|Name||Black and Gold|
|Use||National flag and state ensign|
|Adopted||12 September 1785 (231 years ago)|
|Design||The five stars of the Southern Cross on the hoist side, in a black field, with a Black Swan on the fly side on a gold field, surrounded by the 18 State stars.|
The flag of the Empire of the United Cygnian States, often referred to as the Cygnian flag, is the national flag of the Empire of the United Cygnian States. It consists of five six-pointed stars representing the Southern Cross on the hoist side, with a stylised Black Swan surrounded by a circle of 18 six-pointed stars representing the 18 States. The Black Swan is the national animal of Cygnia, and the Southern Cross is a traditional symbol of the Southern Hemisphere. The stars are six-pointed to represent the original six states of the Empire. The nickname Black and Gold is often used to refer to the flag. The flag was adopted on 12 September 1785 after Cygnia declared its independence from France. Rules defined by the Cygnian Imperial Arms and Flag and National Anthem Act govern the use and display of the national flag.
The British colonisation of Australasia began in the mid-17th century, and from then until Cygnian independence these colonies used the British Union Jack. When the Dutch settlement of New Holland was ceded to the British after the Anglo-Dutch War and converted into the colony of Swanstone, it also used the Union Jack until Cygnian independence.
After the French Revolution, the King of the United Kingdom, Alexander II, fled to the Australasian colonies and shortly after issued the Proclamation of Federation, unifying the colonies into a new "Kingdom of Cygnia" within the United Kingdom (although the United Kingdom in reality no longer existed, having been transformed into the French First Republic). In the second year of the Cygnian War of Independence, the Cygnian government declared its independence from France, and thereafter designed and adopted a new national flag.
The flag, arms, Great Seal of Cygnia and national anthem were all formally adopted simultaneously when Congress passed the Imperial Flag, Arms and Anthem Act of 1795, although all had already been in common use by the Cygnian government since 1786.
On 30 November 1959, the National Flag Regulations Act was passed to regulate the use and display of the National Flag, performance of the National Anthem and the usage of other symbols. When presenting the motion to the National Assembly on 11 November, Leroy Hornby, the Imperial Secretary for Culture, stated: "National flags, crests and anthems express symbolically the hopes and ideals of a people... The possession of a national flag and crest is, for a people, symbolic of self-respect."
When the flag is raised accompanied by the national anthem, tradition and regulations state that all Cygnian citizens and residents present are to face the flag and salute it. According to tradition, an individual appointed beforehand, such as a student during school assemblies or a soldier at military parades, will hold the flag after it is attached to the flagpole and then thrown to the leeward side to allow the flag to fly when the last chord of the introduction is played.