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Flag of Greenland
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Flag of Greenland

The flag of Greenland was designed by Greenland native Thue Christiansen. It features two equal horizontal bands of white (top) and red with a large disk slightly to the hoist side of center. The top half of the disk is red, the bottom half is white. The entire flag measures 12 by 18 parts; each stripe measures 6 parts; the disk is 8 parts in diameter, horizontally offset by 7 parts from the hoist to the center of the circle, and vertically centered.

Its local name in the Greenlandic language is Erfalasorput, which means "our flag", but Aappalaaroq (meaning "the red") is also used for both the Greenlandic flag and the Dannebrog. Today Greenlanders display both the Erfalasorput and the Dannebrog, often side-by-side.

Greenland first entertained the idea of a flag of its own in 1973 when five Greenlanders proposed a green, white and blue flag. The following year, a newspaper solicited eleven design proposals (all but one of which was a Nordic cross) and polled the people to determine the most popular. The Dannebrog was better liked than any. Little came of this effort.

In 1978, Denmark granted home rule to Greenland, making it an equal member of the Danish Kingdom. The home rule government held an official call for flag proposals, receiving 555 (of which 293 were submitted by Greenlanders). The deciding committee came to no consensus, so more proposals were solicited. Finally the present red-and-white design by Christiansen narrowly won over a green-and-white Nordic cross by a vote of fourteen to eleven. Christiansen's red-and-white flag was officially adopted June 21, 1985.

To honor the tenth anniversary of the Erfalasorput, the Greenland Post Office issued commemorative stamps and a leaflet by its creator. He described the white stripe as representing the glaciers and ice cap; the red stripe, the ocean; the red semicircle, the fjords; and the white semicircle, the icebergs and pack ice. The design is also reminiscent of the setting sun half-submerged below the horizon and reflected on the sea.

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