Click here for Wikipedia article on "Peace Flag." | Click here for Wikipedia article on "Flag of the Earth." | Click here for peace conferences.
Click here for "Organizational Flags of the United Nations and its Agencies" by Flags of the World (FOTW).
Click here for "Modern American Protest & Message Flags" by Flags of the World (FOTW).
These 24 flags have been used to symbolize Peace. Here is their history:
Right click any image to enlarge.
Early - White Flag. "Recognized in most of the world as a flag of surrender, truce or ceasefire." /// "The first mention of the usage of white flags to surrender is made during the Eastern Han dynasty (AD 25–220). In the Roman Empire, the historian Cornelius Tacitus mentions a white flag of surrender in AD 109. Before that time, Roman armies would surrender by holding their shields above their heads. The white flag was widely used in the Middle Ages in Western Europe to indicate an intent to surrender. The color white was used generally to indicate a person was exempt from combat; heralds bore white wands, prisoners or hostages captured in battle would attach a piece of white paper to their hat or helmet, and garrisons that had surrendered and been promised safe passage would carry white batons." /// Bottom image shows white flags at Burning Man Festival 2008 in Black Rock Desert, Nevada (USA). Image © Scott London. "During the period of the Ancien Régime, starting in the early 17th century, the royal standard of France became a plain white flag as a symbol of purity, sometimes covered in fleur-de-lis when in the presence of the king or bearing the ensigns of the Order of the Holy Spirit. The white color was also used as a symbol of military command, by the commanding officer of a French army. It would be featured on a white scarf attached to the regimental flag as to recognise French units from foreign ones & avoid friendly fire incidents. The French troops fighting in the American War of Independence fought under the white flag."
June 14, 1816 - London (England). Society for the Promotion of Permanent & Universal Peace -- better known as the London Peace Society, the Peace Society or the International Peace Society -- is founded by Quaker William Allen [1770-1843] & Rev. Thomas Harper.
1864 - "The Red Cross on white background was the original protection symbol declared at the 1864 Geneva Convention. The ideas to introduce a uniform and neutral protection symbol as well as its specific design originally came from Dr. Louis Appia [1818-1898] & General Henri Dufour [1787-1875], founding members of the International Committee. The Red Cross is defined as a protection symbol in Article 7 of the 1864 Geneva Convention, Chapter VII ("The distinctive emblem") and Article 38 of the 1949 Geneva Convention ("For the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field"). There is an unofficial agreement within the Red Cross & Red Crescent Movement that the shape of the cross should be a cross composed of five squares. However, regardless of the shape, any Red Cross on white background should be valid & must be recognized as a protection symbol in conflict." - Flags at Musée International de la Croix-Rouge et du Croissant-Rouge / International Red Cross & Red Crescent Museum, 17 avenue de la Paix, Geneva (Switzerland).
1887 - Verda Stelo / Green Star of the Esperanto Movement. The earliest flag, and the one most commonly used today, features a green five-pointed star against a white canton, upon a field of green. It was proposed to Ludwik Zamenhof [1859-1917] by Irishman Richard Geoghegan [1866-1943], author of the first Esperanto textbook for English speakers, in 1887. The flag was approved in 1905 by delegates to the first conference of Esperantists at Boulogne-sur-Mer. A version with an "E" superimposed over the green star is sometimes seen. Other variants include that for Christian Esperantists, with a white Christian cross superimposed upon the green star, and that for Leftists, with the color of the field changed from green to red.
1891 - Peace Flag. "In 1866, in the immediate aftermath of the American Civil War, Alfred H. Love [1830-1913], a Quaker pacificist, launched a new peace organization, the Universal Peace Union (UPU), from his home in Philadelphia. While it was just one of several peace initiatives that emerged in the 19th century, the UPU was unique in its efforts to raise public awareness for the peace movement. Alfred Love wanted to harness the growing enthusiasm for nationalism to the cause of peace; thus was born the 'Peace Flag' -- a national flag bordered in white to symbolize a peaceful alaternative to militant patriotism." /// Flag shown here "is displayed on the wall on the second floor by the Press Gallery exhibit, Mary Baker Eddy Library, Boston (USA)..." 1891 - "The third Universal Peace Congress in Rome (Italy) devised a generalized Peace Flag design, which was simply the home nation's flag bordered in white to signify non-violent conflict resolution. This was used (although not officially adopted) by the American Peace Society & the Universal Peace Union. It was designed by Henry Pettit."
