VIRTUAL VEXILLOLOGY: Animated world flags with TLDs (Part 1 – North America)

HEM Animated ccTLD Flags Ident pizap.com14318621928841

For every country, and indeed many various territories, dependencies, states, provinces etc. one of the most important elements of self-representation, self-recognition and identity is a humble piece of cloth. The flag, for governments and patriots alike, is more than that though. It is a symbol of their identity, replete with symbolism, sacrifice and values. Many flags have become well-known enough that even the most geographically challenged can match the national flag to the nation it flies under. Everyone knows the Union Flag (Union Jack) is for Britain, the Tricouleur represents France, and the Star-Spangled Banner flutters over the States.

A few years ago, one enterprising graphic designer decided to make full use of the internet’s awesome superpowers and marry the thousand-year old tradition of the flag with a very recent innovation – the top-level domain – to produce a set of virtual animated flags.

A top-level domain is essentially a part of a website’s address, or URL, which identifies a website’s host origin or its function. For example, .com means that the site is engaged in commerce (usually), while .ac (or .edu in the US) means an educational institution.

Top-level domains with a regional flavour are used to represent the hosting nation of a website where that site would be registered. For example, .uk would be for a site registered in the United Kingdom, while a site URL ending in .mu means that the site is based on a Mauritian server.

(c) Wikipedia

These regional domains are officially known as ccTLDs (country code top-level domains). They are generally used or reserved for a country, a sovereign state, or a dependent territory. They are always two letters long and usually are formed from letters in the country’s name, though not always the one in English. While .us is for the United States and .in is for India, Algeria’s ccTLD is .dz (Al-Djazair) and Switzerland’s one is .ch (for its full Latin name, Confœrderatio Helvetica).

The first registered ccTLDs to come into service were .us, .uk, and .il, all registered in 1985. In 1986, .au, .de, .fi, .fr, .jp, .kr, .nl and .se were registered. This was long before the Internet as we now it even came into being.

The story behind these animated flags is shrouded in the depths of mystery. The only solid lead I could find from my research was on a forum post from Forumotion, a company which offers forum setup and development services. A member of Forumotion’s staff, nicknamed Hancki, who also moonlighted there as a forum helper, started a thread in which he/she showed off some animated flags they had allegedly made. They made no comment on how or even if they did create the ccTLD flag GIFs but the other forum participants loved them and thought they were great.

That first selection of little waving flags appeared in April of 2010, and since then have become hot property for forum lovers and gamers looking to add some patriotic sparkle to their signatures. Numerous forum owners from Pakistan to the States have snapped them up, and now for the first time, the Half-Eaten Mind has brought them together in one place, free for use to represent your homeland.

With the help of a list of ccTLDs provided by Wikipedia and another source, I found other forums that had these distinctive animated flags, and by changing the part of the forum’s URL with the country name or ccTLD, was able to collect a flag of nearly every country and territory on Earth. It was just like FlagCounter, only with more fluttering.

To celebrate the amazing design of these flags, the Half-Eaten Mind is producing a special series of articles showcasing the flags of the world’s nations, with their relevant ccTLD. Due to the size of the project, I will be covering a different part of the world every weekend, with links to previous articles in the series. Part One will cover the continent of North America. This geographical region includes Central America and the Caribbean. I will then work my way eastwards and southwards.

Below each set of flags, arranged vertically in the page’s centre due to WordPress’ horrifically fiddly HTML editor, are a list of the featured countries, alphabetically by their ccTLD. Each country name has a link to its government’s website or the nearest equivalent.

Some flags, such as that of Libya are out of date. Some newer countries, such as South Sudan and some dependencies are also absent. There are also some flags of now defunct countries, such as Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union, that were issued ccTLDs in the Eighties and early Nineties, which I have also included.

By the way, vexillology is the study of flags, their designs, meanings and history.

NORTH AMERICA

ag - Antigua and Barbuda

ai - Anguilla

an - Netherlands Antilles

aw - Aruba

bb - Barbados

bm - Bermuda

bs - Bahamas

bz - Belize

ca - Canada

cr - Costa Rica

cu - Cuba

dm - Dominica

do - Dominican Republic

gd - Grenada

gl - Greenland

gt - Guatemala

hn - Honduras

ht - Haiti

jm - Jamaica

kn - Saint Kitts and Nevis

ky - Cayman Islands

lc - Saint Lucia

ms - Montserrat

mx - Mexico

ni - Nicaragua

nl - Curacao

pa - Panama

pr - Puerto Rico

sv - El Salvador

tt - Trinidad and Tobago

us - United States of America

vc - Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

vi - Virgin Islands (U.S.)

