There are several independent rainbow flags in use today. The most widely known worldwide is the pride flag representing LGBT pride (since 1978). The peace flag is especially popular in Italy (since 1961). The International Co-operative Alliance adopted a rainbow flag in 1925. A similar flag is used in Andean indigenism in Peru and Bolivia to represent the legacy of the Inca Empire (since ca. 1920).
The reformer Thomas Müntzer (1489–1525) connected socially revolutionary claims with his preaching of the gospel. He is often portrayed with a rainbow flag in his hand. The Thomas Müntzer statue in the German town of Stolberg also shows him holding a rainbow flag in his hand. In the German Peasants' War of the 16th century, the rainbow flag together with the peasants' boot ("Bundschuh") was used as the sign of a new era, of hope and of social change. The choice of the rainbow in the form of a flag harkens back to the rainbow as a symbol of biblical promise. According to the Bible, God first created the rainbow as a sign to Noah that there would never again be a worldwide flood, also known as the Rainbow covenant.
A flag with a seven-striped rainbow design is used in Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador as a symbol of native peoples, and is anachronistically associated with Tawantin Suyu, or Inca territory. Although commonly believed in Peru to be a flag of the Incan Empire, the oldest known rainbow flag dates back only to 18th century and was used by Túpac Amaru II during his pro-indigenous revolt against the Spanish. María Rostworowski, a Peruvian historian known for her extensive and detailed publications about Peruvian Ancient Cultures and the Inca Empire, said about this: "I bet my life, the Inca never had that flag, it never existed, no chronicler mentioned it". The National Academy of Peruvian History has stated on the topic:
"The official use of the wrongly called 'Tawantinsuyu flag' is a mistake. In the pre-Hispanic Andean world the concept of flags did not exist, it did not belong to their historic context".
National Academy of Peruvian History
The Flag of Cusco was introduced in 1978 and is still the official city emblem. In Ecuador, a rainbow flag is used by the Pachakutik political party (1995), which is composed mostly of left-wing indigenous people.