A flag embodies the hopes and aspirations of a country or state. It's more than just an emblem — it's a grand statement. So it's too bad so many flags are kind of boring. Here are some flags from throughout history (plus a few current ones) that bring some serious pizzazz.

Above: the flag of Mozambique between 1975 and 1983.

Most Serene Republic of Venice or Republic of Venice (697-1797)

(via Flanker)

Isle of Man (13th century-)

(via Sodipodi flag collection)

The Kingdom of Ireland (1542-1801)

(via Trajan117)

Burma (1752-1885)

(via Mnmazur)

The Bowman Flag of Australia (1806)

(via Sodacan)

The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (1816-1848; 1849-1860)

(via Flanker)

State ensign of Siam (1817-1855)

(via Xiengyod)

Gran Colombia (1819-1820)

(via Shadowxfox)

Peru (1821-1822, created by José de San Martín)

(via Huhsunqu)

Swedish merchant flag (1844-1905)

(via Jeltz)

Kingdom of Hungary (December 21, 1867 - November 12, 1918)

(via Thommy)

Republic of Formosa or Republic of Taiwan (1895)

(via Jeff Dahl)

South Africa (1912-1928)

(via Fornax)

First flag of the Republic of China (1912-1928)

(via Kibinsky)

Naval Ensign of Austria-Hungary (1915-1918)

(via Hugh Jass)

South Africa (1928-1994, known as the Oranje-Blanje-Blou)

(via Denelson83)

Flag of the Second Spanish Republic (1931-1939)

(via SanchoPanzaXXI)

Japanese occupation of Cambodia (March-October 1945)

(via AnonMoos)

Eritrea (1952-1962)

(via Orange Tuesday)

Herm, the smallest of the Channel Islands open to the public (1953-)

(via Denelson83)

Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic (1953-1990)

(via Urmas and Nokka)

French Sudan (November 24, 1956 - April 4, 1959)

(via Akiramenai)

British Columbia, a province of Canada (1960-)

(via -xfi-)

Burundi (1962-1966)

(via Orange Tuesday)

Gozo, a small island in Malta (1964-)

(via Sannita)

Papua New Guinea (1965-1970)

(via Orange Tuesday)

Rhodesia (1968-1979)

(via Sagredo)

Zaire (1971-1997)

(via Moyogo)

Northern Territory in the central northern region of Australia (1978-)

(via Froztbyte)

Flag of Aragon, an autonomous community in Spain (1982-)

(via Willtron)

Sicily, Italy (1990-)

(via Angelo Romano)

Abkhazia, a territory that is fully recognised by Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Nauru and Tuvalu (1992-)

(via Achim1999)

The only Buddhist region of Europe: The Republic of Kalmykia, Russia (1993-)

(via Conscious)

Veneto, Italy (1999-)

(via Flanker & Angelus)

Christmas Island, a territory of Australia (unofficially adopted in 1986, but made official only in 2002)

(via Tony Couch)

The Mari El Republic, a federal subject of Russia (2011-)

(via Urmas)

Pereira, Columbia

(via Guilherme Paula)

Pernambuco, a state of Brazil

(via E2m)

Ceuta, an autonomous city of Spain in Africa

(via Ulaidh)

Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, a province of central Ukraine

(via Hellerick)

Bonus: A Flag of the Governor-General of India (1885-1947)

(via Sodacan)