October 12, 1892 (Columbus Day) - "The Pledge of Allegiance was conceived by James Upham of a popular children’s magazine of the day, the Youths Companion, and was penned by a Baptist Minster named Francis Bellamy [1855-1931] in 1892. The pledge was intended to be a short & succinct oath of loyalty to the American flag for children to recite in school & for adults to be recite at patriotic events. The plan was that each school classroom room would have a flag for the children to face in the morning while they Pledged Allegiance. Classrooms that did not have a flag (most did not at the time) could order one from the Companion. Children first faced the flag & recited the Pledge of Allegiance on Columbus Day, October 12th, 1892. Shortly thereafter the pledge was introduced to & recited in other schools... On April 25, 1893, hundreds of citizens from far & wide, foreign dignitaries, politicians & the leaders of government stood [at the Twin Lights Lighthouse in Highlands, Monmouth County, New Jersey] to participate in the first public reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance. They arrived by train, ferry, horseback & horse-drawn carriage. The streets of Highlands were lined with carriage & buggies while their owners attended the event. Back then, if you were standing here & looked behind you to the ocean you would have seen a parade of warships from the US Navy as well as many foreign navies passing in review. Just off shore you would have seen and heard the last of the US Navy’s old Monitor-class battleships, the USS Miantonomoh, rendering a 21-gun salute... Since the Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892, three changes have been made. Originally the Pledge was to 'my flag' and was changed to 'to the flag of the United States of America.' In 1954, during the Cold War, the words 'under God' were added to distinguish the United States from the atheist Soviet Union."
1897 - Peace Flag, US National Council of Women. Pro Concordia Labor (For Peace I Work) is the motto of the Peace Flag adopted in 1897. It was adopted to stand as a symbol for anyone working on behalf of peace, humanity, universal brotherhood, cosmopolitan values & a notion of 'patriotism' that transcends state loyalty. The colors were chosen so that the flag would not be confused with any other nation's flag." October 2014 - Presentation of a Pro Concordia Labor flag at the weekly Wednesday protest of the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul (South Korea) by Prof. Hope Elizabeth May, Central Michigan University.
1907 - Christian Flag. "Was first conceived on September 26, 1897, at Brighton Chapel on Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York (USA). The superintendent of a Sunday school, Charles C. Overton, gave an impromptu lecture to the gathered students, because the scheduled speaker had failed to arrive for the event. He gave a speech asking the students what a flag representing Christianity would look like. Overton thought about his improvised speech for many years afterward. In 1907, he & Ralph Diffendorfer [1879-1951], secretary of the Methodist Young People's Missionary Movement, designed & began promoting the flag."
