Flags with lions

Flags with Lion

Employing animals in order to convey a nation’s principle values is common practice in modern world. In fact, eagles are a popular theme on flags, but lions also have their fare share in flag depiction!

What does a lion symbolize?

Being dubbed the “king of the jungle”, it comes as so surprise that the lion has always been a typical motif in heraldry. It denotes courage, nobility, royalty, strength, stateliness and valor, so it is no wonder that it has been historically associated with royalty and monarchy. A lion exudes confidence, charisma, fortitude but also agility and affection.

Why do many lions stand on their hind legs?

Being dubbed the “king of the jungle”, it comes as so surprise that the lion has always been a typical motif in heraldry. It denotes courage, nobility, royalty, strength, stateliness and valor, so it is no wonder that it has been historically associated with royalty and monarchy. A lion exudes confidence, charisma, fortitude but also agility and affection.

Countries and Territories with lions on their flags

1) Bermuda flag

Bermuda Flag

Being launched in 1910 and modified in 1999 (when an enlarged coat of arms was added), the red Bermuda flag bears a British ensign on the canton side and an rampant red lion in the coat of arms on the fly side; the lion is holding a shield depicting a sinking ship, thus paying tribute to the “Sea Venture”, which went down not far from the country’s coastline in the early seventeenth century.

2) Cayman Islands flag

Cayman Islands Flag

After claiming their independence from Great Britain, the Cayman Islands came up with a design featuring the British flag on the hoist side and a coat of arms on the fly side with a tortoise and a gold lion passant guardant below it in a shield.

3) Fiji flag

Fiji Flag

Fiji’s national flag is a special one: being launched in October 1970 to celebrate the nation’s independence, it features a plethora of symbols – including a lion of course! Among coconuts, bananas and sugar canes (which play a big role in Fiji’s farming industry), as well as a dove (standing for peace), there is a lion holding a cocoa pod between its paws, insinuating the country’s relation to Britain.

4) Jersey flag

Jersey Flag

The flag of Jersey, an island and self-governing British Crown Dependency near the coast of north-west France, has not one but three golden lions depicted in the coat of arms on a white flag with red crosses, at the point where those two lines intersect. It’s worth noting here that the current design of the flag (with three lions passant guardant) was actually the outcome of a compromise when discussing the changes the flag had to undergo back in 1979.

5) Montenegro flag

Montenegro Flag

Montenegro’s flag is red with yellow borders with a coat of arms in the middle. On it, two eagles facing opposite sides hold a shield showing a lion with one paw up (a “lion passant”), a sign of episcopal authority and the symbol of Judah. The current flag debuted in 2004.

6) South Georgia and the South Sandwich flag

South Georgia and South Sandwich Flag

The South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands is a British Overseas Territory that predictably incorporates the Union Jack on the top left corner. The coat of arms appearing on the fly side depicts a reindeer as well as a penguin and a sea lion holding a shield with a golden lion on it holding a torch of fire. Underneath the ensemble, a motto reads “May the Lion protect his own land”.

7) Spain flag

Spain Flag

The Spanish flag, initially approved in 1785 and taking its current design in 1981, features a thick central yellow stripe sandwiched by two red bands. An off-center coat of arms depicts a lion rampant, the symbol of the Kingdom of Leon.

8) Sri Lanka flag

Sri Lanka Flag

Finally, Sri Lanka has a flag comprising of green, yellow and red. Officially adopted in May 1972, the flag is divided into a relatively smaller hoist-side panel with two vertical green and orange bands. The fly-side panel shows a yellow lion holding a sword in its right front paw. The lion signifies fortitude, tenacity and the Sinhalese ethnicity, while the sword stands for the nation’s sovereignty.

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