The National Flag of Switzerland is a red, square shaped flag on which lies a white cross. The white cross is known as the Swiss Cross. The shade of red, is actually a mixture of magenta and yellow. The cross is centered on the flag and its arms are of equal length and are one sixth longer than they are broad. There is much debate among historians about the choice of red. Some believe that is symbolizes the blood of Christ, while others suggest that the choice was inspired by the color of the old Bernese Flag.
The white cross has been used as the field sign (attached to soldiers clothing) of the Old Swiss Confederacy since its formation in the late 13th or early 14th century. When the old Swiss went to battles, the soldiers of each federal state had their own style of clothing and carried their own cantonal banner with them. As the confederation grew, they needed a common symbol to recognize friend from enemy, so they applied white stripes in the form of a cross on their clothes and helmets.
The Swiss Cross, as it is often called by the native population, is a generalization of the Coat of Arms of Canton Schwyz, one of the three founding members of the Swiss Confederation back in 1291. Throughout history the Swiss flag has always had one feature that distinguishes it from all other national flags: it is square, not rectangular. The Vatican is the only other sovereign state to have a square flag. The design of the Red Cross Flag originates from the first Geneva Convention in 1864. The symbol represents an inverted Swiss Flag as a tribute to Henry Dunant, the Swiss founder of the International Committee of the Red Cross.