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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.
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, the proposed flag of Pan-Slavism (1848), 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), the flag of the Romani people (1971), the Berber flag (1970s), the Sami flag (1986) or the 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. In many cases, the national flag of a sovereign state is often seen and used as a de facto ethnic flag by its people.
- Media related to Cultural flags at Wikimedia Commons
- Media related to Flags of ethnic groups at Wikimedia Commons
- Media related to Flags of active autonomist and secessionist movements at Wikimedia Commons
- Media related to Native American flags in Latin America at Wikimedia Commons
- Media related to Native American flags in the United States at Wikimedia Commons
|image||name||group||world region||linguistic phylum||introduction||notes|
|A bandera Corsa||Corsicans||Europe, West||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).|
|Circassian Flag||Circassians||Europe, Caucasus||Northwest Caucasian, Adyghe||1830; 1992||Used by Circassians since the 19th century and Adygea since 1992.|
|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 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 Franco Spain 1938–1977, official adoption as the flag of the Basque Country in 1978.|
|Bosanski Ljiljan||Bosniaks||Europe, South||Serbo-Croatian||1992||Formerly the national flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina until 1998.|
|Flag of the West Herzegovina Canton||Bosnian Croats||Europe, South||Serbo-Croatian||1992||Formerly the flag of the Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia from 1992 to 1996.|
|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 the Arab Revolt||Arabs||Asia, Western||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.|
|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.|
|Pan-African flag||Black Africans||Africa||—||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.|
|Flag of Livonians||Livonians||Europe, Northern||Finnic, Livonian||1923||Used by Livonian Society (Līvõd Īt) in 1923.|
|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.|
|Flag of the Kurds||Kurds, Kurdish irredentism||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.|
|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.|
|Malay tricolour||Malay people, Malayness||Asia, Southeast||Austronesian, Malay||1946||Introduced by the United Malays National Organisation (1946).|
|Druze flag||Druze||Levant, West Asia||West Asian,||1948||Adopted by the Druze Mental Chiefdom based on "Five Limits Star Druze Star.|
|Flag of Biafra||Igbo people||Africa, West||Niger-Congo, Igbo||1967||Flag of the irredentist Republic of Biafra, after 1970 used as ethnic flag.|
|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.|
|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 and an allegorical reference to the term "red man," by which they were referred to by European Americans. The flag is sometimes used to represent the Great Sioux Nation at large and is the flag of the unrecognized Republic of Lakotah.|
|Flag of the Cherokee Nation||Cherokee Nation||America, North||Iroquoian||1978||Approved by the Tribal Council in 1978, altered in 1989 (addition of a black star).|
|Flag of the Choctaw Nation||Choctaw Nation||America, North||Muskogean, Western||1860; 1970s||First flag adopted in 1860 during 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 the Mapuches||Mapuche Nation||America, South||Araucanian, Mapudungun||16th-17th century; 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.|
|Aramean-Syriac flag||Aramaeans (Syriac Christians)||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.|
|Tino Rangatiratanga flag||Maori||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.|
|Torres Strait Islander flag||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 Merina people||Merina people||Africa, Madagascar||Austronesian, Malagasy||1997||Since 1997.|
|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 Christians||Asia, Western||Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Aramaic||1999||Approved by the International Chaldean Association of Professional Visual Artists and various other Chaldean organisations. Designed by Amer Fatuhi.|
|Flag of the Hopi Nation||Hopi people||America, North||Uto-Aztecan||2002|||
|Coptic flag||Copts||Africa, North||Afro-Asiatic, Coptic||2005||This flag is not recognized by the Coptic Orthodox Church or the Coptic Catholic Church but is used by a New Zealand-based movement called "The Free Copts" as a sign of opposition to Islamic authority in Egypt.|
|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.|
|Flag of East Turkestan||Uyghurs||Asia||Turkic||1934|
|Flag of the Iraqi Turkmen Front||Iraqi Turkmen||Asia||Turkic|
- List of former sovereign states
- Flags of subnational entities
- Flags of unrecognized states
- Flags of micronations
- "La bandera olvidada que representa a toda la Hispanidad". ABC Spain (in Spanish). 11 October 2015. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
- 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.
- 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.
- "The Origins and Description of the Assyrian Flag" by Homer Ashurian, Assyrian Universal Alliance, 03-1999 Archived 17 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine
- 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.
- 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.
- "Symbols and Traditions". Métis Nation of Ontario. Archived from the original on 2015-01-09. Retrieved 2015-01-08.
- "Bosnia's 'Foreign' Flag Still Draws Mixed Feelings". www.balkaninsight.com.
- Obad, Kemal (23 November 2015). "Geopolitical importance of Bosnia-Herzegovina in global relations". Daily Sabah. Turkey. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
- Mario Jareb: Hrvatski nacionalni simboli, Alfa, Hrvatski institut za povijest, Zagreb, 2010.
- Jaume Olle', Crimea: The Tatars (Ukraine), Flags of the World — (10 July 2000). "adopted November 1917, abolished January 1918" (Jaumé Olle, Historical Flags, 1998).
- "Svenska Brevmärken 1922" (in Swedish). Svenska Centralarkivet. Archived from the original on August 13, 2007. Retrieved April 5, 2010.
- Minahan, James (2002). Encyclopedia of the Stateless Nations: S-Z. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 762. ISBN 0-313-32384-4.
- Merina local flag (Madagascar). Flags of the World (2015-05-20). Retrieved on 2017-10-17.
- "Chaldean Flag ... from A to Z". Retrieved 2016-10-03.
- Donald T. Healy, Peter J. Orenski, Native American Flags University of Oklahoma Press (2003), 92–94.
- "The Coptic Flag, Meanings and Colors by The Free Copts". Archived from the original on 2007-01-14. Retrieved 2016-10-03.
- Ene, Maria Camelia (2016). "Paftaua, tipuri de decorații și simboluri. Accesorii din patrimoniul Muzeului Municipiului București" (PDF) (in Romanian). 30. Bucharest: Bucharest Municipality Museum: 123–149. Cite journal requires
- Znamierowski, Alfred (2001). The World Encyclopedia of Flags. London, UK: Hermes House.
- Flags of the World - FOTW
- Media related to Flags of ethnic groups at Wikimedia Commons