Both Chad and Romania sport Blue-yellow-red tricolors. The nations have apparently shared the same flag for decades — ever since Romania adopted the plain tricolor after the fall of Communism in the country.
The two flags aren’t exactly identical — one has a slightly lighter shade of blue — but they are practically identical. Even vexologists (flag scholars) have difficulty telling the two flags apart at a glance.
In reporting on the issue, the Wall Street Journal called it a “vexing issue for vexollogists” (The copy editor who came up with that deck deserves a beer). From the WSJ article:
For 27 years, the Central African country, one of the world’s most isolated places, has been quietly complaining that the Eastern European nation of Romania copied its flag. Romanian politicians, who adopted the banner in 1989, said they were aware that Chad was already using the same blue-yellow-red tricolor. France’s president at the time, François Mitterrand, tried to talk Romania out of it.
“But there were more important things to care about,” said Romania’s then-president, Ion Iliescu.
Since then, Chad’s parliament has thrown up distant protests, and some vexillologists—experts in flag studies—have accused Romania of flag theft.
Romanians remain unflustered: “Why should we care?” said one of the protesters marching through central Bucharest last month. “Chad is too far away.”
An illustrative example of the fact that although the world may feel like it’s getting smaller, it’s still an unimaginably huge place.
A few other flag facts:
Monaco and Indonesia also have incredibly similar flags — both being characterized by red and white bars. The only difference between the two is the aspect ratio.
Until 1936, Lichtenstein and Haiti were two countries that used to have the same flag. Both flags featured a red-and-blue bicolor bar. Only after the two countries met at the 1936 Olympics did anyone notice. Lichtenstein added a seal to their flag after that.