1907 - Flag of Peace. US flag with white border overlain with inscription "Peace for all Nations." /// "New York City became the national focal point of the peace movement in 1907, when Andrew Carnegie [1835-1919] presided over the National Arbitration and Peace Congress. Two American "Peace Flags" hung above the speakers' podium. Following the proceedings, Mary Baker Eddy [1821-1910]was presented with one of them..." /// This flag was "presented to Carnegie by the Daughters of the American Revolution [DAR]. New York Public Library." /// "Mr. Carnegie: We, Helen Beach Tillottson and Richmond P. Hobson, are authorized and instructed by the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, in National Convention assembled in Washington, D.C., to present to you this flag of peace now floating over this Congress, in token of their affectionate appreciation of your bountiful labor of love in the holy cause of peace. "
1913 - Vredesvlag / World Peace Flag of James William van Kirk, The Hague (Netherlands). The Rev. "James William van Kirk [1858-1946], a minister from Youngstown, Ohio (USA), designed a peace flag with rainbow stripes, stars & a globe. With this flag, he twice made a peace tour through Europe. The Universal Peace Congress adopted this flag as its World Peace Flag." /// "At the beginning of the 20th century, he conceived the plan to visit Europe & to place a bit to contribute to the world wide living for peace. He designed a rainbow flag that was to symbolize the international world. This silk made by the minister himself blue flag showed rainbow stripes, stars & planet Earth. His plan was to offer this banner all over the world rulers, presidents & politicians. In 1913 he came to The Hague (Netherlands) & gave at the opening of the Peace Palace at Andrew Carnegie are emblem of world peace. After returning to America was Reverend Van Kirk on his European tour many lectures & visited hundreds of schools to tell his story peace." [Google translation]
1914 - Olympic Flag - "Created by Baron Pierre de Coubertin [1863-1937] in 1914... The primary symbol of the Olympic Games is composed of five interlocking rings, colored blue, yellow, black, green & red on a white field, known as the 'Olympic rings.' This symbol was originally designed in 1912 by de Coubertin, co-founder of the modern Olympic Games. According to Coubertin, the ring colors with the white background stand for those colors that appeared on all the national flags that competed in the Olympic games at that time."
About 1914 - "Votes for Women!" pennants of the Woman Suffrage Party. Depict the 1911 sculpture by Ella Buchanan [1869-1951]. Preserved in upstate New York, the lower pennant was featured on a 2011 "History Detectives" segment on PBS television. Click here for transcript of the broadcast, including interview with Louise Bernikow.
March 3, 1913 - Woman Suffrage Procession, Washington, DC (USA). Poster shows suffragist riding on a white horse & blowing trumpet adorned with a "Votes for Women" banner. Procession was actually led by Inez Milholland Boissevain [1886-1916] on a white horse.
After 1915 - International World Peace Flag. Label on post card: "Designed and distributed by the World Peace Association, Northfield, Minnesota, U.S.A." /// From Jud Fenner, 28 February 2009: "...the organization for world peace began in 1915 in Northfield, Minnesota, USA. They designed the International World Peace Flag. It was a white flag with a 3" red strip at the top and bottom to outline the flag. the center of the flag was a globe showing the East and Western hemispheres. Centered in the globe was a dove and olive branch. Northfield, Mn is just south of Saint Paul, Minneapolis on the interstate. At sometime prior to 1930 the headquarters moved to Jenkins, Minnesota."
1917 - Suffragette Flag, National Woman's Party (NWP) founded by Alice Paul & Lucy Burns in 1913. Date? - "Votes for Women" button.
1929 - "In 1929, Nicholas Roerich [1874-1947] in collaboration with doctor of international law from Paris University George G. Chklaver prepared a draft of an agreement dedicated to protection of cultural values (Roerich’s Pact). Coupled with the Pact Roerich proposed a distinctive sign for identification of protected objects -- Banner of Peace which was a white cloth containing a red ring and three red circles inscribed in it. The sign symbolized a unity of the past, present & future into the ring of eternity. In 1929, N. Roerich was nominated for Nobel prize for his international cultural activity & Pact initiation." August 1932 - "Delegates of second international conference dedicated to the Roerich Pact. Bruges (Belgium). Above them hangs a banner of peace." January 8, 2000 - "V. Chukov (Russia), V. Drabo (Belarus) & worker of the American Pole Station 'Amundsen-Scott' with the Banner of Peace on the South Pole."
1931 - "Pax Cultura" by Nicholas Roerich [1874-1947]. Where is this painting today?
1932 - " Madonna Oriflamma / The Lady of scarlet flame," Nicholas Roerich Museum, New York City, New York (USA). Tempera on canvas. 173.5 x 99.5 cm. By Nicholas Roerich [1874-1947].
