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CIA World Factbook: Flags, Part 4.

Posted by Laurie Frost on November 1, 2009

Our last look at flags from the CIA World Factbook is a hodgepodge.

I like the flag of the British Indian Ocean Territory because of its wavy stripes:

The stylized boat on the flag for French Polynesia is quite nice, and I like the hat on Lesotho’s:









So are the shields on Swaziland’s and Kenya’s:










I find the design of the flag for the Northern Mariana Islands not entirely successful, even after the explanation that what the wreath surrounds is “a latte stone (a traditional foundation stone used in building).”  Why is the stone obscured by a star? And as much as I like the sailing ship,  Saint Pierre and Miquelon’s  just has too much going  on.









Can’t make the same complaint about Libya’s:

Just plain green.

And now, my very favorite of all. It is tempting not to look for an explanation of why it is as it is, but instead simply to enjoy the flag of the Isle of Man:

But I couldn’t resist visiting the Isle of Man website, where I learned, in essence, that the meaning of the legs is anyone’s guess:

National symbol

The National Symbol is the Three Legs of Man, first officially used in the early fourteenth century on the Manx Sword of State. The legs, clad in armour and bearing spurs, run in a clockwise direction and bear the Latin motto ‘Quocunque Jeceris Stabit’ or ‘Whichever way you throw it, it will stand’ – a testament to islanders’ independence and resilience. The Three Legs also appear on the Manx Coat of Arms, flanked by a Peregrine Falcon and a Raven.

The source of the legs emblem is subject to many theories including the legend of the Island God Manannan, who is said to have set fire to the Legs in a fit of rage and hurled them down the hill in a burning wheel. The Legs are also related to Sicily’s emblem of three naked legs surrounding the head of Medusa, and the swastika, both of which can be traced back to pagan symbols representing the Sun.


Credits for all images of flags: The CIA World Factbook


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