vexillology Vexillology () is the study of the history, symbolism and usage of flag A flag is a piece of textile, fabric (most often rectangular or quadrilateral) with a distinctive design and colours. It is used as a symbol, a signalling device, or fo ...
, a state flag is either the flag of the
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature, Executive (government), ex ...
of a
sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity that is represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereign states as having a permanent population, defined territory, one government ...
, or the flag of an individual
federated state A federated state (which may also be referred to as a state, a province, a region, a canton, a (bundes)land, a governorate, an oblast, an emirate or a country) is a territorial and constitutional community forming part of a federation. Such ...
(subnational administrative division).

Government flag

A state flag is a variant of a national flag (or occasionally a completely different design) specifically designated and restricted by law or custom (theoretically or actually) to use by a country's government or its agencies. For this reason, they are sometimes referred to as ''government flags''. In many countries the state flag and the
civil flag A civil flag is a version of the national flag that is flown by civilians on nongovernmental installations or craft. The use of civil flags was more common in the past to denote buildings or ships not manned by the military. In some countries, th ...
(as flown by the general public) are identical, but in other countries, notably those in Latin America, central Europe, and Scandinavia, the state flag is a more complex version of the national flag, often featuring the national coat of arms or some other emblem as part of the design. Scandinavian countries also use Swallowtail (flag), swallowtailed state flags, to further differentiate them from civil flags. In addition, some countries have state ensigns, separate flags for use by non-military government ships such as Coast guard, guard vessels. For example, government ships in the United Kingdom fly the Blue Ensign. State flags should not be confused with the national flag as used by military organisations; these are referred to as war flags and Ensign, naval ensigns.

National flags with separate state and civil versions

Flag of a federated state (subnational entity)

In Australia, Brazil, the United States, and some other federalized countries, the term state flag can have a different usage, as it frequently refers to an official flag of any of the individual Federated state, states or administrative division, territorial subdivisions that make up the nation. To avoid confusion with the first meaning of the term, however, such a flag would be more precisely referred to as "the flag of the state of X", rather than "the state flag of X". For this usage, see also: * List of Australian flags#States and Territories, Flags of the Australian states * Flags and coats of arms of the Austrian states, Flags of the Austrian states * Flags of Brazilian states, Flags of the Brazilian states * Flags of the U.S. states and territories, Flags of the US states and territories * Flags of German states, Flags of the German states * List of Malaysian flags#States and Territories, Flags of the Malaysian states * State flags of Mexico, Flags of the Mexican states * List_of_British_flags#Countries_of_the_United_Kingdom, Flags of the UK's countries




External links

* {{DEFAULTSORT:State Flag fi:Suomen lippu#Valtiolippu Types of flags