This is the definitive guide to international flags, banners, standards and ensigns, with over 1400 illustrations. You can discover the fascinating range of flags throughout the world, including military signs, royal standards, civic flags, ensigns and national flags. It includes the history of flags, charting their origin and development from as early as 3100bc. It examines and explains the symbolism behind flags and how shapes and designs developed through the ages, as well as flag terminology, usage and etiquette. Information on flags of rulers, states, government officials, flags for battle, and naval and civil shipping flags. It includes over 600 flags in current use, each beautifully illustrated, with information on its date of adoption and proportions. Throughout the ages flags have been a means of cultural and national identity, communication, and a means of representation for groups and associations. Compiled by a leading authority this book is a definitive and exhaustive visual reference to international flags, from the largest countries to the smallest states. Split into two sections, the first part of the book presents a fascinating overview of the history of flags, from the 3rd century bc to the 21st century. The second section covers over 600 flags in current use, including a continent-by-continent examination of countries, territories, organizations, individuals and causes. Lavishly illustrated, this book is both a stunning reference book and an invaluable resource. Fascinating and compelling, it offers historical, geographical and political insights into one of our most ancient forms of identification and communication.