History and Design of the Monaco Flag
The flag of the Principality of Monaco is intriguing in its style and simplicity. Not only is it one of the oldest flags in history, but it has undergone the least number of changes when compared with virtually any other country’s flag. The design itself is simple, with two equal sections, one in red and one in white. The red makes up the top section of the flag, while the white is used on the bottom half. Officially adopted in 1881, it is flown as the civil and national flag on land, and the national and civil ensign at sea.
The colors of the flag symbolize the heraldic colors of the Grimaldi family, who ruled Monaco at the time the flag was created. The Grimaldi family used these colors in a diamond shaped pattern on the shield belonging to their family’s coat of arms. However, although the diamond pattern was used temporarily on the Monaco flag and such flags still exist, it was ultimately the simplistic, solid colors that were eventually chosen as the official pattern.
The flag is often displayed in proportions of 4:5, rather than the standard 2:3 seen with most flags. A ratio of 4:5 creates an almost perfect square, which adds to the simple, but unusual appearance of the flag. However, it is sometimes made in standard flag proportions of 2:3.
Interesting Monaco Flag Facts
Monaco’s flag is identical to Indonesia’s flag although the latter is always seen in standard 2:3 proportions. The flag of Poland is very similar as well; however, it features the red and white color scheme reversed. It is also identical to the flag of Austria before it was replaced by Hitler with the swastika flag after Austria was annexed to Germany in 1938. The person who initially designed the flag has not been agreed upon by historians, and some believe it was the Grimaldi family themselves when they began to rule Monaco in the 13th century. It was officially adopted under Prince Charles III in April of 1881.
Although the flag itself is not intricately designed or full of mysterious symbolism, it is still an intriguing flag precisely because of its simplicity and unusual shape. The people of the beautiful Principality of Monaco seem quite pleased with their flag and no recent suggestions to change it have been voiced. For this reason, it is likely that the striking red and white pattern will remain the design of the Monaco flag for many years to come.