Poem by Nicholas Roerich. "Flowers of Moria. The Lady of the Banner of Peace:""The Lady of the Banner of Peace! Upon You, Our Lady, we set our hopes. Who will raise the Sign of Peace, The Sign of the Preservation of Heavenly Treasures? Who, if not You, will help us To raise the Banner, the Sign of creation for the sake of people? The sea is rough, and whirlwinds are destructive, But You’ll raise the Banner And fill people’s hearts With the consciousness of the sacred Spirit. You know that this Sign must not be put off, You know what destructions the earth has survived, You know how the best things are defamed, The things which are indispensable for people."
Before WW-II? - Flag of anarcho-pacifism (& sometimes of Christian anarchism). Bisected flag. "Anarcho-pacifism (also pacifist anarchism or anarchist pacifism) is a tendency within the anarchist movement which rejects the use of violence in the struggle for social change & the abolition of the state. The main early influences were the thought of Henry David Thoreau & Leo Tolstoy while later the ideas of Mohandas Gandhi gained importance. Pacifist anarchism 'appeared mostly in The Netherlands, Britain & the USA before & after the Second World War and has continued since then in the deep in the anarchist involvement in the protests against nuclear armament."
1939-1941 - Flag of the League of Nations / "Société des Nations". Click here for Wikipedia article on the League. Click here for article on the League's flag.
October 1942 - Four Freedoms Flag. Also called the "United Nations Honor Flag." "Was influenced by [President] Roosevelt's Four Freedoms speech, and intended to symbolize the World War II Allies and their goals, as set down in the Atlantic Charter and the Declaration by United Nations. Designed by Brooks Harding in October 1942, and saw some use between 1943 and 1948. Has sometimes been called the first 'United Nations flag' but was never an official organizational flag of the United Nations." Date? - "Why We Fight: [Actrice] Ella Raines [1920-1988] displays the 'Four Freedoms' flag."
1945 - Flag of the United Nations. A white UN emblem (world map surrounded by two olive branches) on a light blue background. "The organizers of the 1945 United Nations Conference on International Organization in San Francisco, California (USA), wanted an insignia that could be made into a pin to identify delegates. US Secretary of State Edward Stettinius, Jr., was chairperson of the US delegation & realized that a temporary design might become the permanent symbol of the United Nations. He formed a committee headed by Oliver Lundquist that developed a design consisting of a world map surrounded by leaves from a design created by Donal McLaughlin. The blue colour that appears in the background of the insignia was chosen to be 'the opposite of red, the war colour,' generally taken to be Pantone 279, although the exact shade has never been officially specified by the United Nations. The globe is bisected in the centre by the Prime Meridian & the International Date Line. The olive branches are a symbol for peace, & the world map represents all the people of the world. In 1946, a UNO committee got the task of making a definite design, which adopted by the plenary session of the UNO on December 7, 1946."
1954 - World Citizen Flag. Designed & promoted by Garry Davis. "A German newspaper (Passauer Neue Presse 6 March 1954) mentions the 'first world citizen,' Garry Davis, waving the flag of World Citizenship in front of UN headquarters at New York." 1956 - Garry Davis [1921-2013] who lived for 60 years as a citizen of no nation, only the world. He founded the World Service Authority in Washington, DC (USA), which issues the World Passport (usually not considered a valid passport) to world citizens..."
February 21, 1958 - Peace Sign aka Peace Symbol. Designed by Gerald Holtom [1914-1985] for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). Widely used ever since by many individuals & organizations. No standard for color or other format, including flags. Click here for peace monuments using the CND peace sign as a symbol. Date? - US flag with peace sign canton.
