The wonderful flag of Tonga represents the Kingdom at international events; here’s everything you need to know about the Tonga flag.
I was recently lucky enough to visit Tonga and largely fell in love with the place, notwithstanding the few days I was stranded there due to a typhoon. We were there as part 3 of the YPT Least Visited Countries Tour.
I’m also a Rugby League fan, so when I saw a Tongan Rugby League Shirt adorned with the flag of Tonga, I obviously purchased it, but this set me to wondering what the Tongan flag was all about! Here’s the story.
The flag of Tonga consists of a red field with a white canton charged with a red cross. It was adopted in 1875 after being officially enshrined into the nation’s constitution. The constitution actually stipulates that the national flag can never be changed, although if republicans ever get their way, you’d assume that might change.
Table of Contents
- History of the Flag of Tonga
- What does the Flag of Tonga mean?
- The Tonga flag looks really familiar have I seen it before?
- Are there any variants on the Flag of Tonga?
- Where can I see the Tongan flag?
- The flag of Tonga in sport
- Tonga at the Olympics
History of the Flag of Tonga
When Captain Cook first came to the island, they did not have all that much use for a national flag, then, of course, the Christians came along and started to convert people en masse to the cause of Christ. The current flag thus came into being, with its obviously Christian connotations in 1875.
What does the Flag of Tonga mean?
As mentioned Tonga as a country got its flag after becoming Christian. The cross on the flag of Tonga represents that Tonga is a Christian nation. The white part of the flag of Tonga represents purity. The red part of the flag, the main part symbolizes the blood of Jesus.
The Tonga flag looks really familiar have I seen it before?
The flag of Tonga bears more than a passing resemblance to that of the International Red Cross. In fact, the original flag looked so similar to the Red Cross one (which was made in 1863) that the current adaptation was adopted.
The current flag also looks a bit that of Switzerland and Georgia. To an extent it also bears some similarities to the flag of St George, the famous dragon slayer. This is also the flag of England.
Are there any variants on the Flag of Tonga ?
Yes, there’s the Naval Ensign and Royal Standard as pictured below:
Where can I see the Tongan flag?
It is flown proudly throughout Tonga, obviously. You will therefore see it a lot when you visit the country. And FYI when we visit Tonga we do it via a private chartered jet from Samoa. Obviously there is no better way to see flag than to visit its country of origin!
The flag of Tonga in sport
For such a small country with a relatively low population, Tonga are a powerhouse when it comes to certain sports. Note we say certain sports, there are notableothers where they are really not very good.
Tongan Rugby League –
Rugby League is a relative newcomer to Tonga, but they have since become a bit of a powerhouse. Officially they are the 4th best team in the world. I proudly own a Tongan Rugby league shirt, which features the Tongan flag! You can read more about Tongan Rugby League here.
Tongan Rugby Union –
Tonga are probably more famous for being pretty good at Rugby Union. This manifested by their famous version of the Hakka. They are the 13th best team in the world. Whilst their shirt does not have the fag adorned upon it, you will see the flag of Tonga proudly waved when they take part in the Rugby World Cup.
Sadly Tonga are not that great at football. They are currently ranked at 203rd in the world. An achievement when there are only 193 UN countries.The Tongan football shirt is decked out in the national colours and has a small image of the flag on the left hand side of the chest. To read about football in Tonga click here.
Tonga at the Olympics
Tonga have competed at 8 Olympic Summer Games, as well as two winter Olympics. Is there a Tongan bobsled team? Sadly not. Sadly the flag of Tonga has only flown proudly once at the 1996 Olympics when they won a silver medal at boxing.
Tonga at the winter Olympics has been even less successful, with them entering athletes for the luge, but alas yet to win any medals. Who knows, 2022 Beijing could be where they break their duck.
For more on what counts as a country click here
And that is our guide to the flag of Tonga! To see Tonga for yourself jump on our Least Visited Countries Tour.