Can somebody help me to identify the different flags in this Italian Cartoon from 1900? enter image description here

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    @MarkC.Wallace, if it's from 1900, it's in the public domain in the United States.
    – Mark
    Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 23:00
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    @MarkC.Wallace there's an essay hosted on MIT that includes this image: "“Petits, Suivez mon Étendard.” (Youth, Take Up My Flag) Published in Turin in the magazine Pasquino, July 15, 1900. Source: “Chinois d’Europe et Chinois d’Asie,” undated archival album of cartoons collected by John Grand-Carteret [Grand-Carteret_38a_YELLOW_bpt6k63508640]"
    – Andrew T.
    Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 4:57
  • @MarkC.Wallace - this can in no way be construed as plagiarism. Are you thinking about copyright? And it would also fall under fair use doctrine in that case, also.
    – Davor
    Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 11:36
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    You're both right; I intended to refer to copyright and the source is in the public domain. Thank you to both, and my apologies to OP.
    – MCW
    Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 11:54

2 Answers 2


I see three flags:

  • Left center appears to have 3 vertically oriented stripes, with a dark stripe closest to the staff; based on @Justcal 's comment, this is probably France.

  • Center right which is more properly a pennant or ensign than a flag and dark with a yellow rosette. Quite possibly the Japanese Imperial Banner. (Hat tip to @ezekiel and @justcal )

  • Lower right and has horizontal red and white stripes below a starred field. The third is probably USA (@mark points out that it is more properly "American-ish", but I don't think the cartoonist intended accuracy)

Although you didn't ask, I see several different uniforms depicted, and that might help to confirm the flags.

  • Left - red caps, blue jackets, red pants. @ AmiralPatate points out that "Uniform on the left looks to be the French uniform that was notoriously bright blue and red until 1914, when it was decided it wasn't a very good color scheme for modern warfare after all."

  • Center left - Dark uniforms with vertical seamstripe and characteristic pickelhaube helmet. No flag present, but I would guess German

  • Foreground right - white uniforms with distinctive furred caps. No flag present.

  • Foreground further right - red jackets and a helmet which suggests Great Britain

  • Foreground right - Dark jacket, dark trousers, gold epaulets , gold trouser stripe - looks very USA.

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    The soldiers uniforms in the front indicate those that aren't showing flags, we have UK, Russia, Germany, and France, (right to left).
    – justCal
    Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 13:44
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    If you look at the other examples here I would guess the yellow flag in the front is supposed to represent Japan.
    – justCal
    Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 14:08
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    As mentioned by justCal it looks like a black version of imperial banner en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Japanese_flags
    – Ezekiel
    Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 14:20
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    White uniforms & fur hats could be kingdom of Italy (they also had that red thing on top of the hat), but the rear view makes it difficult to be anywhere near sure... Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 1:25
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    Uniform on the left looks to be the French uniform that was notoriously bright blue and red until 1914, when it was decided it wasn't a very good color scheme for modern warfare after all. Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 12:11

The brown, triangular banner with yellow ?flower? is being carried by men in a canoe, and they are wearing what look to be Hawaiian feather helmets and cloaks, while carrying wooden staffs, as seen in this Rembrandt Peale picture.

Thus, -- given that Japanese were part of the Yellow Peril -- it's some sort of Hawaiian war banner.

enter image description here

  • 9
    Sometimes we need to get a little context to understand a question. The date here is important. 1900 is in the middle of the Boxer Rebellion. The Eight-Nation Alliance put together in opposition of the Boxers, included Japan, as well as the other countries represented on the above cartoon. Japan didn't start getting lumped into the 'yellow peril' until after the Russo-Japanese War.
    – justCal
    Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 23:45
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    @justCal be that as it may, the canoe and garb scream "Hawaii", not Japan.
    – RonJohn
    Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 23:49
  • @RonJohn, but the context very much doesn't.
    – Mark
    Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 21:32
  • @Mark find some (at the time Westernized) Japanese marines dressed like that, and I'll gladly delete my answer. Until then, I stand by my assertion that the people saying "it's Japanese" are completely wrong.
    – RonJohn
    Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 21:36
  • @justCal on Japan getting lumped into the yellow peril - even that is complicated. The fear before the R-J war was that Russia would unify the east into something that would drown the west. So, an Italian cartoon, immediately prior to Japan attacking Russia (Korea, but still), with the Japanese dressed as roman legionnaires launching ahead of the whole world? That's rallying support for the Japanese, not showing them as yellow peril.
    – fectin
    Commented Mar 5, 2021 at 16:19

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