34 votes
Accepted

How did gold come to symbolize lower ranks than silver in the United States Air Force?

It's historical, dating from before the two colours represented different ranks instead of different branches of the army, as a cost-saving measure (essentially). From Wikipedia: The Army origin ...
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23 votes

Why do central European nations use the color black as their national colors?

Wikipedia (in German) has a long and fascinating article on the history of the German national colours. Without getting in all the details, it seems that the link with the colours of the Holy Roman ...
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  • 2,181
18 votes
Accepted

Why was the bald eagle chosen as the national bird of the United States?

As has been noted, the eagle became the national bird because it was chosen to be on the Great Seal, designed by Charles Thomson. The idea did not emerge out of thin air, however; the eagle is a very ...
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  • 96.2k
15 votes

Why does some Califate money feature crosses?

The top picture is quite obviously a coin with a crude depiction of a seventh century "byzantine" emperor holding a globe with a cross on top. The early Muslim coins issued in former Roman ...
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10 votes

Why do central European nations use the color black as their national colors?

I believe it is ultimately inherited from the colors of the holy roman empire.
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  • 3,143
10 votes

When did people start saying about the US that "it's a free country"?

Google suggests as early as 1848 Stray Subjects, arrested and bound over, That chap as went in fust thar ain t nobuddy ef he has got a swaller tailed coat on My money's as good as his n and it's a ...
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  • 31k
9 votes
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Based on the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III, Did Assyrians of 825 (or) 840 BCE associate the מָגֵן דָּוִד Magen David as a symbol of Yisrael?

No. Look closely and see that it is merely a multi-pointed star, not the familiar hexagram of the Magen David/Star of David: — WP File:Black_Obelisk_Yehu_in_front_of_Shalmaneser_III.jpg It would run ...
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  • 77.2k
9 votes
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Why did the maple leaf become associated with Canada?

According to this research the symbolism was developed by Canadiens living along the St Lawrence River by the early 1700s. The coats of arms for Quebec and Ontario (est. 1867) each feature a triple ...
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  • 106
8 votes
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What is the backstory behind the White Sun of Angola?

According to FOTW Flags Of The World, the sun symbol appeared in the flag proposed by the National Assembly's Constitutional Commission in 2003. The proposal saw some opposition and never became law. ...
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6 votes

What is the earliest known "one arrow is easily broken but a bundle of arrows is not" story?

The oldest reference of the fable is in Babrius's collection, dated to before 200AD. From there it spread eastwards, explaining the Asian versions. The Iroquois version may be independent; some ...
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5 votes

How did gold come to symbolize lower ranks than silver in the United States Air Force?

There is a fine PDF booklet by Raymond Oliver, then curator of the Air Force museum at McClellan AFB in Sacramento, "Why is the Colonel Called "Kernal" which explains the origin of military ranks and ...
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4 votes

Why does some Califate money feature crosses?

It is because the Umayyads either copied Byzantine coins, or reused Byzantine dies, changing the text.
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  • 9,473
4 votes

How did gold come to symbolize lower ranks than silver in the United States Air Force?

One after-the-fact explanation suggested by some NCOs is that the more-malleable gold suggests that the bearer is being "molded" for his or her responsibilities -- as a field officer (second ...
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  • 6,739
4 votes

Why was the bald eagle chosen as the national bird of the United States?

The bald eagle is the symbol of the United States due to its presence on the Great Seal of the United States. The Great Seal was developed by several different Congressionally-appointed committees and ...
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  • 37.3k
3 votes

When did people start saying about the US that "it's a free country"?

As far as I understand this question, it seems to be based on false assumptions. When did Americans start to use the expression? Immediately when they became Americans? In fact, when they were still ...
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  • 77.2k
3 votes

Have national symbols often acquired partisan meanings?

National symbols are always non-partisan; but from time to time one party or another may wish to disassociate itself from them. In 2012 the Democrats were not the least shy about use of the American ...
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2 votes

How did gold come to symbolize lower ranks than silver in the United States Air Force?

In the mid 60's I served in the Army Reserve. Military Army and Marine officer ranks were explained by an instructor as follows. Symbols follow their appearance in nature. Going from low to high; ...
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2 votes
Accepted

Is the expression "Seal of" on the Seal of the POTUS redundant?

I think what you are trying to ask is, why is the identification of this seal on the seal itself necessary? Isn't it self-evident that its a seal? This is fairly typical form for a seal historically. ...
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  • 110k
2 votes

When did people start saying about the US that "it's a free country"?

Not sure if you are asking about the complete expression 'it's a free country', but the concept of freedom and the shorter expression 'free country' was already used when the USA was created. In ...
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  • 3,842
2 votes
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Have national symbols often acquired partisan meanings?

National flags represent the country... or the state? Ok, in the books it is the country, but the state is who actually manages the country. And of course, patriotism and nationalism are powerful ...
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  • 12.1k
2 votes

Have national symbols often acquired partisan meanings?

Let me present a specific example from Central Europe. The Árpád-stripes: Originally it was the heraldic device of the Árpád-dynasty. Of course there were no nations of the modern sense in the ...
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  • 4,326
1 vote

History of nations - books

I think there is one such book that is somewhat closer to what you are expecting from a history book. The Histories of Nations: How Their Identities Were Forged. From the description given under ...
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1 vote

Have national symbols often acquired partisan meanings?

Pretty much every national symbol stems from partisan/patriotic sentiment. That's how they became national symbols in the first place, they have over time become synonymous with a country. So in your ...
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  • 11k
1 vote

When did people start saying about the US that "it's a free country"?

The saying seems to predate 1826, when Edward Thornton Tayloe wrote (in Mexico 1825-1828, p. 128) that: We have more than once since we have been in Mexico been induced to inquire if we were in a ...
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  • 27.3k
1 vote

Is the expression "Seal of" on the Seal of the POTUS redundant?

The phrase has been there for a long time - it is evident on drafts before the existence of the United States - check wikipedia, which also notes that there isn't a great deal of good documentation ...
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  • 31k
1 vote

Why was the bald eagle chosen as the national bird of the United States?

The bald eagle was not chosen to be the national bird of the United States. It as chosen to be the supporter of the coat of arms of the United States of America when the great seal was adopted. The ...
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