.ag Anguilla and Barbuda
.ai Anguilla
.an Netherlands Antilles (no longer exists)
.aw Aruba
.bb Barbados
.bm Bermuda
.bs Bahamas
.bz Belize
.ca Canada
.cr Costa Rica
.cu Cuba
.dm Dominica
.do Dominican Republic
.gd Grenada
.gl Greenland
.gt Guatemala
.hn Honduras
.ht Haiti
.jm Jamaica
.kn Saint Kitts and Nevis
.ky Cayman Islands
.lc Saint Lucia
.ms Montserrat
.mx Mexico
.ni Nicaragua
.nl Curaçao
.pa Panama
.pr Puerto Rico
.sv El Salvador
.tt Trinidad and Tobago
.us United States of America
.vc Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
.vi Virgin Islands (U.S.)
(c) Wikimedia Commons

Next weekend, we head south to the other part of the American landmass. Stay tuned.

HEM 3rd anniversary banner pizap.com14293560242241

SOURCES:
“Country code top-level domain” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Country_code_top-level_domain
“Some animated flags” – Hancki, Forum of the Forums/Forumotion/phpBB (9 April 2010) http://help.forumotion.com/t68097-some-animated-flags
IMAGE CREDITS:
CC Search, Creative Commons http://search.creativecommons.org/
“ccTLD” – Wikipédia (Portuguese)/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/CcTLD
“PHOTO MOMENT: Old Mauritian coins” – RedDodo.com, netanimations.net via Vijay Shah, The Half-Eaten Mind (7 September 2013) https://halfeatenmind.wordpress.com/2013/09/07/pm-old-mauritian-coins/
“File:Map of North America.svg” – Cacahuate, Texugo, Joelf, Globe-trotter & Piet-c, Wikimedia Commons (2 August 2008) http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Map_of_North_America.svg
“Image and Video Post-Processing With WebGL” – Nicolas Garcia Belmonte, Dev.Opera/Opera Software ASA (17 October 2012) https://dev.opera.com/articles/webgl-post-processing/
“Flag Icons” – Webshocker, dribbble/Dribbble LLC. (10 May 2014) https://dribbble.com/shots/1546961-Flag-Icons
“Pakistan Defence” – Pakistan Defence http://defence.pk/
“RIGS OF RODS” – Rigs of Rods http://www.rigsofrods.com/content/
IPBURGER/IPBurger.com http://ipburger.com/
“Category:Country Flags” – EP.com Wiki/EntropiaPlanets.com/EntropiaPlanets Wiki – Entropia Universe Guides Wiki Info http://www.entropiaplanets.com/wiki/Category:Country_Flags

 

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18 thoughts on “VIRTUAL VEXILLOLOGY: Animated world flags with TLDs (Part 1 – North America)

    • halfeatenmind May 24, 2015 / 3:05 pm

      Thanks for your kind appreciation, Johnny!

      🙂 🙂 🙂

      Like

  1. infinitelyremote May 20, 2015 / 5:11 pm

    You have found for yourself a fun project – thanks so much for sharing!

    Like

    • halfeatenmind May 24, 2015 / 3:35 pm

      Oh cool, I realised afterwards that although I had added the Guatemala flag to my media gallery, my silly self forgot to add to the page…D’Oh!!
      If you wish you can take the missing flag too. I’ll check out your link. Thanks for commenting, my friend!

      Vijay

      Liked by 1 person

  2. halfeatenmind May 22, 2015 / 5:12 pm

    EDITOR’S NOTE:

    Although the GIF for Guatemala was uploaded into the HEM image gallery, it was not added to the article. Thanks to Michael (masodo) of BlogDogIt.com for pointing out the omission.

    Amended 22/05/2015 – V.S.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. halfeatenmind May 23, 2015 / 11:24 am

    EDITOR’S NOTE:

    An image credit for EntropiaPlanets.com’s country flags page was omitted in the original article. Part 1 has now been updated to resolve this.

    Amended 23/05/2015 – V.S.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. halfeatenmind May 30, 2015 / 1:19 pm

    EDITOR’S NOTE:

    Flag and link for Curacao added.

    Amended 30/05/2015 – V.S.

    Like

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