1961 - International peace flag. "First used in Italy on a 1961 peace march from Perugia to Assisi organized by the pacifist & social philosopher Aldo Captini [1899–1968]." /// "The most common recent design is a rainbow flag representing peace, first used in Italy at a peace march in 1961. The flag was inspired by similar multi-coloured flags used in demonstrations against nuclear weapons. A previous version had featured a dove drawn by Pablo Picasso. The most common variety has seven colours — purple, blue, azure, green, yellow, orange, and red — and is emblazoned in bold with the Italian word PACE, meaning 'peace.' It became popular with the Pace da tutti i balconi ("peace from every balcony") campaign in 2002, started as a protest against the impending war in Iraq. The flag was flown from balconies in all Italian cities by citizens against the war. Its use spread to other countries too, and the Italian Pace was sometimes, but not everywhere, replaced with the corresponding translation in the local languages. According to Amnesty International, producer Franco Belsito had produced about 1,000 flags per year for 18 years, and suddenly had to cope with a demand in the range of millions. Common variations include moving the purple stripe down below the azure one, and adding a white stripe on top. The seven-color peace flag is not to be confused with the similar six-color gay pride flag, which does not have turquoise and has red at the top instead of the bottom."
1960's - "At college campuses during the 1960s, some people demonstrated for world peace by carrying a Flag of the Races (also called the Flag of the Human Race) with five horizontal stripes (from top to bottom they were red, black, brown, yellow & white, representing respectively the American Indian race, the Negro race, the Malayan race, the Mongolian race & the Caucasian race). Gilbert Baker is said to have gotten the idea for the rainbow flag from this flag.] The early flag of the Republic of China also featured five stripes standing for five ethnicities.
1969 - Earth Day Flag. "Designed by John McConnell [1915-2012] for the first Earth Day in 1969. A dark blue field charged with The Blue Marble, a famous NASA photo of the Earth as seen from outer space. The first edition of McConnell's flag used screen-printing and used different colors: ocean & land were white and the clouds were blue. McConnell presented his flag to the United Nations as a symbol for consideration. Because of the political views of its creator and its having become a symbol of Earth Day, the flag is associated with environmental awareness, and the celebration of the global community. It was offered for sale originally in the Whole Earth Catalog, and is the only flag which is currently endorsed by McConnell. The Blue Marble image was placed in the public domain where it remains to this day. The public nature of this image was the basis of a legal battle that resulted in the invalidation of a trademark and copyright that was originally issued to the Earth Day flag through its original promotional entity, World Equity, Inc. This does not invalidate the official history of McConnell's flag, only the official patent that was issued on it."
April 12, 1970 - Ecology Flag. "Ron Cobb created an ecology symbol which he published on November 7, 1969, in the Los Angeles Free Press & then placed it in the public domain. The symbol was formed by taking the letters 'e' and 'o', taken from the words 'environment' & 'organism', and putting them in superposition, thereby forming a shape reminiscent of the Greek letter Theta. Look magazine incorporated the symbol into an image of a flag in their April 21, 1970, issue. It widely popularized the theta symbol, which it associated with the Greek word thanatos (death) in light of human threats to the environment & atmosphere of the earth. The flag was patterned after the flag of the United States, and had thirteen stripes alternating green and white. Its canton was green with the ecology symbol where the stars would be in the US flag. /// One of the earliest recorded flyings of the Ecology Flag was in 1971. As a 16-year-old high school student, Betsy Vogel Boze, an environmental advocate & social activist [who] enjoyed sewing costumes & unique gifts, made a 3 x 5 foot green and white 'theta' ecology flag to commemorate the first Earth Day. Initially denied permission to fly the flag at C.E. Byrd High School in Shreveport, Louisiana, Vogel sought & received authorization from the Louisiana Legislature & Louisiana Governor John McKeithen in time to display the flag for Earth Day." Ecology Symbol - From John Shore: "For years now I’ve been waiting for Ye Old Ecology Symbol to once again become the ubiquitous cultural icon it was in the late ’60's and early ’70's. Has it, though, and I just … don’t know that? Has The Little 'e' That Could become huge again, by any chance? I figure by now it must have. Symbols from the ’60's seem quite the rage these days. And, except for the peace sign (which of course we now see everywhere), you can’t get more ’60's than the 'e' ecology symbol."
