramaic 1971 A 1968 design adopted by the Assyrian Universal Alliance in 1971.
Australian Aboriginal Flag Aboriginal Australians Australia Australian 1971 Designed in 1971, given official recognition by the Australian authorities in 1995.
Dáayaangwaa Haida Gwaii Haida people America, North Haida 1974 Adopted in 1974 by the Council of the Haida Nation. A red field with an eagle and raven headed bird, surrounded by a circlet, charged in the centre, all in traditional Northwest Coast artform.
Flag of Acadiana Cajuns America, North 1974
Flag of the Pawnee Nation Pawnee people America, North Caddoan, Pawnee 1977 A wolf's head above a crossed tomahawk and peace pipe, which recalls the tribe's name. Below are six arrowheads for the six wars in which Pawnee have fought in the service of the United States.
Flag of the Cherokee Nation Cherokee people America, North Iroquoian 1978 The seven-pointed stars represent the seven clans of the Cherokees, while the black star represents those lost on the Trail of Tears.
Flag of Haudenosaunee Iroquois America, North Iroquoian 1980s Based on the Hiawatha Belt, the four squares and one tree represent the original five nations of the Confederacy, and the tree also represents the Tree of Peace.
Aramean-Syriac flag Arameans (Syriac Assyrians) Asia, Western Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Aramaic 1980 Used by the Bahro Suryoyo journal in 1980.
Sami flag Sami people Europe, Northern Finnic, Sami 1986 Adopted by the 13th Nordic Sami Conference on 15 August 1986.
Louisiana Creole flag Louisiana Creoles America, North Afro-Creole 1987
Flag of Greenland Greenlandic Inuit Arctic Greenlandic 1989 The only national flag of a Nordic country or territory without a Nordic Cross.
National Māori flag Māori people Oceania, New Zealand Austronesian, Maori 1990 Designed in 1990 and made the subject of an activist campaign until its official recognition by New Zealand authorities in 2009.
Flag of Artsakh Artsakhi Armenians Europe, Western Asia Indo-European 1992 The tricolor design comes from the original Armenian flag, while the white pattern represents the mountains of Artsakh, and also forms an arrow pointing westward to symbolize the aspiration for eventual union with Armenia.
Bosanski Ljiljan Bosniaks[18] Europe, South Serbo-Croatian 1992 Formerly the national flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina until 1998.[19]
Flag of Torres Strait Islands Torres Strait Islanders Australia Creole, Torres Strait Island 1992 Recognised by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission in June 1992, granted official status Australia in 1995.
Flag of the West Herzegovina Canton Bosnian Croats[20] Europe, South Serbo-Croatian 1992 Formerly the flag of the Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia from 1992 to 1996.
Flag of Merina people Merina people Africa, Madagascar Austronesian, Malagasy 1997 Since 1997.[21]
Berber flag Berbers Africa, North Afro-Asiatic, Berber 1998 Adopted by the World Amazigh Congress based on 1970s proposals by the Berber Academy.
Chaldean flag Chaldean-Assyrians Asia, Western Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Aramaic 1999 Approved by the International Chaldean Association of Professional Visual Artists and various other Chaldean organisations.[22] Designed by Amer Fatuhi.
Flag of the Hopi Tribe Hopi people America, North Uto-Aztecan 2002 [23]
Flag of Serbs of Croatia Serbs of Croatia Europe Serbo-Croatian 2005 (1997 in eastern Croatia) Adopted by the Serb National Council (2005) and the Joint Council of Municipalities (1997)
Flag of Rapa Nui Rapa Nui people Polynesia Austronesian, Rapanui 2006 A similar flag was used from the 13th century until 1899 during its period of independence.
Tornedalians Flag Tornedalians Europe, Northern Finnic 2007
Flag of the Iraqi Turkmen Iraqi Turkmen/Turkmeneli Asia Turkic 2007 This flag, with a white star and crescent and two white horizontal stripes on a light blue background, was first adopted as Flag of Iraqi National Turkmen Party in 2007,[24] a constituent political party of the Iraqi Turkmen Front.
Andean Wiphala Aymara people (Indigenous Bolivians) America, South Aymaran
2009 Article 6, section II of the Constitution of Bolivia established the southern Qullasuyu Wiphala as the dual flag of Bolivia.[25][26]
Flag of the Aromanians Aromanians Europe, Balkans Indo-European, Romance Unknown Variations of this flag exist according to the country in which the Aromanians are located.[27]

