Iceland's first national flag was a white cross on a deep blue background. It was first shown in parade in 1897. The modern flag dates from 1915, when a red cross was inserted into the white cross of the original flag to represent Christianity. It was adopted and became the national flag when Iceland gained independence from Denmark in 1918. The colors stand for three of the island's primary features: red for the volcanoes , white for the ice and snow, and blue for the mountains.