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Gotland, unofficial flags and flag proposals (Sweden)

Last modified: 2005-04-29 by
Keywords: gotland | oland | ram | lamb | gutniska republiken |
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History and Geography

Gotland is an island in the Baltic Sea. The island is historically one of Sweden's 24 provinces.

Currently, there are two official flags for the island of Gotland - one for the province and county of Gotland and one for the commune of Gotland.

 


[1] Unofficial flag of "Republic of Gotland" (Gutniska Republiken)

[Gotland] by Jan Oskar Engene

A flag consisting of a red field with an old seal in white in the centre was launched in protest against the commune of Gotland which had replaced the seal it previously used as a logo. According to Andersson (1994, p. 24) the flag with the seal was introduced by the assembly of Föreningen Gotland (The Gotland Society) in 1984.

The seal on this flag is the one used centuries ago by the community of Gotland when the island was a peasant 'republic' loosely attached to the Swedish crown. It is known from 1280, but may be older. The seal depicts a ram with a banner, surrounded by the text GUTENSES SIGNO XPISTVS SIGNATVR IN AGNO. This would read something like "I represent the Gotlanders, Christ is represented by a lamb" in English. As we can see from the text, the motive alludes to the Agnus Dei, although the animal is clearly a ram, not a lamb, and the banner is not a cross banner of victory. The seal stamp is preserved in the original. It was discovered in the 1740s at a farm in Gotland, where it was used to decorate Christmas cookies.

 


[2] Unofficial proposal for a cross flag

[Gotland] by Jan Oskar Engene

In 1991 an unofficial proposal for a flag of Gotland appeared. The flag is inspired by that of the neighbouring island Öland, with the colours reversed so that the proposed flag of Gotland is yellow with a green cross. Yellow is for the beaches and green for vegetation. Proportions are 10:16 (4-2-4 : 5-2-9). The proposed cross flag lacks any response locally in Gotland and has never been introduced into actual use. The official flag of Gotland is used to represent the island.


Sources:

Per Andersson: Nordiska korsflaggor, Mjölby, 1992
Clara Nevéus: Ny svensk vapenbok, Stockholm, 1992 [nev92]
Knut Pipping and Leif Tengström: "Huset Vasa, Jagellonerna och Ivan IV Vasilievitj: Några hypoteser om de svenska landskapsvapnens uppkomst", Heraldisk tidsskrift, Vol. 5, No. 49-50, 1984, pp. 107-138

Jan Oskar Engene, 1998-Jun-02 (revised)

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