See also


  1. ^ "La bandera olvidada que representa a toda la Hispanidad". ABC Spain (in Spanish). 11 October 2015. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
  2. ^ Abū Khaldūn Sati' al-Husri, The days of Maysalūn: A Page from the Modern History of the Arabs, Sidney Glauser Trans. (Washington D.C.: Middle East Institute, 1966), 46.
  3. ^ Gabriella Elgenius (2007). Thomas Hylland Eriksen (ed.). Flag, Nation and Symbolism in Europe and America. Richard Jenkins. Routledge. p. 27. ISBN 978-1-134-06696-4. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  4. ^ "The Origins and Description of the Assyrian Flag" by Homer Ashurian, Assyrian Universal Alliance, 03-1999 Archived 17 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ a b Myers, Brian Reynolds (2011). "North Korea's state-loyalty advantage". Free Online Library. Archived from the original on 20 May 2018. Retrieved 29 May 2018. Judging from the yin-yang flag's universal popularity in South Korea, even among those who deny the legitimacy of the Republic of Korea, it evidently evokes the [Korean race] race first and the [South Korean] state second.
  6. ^ a b Myers, Brian Reynolds (20 December 2017). "North Korea's Unification Drive". Sthele Press. Retrieved 9 January 2018. When the average [South Korean] man sees the [South Korean] flag, he feels fraternity with [ethnic] Koreans around the world.
  7. ^ "Symbols and Traditions". Métis Nation of Ontario. Archived from the original on 2015-01-09. Retrieved 2015-01-08.
  8. ^ "The National Flag". 1 November 2018.
  9. ^ Jaume Olle', Crimea: The Tatars (Ukraine), Flags of the World — (10 July 2000). "adopted November 1917, abolished January 1918" (Jaumé Olle, Historical Flags, 1998).
  10. ^ "Vicenç Albert Ballester i Camps". Grup Enciclopèdia Catalana. Retrieved 23 August 2015.
  11. ^ "Svenska Brevmärken 1922" (in Swedish). Svenska Centralarkivet. Archived from the original on August 13, 2007. Retrieved April 5, 2010.
  12. ^ "Danube Swabian Association of Philadelphia and Vicinity". Retrieved 2022-02-14.
  13. ^ "The Danube Swabian Foundation of the U.S.A., Inc". Retrieved 2022-02-14.
  14. ^ "Hoist 'original' Naga National flag on August 14, NNC/FGN to NSF". The Morung Express. 6 August 2019. Retrieved 19 August 2022.
  15. ^ a b Flag, The Black American Heritage. "The Black American Heritage Flag". The Black American Heritage Flag. Retrieved 2022-06-26.
  16. ^ Charles, Melvin (2021-12-13). The Rallying Point. BookBaby. ISBN 978-1-6678-1023-2.
  17. ^ Minahan, James (2002). Encyclopedia of the Stateless Nations: S-Z. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 762. ISBN 0-313-32384-4.
  18. ^ "Bosnia's 'Foreign' Flag Still Draws Mixed Feelings". 6 December 2017.
  19. ^ Obad, Kemal (23 November 2015). "Geopolitical importance of Bosnia-Herzegovina in global relations". Daily Sabah. Turkey. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  20. ^ Mario Jareb: Hrvatski nacionalni simboli, Alfa, Hrvatski institut za povijest, Zagreb, 2010.
  21. ^ Merina local flag (Madagascar). Flags of the World (2015-05-20). Retrieved on 2017-10-17.
  22. ^ "Chaldean Flag ... from A to Z". Retrieved 2016-10-03.
  23. ^ Donald T. Healy, Peter J. Orenski, Native American Flags University of Oklahoma Press (2003), 92–94.
  24. ^ Strakes, Jason E. (2009). "Current Political Complexities of the Iraqi Turkmen". Iran and the Caucasus. 13 (2): 374. doi:10.1163/157338410X12625876281505. JSTOR 25703815. Retrieved 2022-02-14.
  25. ^ "Bandera indígena boliviana es incluida como símbolo patrio en nueva Constitución", October 21, 2008, United Press International.
  26. ^ Republic of Bolivia, [Text of the proposed] Nueva Constitución Política del Estado, 2007.
  27. ^ Ene, Maria Camelia (2016). "Paftaua, tipuri de decorații și simboluri. Accesorii din patrimoniul Muzeului Municipiului București" (PDF). Materiale de Istorie și Muzeografie (in Romanian). 30. Bucharest: Bucharest Municipality Museum: 123–149.

Further reading