June 25, 1978 - "The original gay pride flag flew in the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade on June 25, 1978. It has been suggested that Gilbert Baker was inspired by Judy Garland's singing "Over the Rainbow" and the Stonewall riots that happened a few days after Garland's death. The flag also strongly resembles the ribbon colors of the WWI Victory Medal, though no connection is evidenced. Another suggestion for how the rainbow flag originated is that at college campuses during the 1960s, some people demonstrated for world peace by carrying a Flag of the Races (also called the Flag of the Human Race) with five horizontal stripes (from top to bottom they were red, black, brown, yellow, and white). Gilbert Baker is said to have gotten the idea for the rainbow flag from this flag in borrowing it from the Hippie movement of that time largely influenced by pioneering gay activist Allen Ginsberg. The flag consisted of eight stripes; Baker assigned specific meaning to each of the [eight] colors." /// Image shows six-color version popular since 1979.
Date? - Peace Dove Flag. Informal. Various designs. Blue is popular but not exclusive. Click here for various uses of the dove as a symbol of peace.
1982? - International Day of Peace Logo. "The International Day of Peace is observed annually on 21 September. It is dedicated to world peace, and specifically the absence of war & violence, such as might be occasioned by a temporary ceasefire in a combat zone for humanitarian aid access. The day was first celebrated in 1982, and is kept by many nations, political groups, military groups & peoples. In 2013, for the first time, the Day was dedicated by the UN Secretary-General to peace education, the key preventive means to reduce war sustainably..." September 21, 2013 - "In 2013, the embassies of Colombia, Equatorial Guinea & Ecuador in London (England) officially agreed to support The Peace Flag initiative by raising a colorless version of their respective flags on September 21." Image shows the Ecuadorian flag.
1996 - One World Flag. "An international symbol of diversity, tolerance, uniqueness, self-esteem & cooperation which has been endorsed by a growing number of individuals, groups, educational, spiritual & diplomatic leaders for its mission statement, purpose & widesweeping inspirational effect... Representing sky above and earth below, the circular icon grabs the eye & pulls our attention to center. Like the familiar 'yin-yang' symbol & other mandalas, it encompasses all, with everything in balance. Placed within a framework of colors representing the four directions..." Promoted by David Bartholomew & Joan Clark who operate the LunaBella Labyrinth at 1661 East 400th Road, Lawrence, Kansas (USA), since 2012.
October 7, 2000 - Flag of the Global Country of World Peace (GCWP). From talk by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi [1918–2008], founder of Transcendental Meditation (TM) , January 12, 2001: "We have established a country of perpetual peace on earth, a Global Country of World Peace. The character of the country is the character indicated by these words: world peace, world peace. Peace is the basis in which blossoms dynamism... The rising sun is in the flag of the Global Country of World Peace. The rising sun in the Vedic language is the time of rule of the life-giving sun Surya Mansheys. The heritage of ruling power belongs to the sun. Sun is the life-giving sun; that is why all power all might has been attributed to the sun..."
March 30, 2014 - Climate Flag. Launched at Berkeley Marina OCSC Sailing School Lawn & Pavillion, 1 Spinnaker Way, Berkeley, California (USA). "A cross-organizational, visual tool that carries a simple message: 'I care about our climate. I support climate action, renewable energies and green technologies. I am raising the flag to show industry leaders, lawmakers and the media that I care about climate and I vote. I am raising the flag to support uncommon solutions for the common good.' The Climate Flag is in the public domain. There are no royalties. It is everybody's flag. You can read more about it at www.climateflag.org." /// "The Design: Echoes of the Earth Flag, the Ecology Flag & the Rainbow Flag with elements that are easy to reproduce and make. The Colors: Yellow, White, Blue & Green bands could symbolize the sun, the ozone, the waters, the earth or solar power, wind power, tidal power & green technologies or perhaps, they mean something else to you? The Circle: Inspired by the Big Blue Marble [sic], the first image humanity had ever seen of the Earth from space & the power of coming together for the common good. Unification."
Future - Peace Bell Foundation Flag. Tentative design by World Wide Peace Bell Foundation in Hopewell Junction, New York (USA). This would be the first flag to depict a peace bell. /// Information from Doug Martin.
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