Flags of Oz
Many generations have read the children’s book series “The Wizard of Oz” ever since L. Frank Baum published his first book in 1900. He wrote a total of 14 books for the series until his death in 1919 (his last book was published pothumously in 1920).
The movie version released in 1939 that we are all familiar, revolves around the young farm girl, Dorothy, who along with her dog Toto dreams that she visits a far off land of Munchkins known as Oz. Most of the people she meets in Oz are actually people and family she knows in Kansas who help or hinder her attempts to return home to Kansas. Finally, she succeeds with the help of Glinda, the Good Witch of the East, and a pair of ruby slippers. Once home, she vows to never look for happiness beyond her own back yard.
Everyone knows the story, but not everyone realizes that Oz actually had a flag, although there is some controversy in the flag community as to what that flag actually looked like.
Still, there are some representations that become a standard view of the national flag of Oz and there are enough references to a flag in Baum’s books to suggest that the design is not too far off.
For example, the national flag of Oz features four distinct quadrants of dark blue, purple, orange, and yellow each corresponding to a section of the country where everything is featured in that color. Dark blue is associated with Gillikan Country to the north, purple for the Munchkin Country to the east, orange belongs to Quadling Country to the south, and yellow represents Winkie Country to the west. The word Oz appears in the center in emerald green as the capitol of the country, also known as the Emerald City. These colors were identified by L. Frank Baum in Chapter 5, Paragraph Two of the book “The Magic of Oz” in 1919.
There is some controversy as to what “quadrants” mean in the actual description. Does it mean that the quadrants are horizontal and vertical or do they meet in the center like above. Another description is also mentioned in “The Magic of Oz” Chapter 5 as: the banner of the Munchkins is blue, that of the Winkies yellow; “…the Gillikin banner is purple, and the Quadling’s banner is red. The colors of the Emerald City are of course green.” So, which version is correct. Perhaps they both are or neither are. In any event, the one pictured is available commercially today.
There is also a reference to the royal flag of Ozma, the royal head of Oz. It is described this way in “Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz” in Chapter 17:
“The…Coronet Band…played the National air called “The Oz Spangled Banner,” and behind them were the standard bearers with the Royal flag. This flag was divided into four quarters, one being colored sky-blue, another pink, a third lavender and a fourth white. In the center was a large emerald-green star, and all over the four quarters were sewn spangles that glittered beautifully in the sunshine. The colors represented the four countries of Oz, and the green star the Emerald City.”
You can see both flags above. The images are courtesy of “Flags of the World” website at http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/fic_oz.html#oz with the designs of the national flag by Jim Ferrigan and the royal flag by T. Mike.
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