Last modified: 2005-12-03 by eugene ipavec
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2:3 | stripes 1:1:2:1:1 |
by Joan-Francés Blanc
Flag adopted 28th September 1917
Official Name: Kingdom of Thailand (Prathet Thai)
Location: Southeast Asia
Government Type: Constitutional Monarchy
Flag adopted: 28th September 1917
Coat of Arms adopted: 1910
ISO Code: TH
The story goes that during the 1916 flood the king of Siam since 26th June 1939 called Thailand saw the national flag red with a white elephant hanging upside down. Because of the distress a new flag was adopted that could not be hung upside down. Initially it was a red field with two white bands, but on 28th September 1917, the middle stripe was changed to blue to show solidarity with the Allies during the First World War. The name of the flag is therefore Trairanga, meaning tricolour. The proportions of the flag are 2:3, while the stripes are arranged 1-1-2-1-1. Sources: Crampton 1992; Jos Poels 1990; Crampton 1991.
From contributions by
Roy Stilling, 21 February 1996
Jan Oskar Engene, 3 October 1996 and
Mark Sensen, 3 March 1997
King Vajiravudh (Rama VI), amongst other things, refashioned the flag of Siam in 1917, replacing the white elephant on a red field with the contemporary tricolor. Although not an official interpretation of the Thai flag, the prevailing view is that the central blue stripe represents the monarchy, the two white stripes are the Therevada Buddhist religion, and the outer red stripes represent the land or the nation.
Riley B. VanDyke, 22 June 1998
In Thailand (...) the Thai National Flag was used everywhere and every school day started with a flag raising and the singing of Thong Chat (The Flag) either assembled in the school courtyard or in the classrooms.
Phil Abbey, 17 September 1998
During the reign of King Vajiravut (1910-1925) the flag was changed to the 5 stripe flag red and white from 1916-1917. In 1917 the middle red stripe was changed to blue to make the flag look much better and the blue colour is for Friday the day King Vajiravut was born (1st January 1880). On 28th September 1917, the Flag Law of 1917 was promulgated and stated that the national flag became the trichelon [sic] flag, the one we use today.
Wisarut Bholsithi, 29 October 1999
Thailanders display their national flag with as much frequency as folks in the United States. In fact, it is not at all unusual to see giant Thai flags flying over corporate buildings much like US car dealers fly giant American flags. There are small flag makers everywhere and buying a Thai flag is easy. Thai flags are usually made of light weight polyester or open weave cotton type bunting. Occasionally I could spot one made of broad cloth.
Thai folk are also proud of their history and demonstrate said pride by displaying historical flags. Virtually any old Thai flag with an elephant on it can be bought. Bangkok is also a good place to find flags of other countries. It is easy to find old flags off ships for sale on the streets.
Many international Thai firms will have multiple sets of flag poles up in front of their headquarters. It is very inexpensive to have foreign flags made up in Bangkok's flag shops, so flag display is popular.
Clay Moss, 4 July 2001
From the Singha Beer source:
In older times no regulations existed as regards the etiquette involved in using flags; there was only the occasional Royal Command issued by His Majesty the King concerning the occasions on which particular flags were to be used.
Until [sic 'under'?] the Reign of King Rama V, however, was a set of Regulations established regarding their functions. These appeared in a Royal Decree issued on April, R.E. 110 (B.E.2434) [1891 AD] and were entitled, aptly enough, "Regulations pertaining to the use of various types of Siamese flag." Subsequently, as more and more flags were created, these regulations were amended and the amendments duly enforced, the latest one being the Decree on Flags issued on April 22, B.E. 2522 [1979 AD].
Flags in general use are divided into two main categories: those whose functions are clearly delineated in the aforementioned Decrees, and those not covered by official regulations, namely those flown by various government agencies or by members of the private sector. Although, the latter are produced with the permission of the government and have been registered in accordance with the law, they are not specifically covered by any of the provisions set forth in the Decrees themselves.
Santiago Dotor, 27 May 2003
There is a website, apparently set up by a brewing company, with scores of Thai flags. More than 70 flags are depicted and described on this site. The images are rather small and poor, so it is difficult to see the details of the emblems. Dates are given in the Buddhist calendar.
Jan Oskar Engene, 13 August 1997
The Singha Beer website contains many Thai flags which are not still in FOTW. They are divided into:
Santiago Dotor, 26 October 1999
Definitely, someone must have drawn the flags without the full descriptions which appeared close to them in the website; the Commander's Flag should be 2:5 and appears as 3:4, the Commander-in-Chief of the Army flag should be a 5:6 flag whereas the image is 7:10, etc. Those flags which also appear in Flaggenbuch 1939 follow the ratios of the descriptions. So I guess the descriptions are more precise as reference.
Santiago Dotor, 5 November 1999
One more thing. The Thai equivalent for "fleet" has been wrongly translated as "frigate". Thus, the Commander of the Fleet Flag is said to be that of a "Frigate Commander" and about the Pu Yai Flag it says "high ranking officers from a frigate were on board that particular vessel".
Santiago Dotor, 12 November 1999
The emblems of ten Thai political parties can be found at this page.
Franc Van Diest, 3 January 2000
All emblems and two more on a page in Thai language at the Thai Parliament Official Website. As far as I could find out the extra emblems have filenames "thai" (Thai party) and "thai-sa" (Thai Democratic Party).
Jarig Bakker, 3 January 2000
I understand these are simply emblems not flags. Actually some contain the Thai flag itself.
Santiago Dotor, 3 January 2000
From the Singha Beer source:
The Flags of various Boy Scout Troops
This is the flag King Rama VI ordered to be conveyed to the boy scouts as a symbol of himself as their King. Each member of the troop, therefore, had to swear an oath to protect the flag at all costs even at the cost of his life. Consequently, each individual troop in the provinces had to note the date on which the flag had been delivered to them and memorize the words of advice given to their unit by His Majesty so that they would always be reminded of their mission.
King Rama VI started the Boy Scouts' movement and from B.E.2458 [1915 AD] onwards presented Boy Scout troops from various regions with their own individual flags. King Rama VII added to each one so that at the First Jamboree of Thai Boy Scouts in B.E.2470 [1927 AD] every region had its very own flag.
This is followed by 14 regional flags:
Santiago Dotor, 29 October 1999