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Dictionary of Vexillology: C (Canadian Pale - Captured Flag)

Last modified: 2024-05-25 by rob raeside
Keywords: vexillological terms |
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A term used when the central stripe in a vertical triband has internal proportions of 1-2-1 as in the Canadian national flag – but see note below and ‘unequal triband’ (also ‘proportions 2)’, ‘pale’, ‘triband’ and ‘tricolour’).

Canada Northwest Territories, Canada Brantford, Ontario
National Flag of Canada (fotw); Flag of North West Territories, Canada (fotw); Flag of Brantford, Canada (fotw)

Please note, it is strongly suggested that the entry on pale and/or a suitable glossary or heraldic dictionary be consulted before using this term, and that if used at all it should apply only to Canadian Flags.

The flag of the Cantabrian independence movement showing a wheel-like emblem that is considered symbolic of the ancient Cantabrians of Northern Spain – see 'labarum 1)'.

[Cantabrian Lebarum]
The Cantabrian Labarum (fotw)

Bearers of the ‘cantabrum’.

An ancient Roman cavalry standard of uncertain configuration - but see note below.

Please note - not to be confused with a cantabrian labarum, although, this is believed (by some sources) to be a later interpretation of the ancient design - (see 'cantabrian labarum').

A heraldic term used when the design on a shield or any quartering thereof, on a banner of arms or a flag forms a pun on the name or attributes of the entity or person represented – allusive or punning arms or armes parlantes  (see also ‘armorial bearings’).

[Brodski Stupnick flag - canting] [Greifensee, Switzerland - canting] [Łódź, Poland - canting]
Flag of Brodski Stupnik, Croatia fotw); Flag of Stokke, Norway (fotw); Flag of Łódź, Poland (fotw)

a) Stup is the Croatian for column.
b) The Norwegian for stick is Stokke
c) In Polish, Łódź means boat.

1) Commonly, all or part of the upper hoist – or first - quarter of a flag’s field that has no vertical divisions and/or is otherwise undivided - the canton (see also ‘Appendix I’, ‘inner canton’ and ‘quarter 1)’).
2) A rectangular (or square) area of colour or design different from the field in the above position, which may occupy exactly one quarter of the flag or a larger or smaller area (see also ‘canton flag’ below, ‘covering’, ‘quarter 1)’ and 'Union’).
3) One of the four quarters of a flag, divided horizontally and vertically into: (1) the upper hoist or upper hoist canton, (2) the upper fly or upper fly canton, (3) the lower hoist or lower hoist canton and (4) the lower fly or lower fly canton corresponding to quarters one to four of a shield divided quarterly (see also ‘Appendix I’, ‘grand quarter’, ‘quarter 2)’, ‘quarterly’, ‘hoist’ and ‘fly’).
4) In heraldry as definition 2) except (although apparently of no fixed size) heraldic use frequently suggests that a canton should occupy one-third of the chief (see also ‘cantoned 1)’ and ‘chief’).

[canton example] [canton example] [canton example]
Civil Ensign of New Zealand (fotw); Flag of Kelantan, Malaysia (fotw); the four quarters, quarter 1 being the canton

Please note that “canton” is also the title by which the major sub-divisions of several countries (states, counties etc.) are known (see also ‘cantonal arms’ and ‘cantonal flag’).

The arms of a territorial division within a country when that subdivision is called a canton – e.g., one of those cantons (regions) that make up the Swiss Confederation, or those of Bosnia-Herzegovina or Costa Rica - see ‘state arms 3)’ under ‘arms’ (also ‘cantonal flag’).

[Posavina arms] [Buenos Aires, Costa Rica arms] [Berne arms]
Arms of
Posavina, Bosnia-Herzegovina (fotw); Arms of Buenos Aires, Costa Rica (Zeljko Heimer & fotw); Arms of Bern, Switzerland (Wikipedia).

The sub-national flag of a territorial division within a country when that subdivision is called a canton - e.g. one of the cantons which make up the Swiss Confederation, or of Bosnia-Herzegovina or Costa Rica (see also ‘cantonal arms’ and ‘sub-national flag’).

Posavina, Bosnia-Herzegovina Una-Sana, Bosnia-Herzegovina
Flag of Posavina, Bosnia-Herzegovina (fotw); Flag of Buenos Aires, Costa Rica (fotw); Flag of Bern, Switzerland (fotw)

The newly introduced term for a right-angled, triangular panel set with its legs (or catheti) along the hoist and upper edge of a flag as illustrated below – but see ‘triangular panel 1)’.

Imues , Colombia
Flag of Imues, Colombia (fotw)

In heraldry see ‘cross cantonée’.

Cantoned cross
Flag of the Kingdom of Jerusalem c1200 (CS)

1) See ‘cross cantonée’ (also ‘canton 4)’).
2) Alternative heraldic terms sometimes (incorrectly) used to describe a charge or charges set in the cantons of a shield that does not carry a cross or saltire - cantonée (see also ‘saltire’).

cantoned cantoned cantoned
Flag of Précigné, France (fotw); Arms of Figueiró dos Vinhos, Portugal (fotw); Flag of Iracemápolis, Brazil (fotw)

1) A term used to describe the canton of a flag, or to describe the flag itself, when its canton consists of another flag, as in for example, those examples illustrated below – a nationally cantoned flag (see also ‘armorial ensign 2)’, ‘British style ensign’, ‘canton 2)’, ‘canton of St. George’, ‘civil ensign’ under ‘ensign’ and ‘colonial flag’).
2) See ‘cantonal flag’.

canton flags canton flags canton flags
Flag of Niue (fotw); War Ensign of Brunei 1990-2010(fotw); Flag of the Island of Nevis, St Kitts and Nevis (fotw)

The term used when a flag’s canton is formed by the red cross of St George on its white field – a St George’s canton (see also ‘canton 2)’, ‘canton flag’, ‘St George’s Cross 2)’ and ‘St. George's ensign’.

Red Ensign c1625 – 1707, White Ensign c1630 – 1702, Blue Ensign c1630 – 1707, England (fotw)

See ‘badge 3)’.

Camp Flag of the Grenadier Guards showing their Cap Badge, UK (fotw)

An ancient symbol in the form of a soft red cap which, as a consequence of having been adopted by various revolutionary movements during the 18th century, has come to be regarded as a symbol of resistance against monarchical or imperialist oppression – a liberty, Phrygian or Scythian cap.

cap of liberty cap of liberty cap of liberty
Presidential Flag Afloat, Current National Emblem, and the Flag of the Army of the Andes 1817-18, Argentina (fotw)

In heraldry see ‘mantling’.

(International Heraldry)

See ‘stand of colours 1)’ and ‘venn’.

captain's colour captain's colour captain's colour
Examples of First – the Third Captain’s Colours in Venn A, English c1641 (fotw)

See ‘trophy flag’.

captured flag
Flag Captured at Blakely, Alabama 1 April 1865 (

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