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Kingdom of Bulgaria, 1908-1944

Царство Българи&

Last modified: 2005-03-19 by rob raeside
Keywords: bulgaria | kingdom | lion | crown | royal | arms | saltire |
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Introduction

The Kingdom of Bulgaria extended from 1908-1946, though for the purpose of flag research, the period ended on 9 September 1944. There are three main sources of flags of the period mentioned in Ivanov (1998). The first is the collection of the Naval Museum, from where are mentioned the naval ensign and kings and queens standard. The second is the (Bogoslovski, 1912) "Al'bom shtandartov i flagov inostrannyh gosudarstv", Sofiya 1912, and the third is a Naval manual that I shall cover latter on. The Ivanov (1998) book contains pictures from the last one, but it also has detailed reports on what's in others, highlighting some differences. As far as I have understood the flags preserved in the Naval Museum are of the same pattern as those published in Bogoslovski book. They are treated together and even if I have reservations - have no evidence why I should not do the same. All the flags here would be reconstructions from descriptions. Even if the descriptions are quite straight-forward and clear, there is always possibility I misinterpreted them.
Željko Heimer, 5 September 2001


King's Standard

[Royal Flag of Bulgaria 1908-1944] 1:1, by Željko Heimer

Red square flag bordered along on all four edges with triangles of three colours, so that the green triangles touch the square with vertexes while the triangles of other two colours touch it with a side.
Source: Bogoslovski, 1912
Željko Heimer
, 5 September 2001

[Royal Flag of Bulgaria 1908-1944] 1:1, by Željko Heimer

Flaggenbuch (1939) shows a smaller lion, much more 'decorated', and with green tongue and claws. Moreover, the pattern of the triangles is totally different: the eight green triangles from your source are changed to ten white triangles; the four white triangles from your source are changed to five green triangles; the three red triangles from your source are changed to four red triangles. To make the things clearer, taking the upper border as an example and starting from the upper left corner, we have a red lozenge and then 19 triangles as follows: W V W R W V W R W V W R W V W R W V W (and then a red lozenge). White triangles point downwards, green and red ones point upwards. Triangle height (or border width) is 1/9 of the flag size. Lozenge basis is 1/15 of the flag size, triangle basis is 13/150 of the flag size.
Ivan Sache, 6 September 2001

[Royal Flag of Bulgaria 1908-1944] 1:1, by Željko Heimer

Bulgarian Naval Handbook (reproduced in Ivanov, 1998) shows a differently rendered version. The difference is in the triangles around the edges.
Željko Heimer
, 8 September 2001

I guess that all these minor differences are not the result of changes in regulations (that would surely be mentioned in Ivanov, 1998), but are differences in artistic rendition.
Željko Heimer, 8 September 2001

King's Pennant

[Kings Pennant of Bulgaria 1908-1944] 

1:30~, by Željko Heimer

Yellow pennant with the king's standard at hoist.
Source: Bogoslovski, 1912
Željko Heimer
, 5 September 2001

[Kings Pennant of Bulgaria 1908-1944]

As above in Flaggenbuch (1939), but 1:5, with rectangular 15:23 King's standard.
Ivan Sache, 6 September 2001

The number 15:23 must be approximation, since it is rather close when one takes away another pair of triangles along the vertical edges.
Željko Heimer
, 8 September 2001

[Kings Pennant of Bulgaria 1908-1944]

by Željko Heimer

Bulgarian Naval Handbook (reproduced in Ivanov, 1998) shows a differently rendered version. The difference is in the hoist flag matching to the one above, and swallow-tailed fly.
Željko Heimer
, 8 September 2001


Queen's Standard

[Queen's standard of Bulgaria 1908-1944] 1:1, by Željko Heimer

Same design as king's standard, only swallow-tailed.
Source: Bogoslovski, 1912
Željko Heimer
, 5 September 2001

[Queen's standard of Bulgaria 1908-1944] 1:1, by Željko Heimer

Flaggenbuch (1939) has of course the same pattern as for King's Standard. 'Opening' of the tail is 1/6 of the flag size.
Ivan Sache, 6 September 2001

[Queen's Flag of Bulgaria 1908-1944] 1:1, by Željko Heimer

Bulgarian Naval Handbook (reproduced in Ivanov, 1998) shows a differently rendered version. The difference is in the triangles around the edges.
Željko Heimer
, 8 September 2001

Queen's Pennant

[Queen's Pennant of Bulgaria 1908-1944] 

1:30~, by Željko Heimer

Yellow pennant with the queen's standard at hoist.
Source: Bogoslovski, 1912
Željko Heimer
, 5 September 2001

[Queen's Pennant of Bulgaria 1908-1944]by Željko Heimer

Base flag as above in Flaggenbuch (1939). Border width of the Queen's standard is 3 + 5/6 (for a hoist of 15). 
Ivan Sache, 6 September 2001

According to my "work" the triangles should be about 2.551 and not 3.833 to maintain the relative size in other images... Are they expected to be bigger?
Željko Heimer, 8 September 2001

[Queen's Pennant of Bulgaria 1908-1944]

by Željko Heimer

Bulgarian Naval Handbook (reproduced in Ivanov, 1998) shows a differently rendered version. The difference is in the hoist flag matching to the one above, and swallow-tailed fly.
Željko Heimer
, 8 September 2001


Crown-prince's Standard

[Crown Prince's standard of Bulgaria 1908-1944]  2:3?, by Željko Heimer

The flag of basically the same design as the king's standard set in the middle of the white flag with red cross and green saltire. I am particularly not sure about the correctness of my interpretation here, so be warned here even more then for the rest of the batch.
Source: Bogoslovski, 1912
Željko Heimer
, 5 September 2001

[Crown Prince's standard of Bulgaria 1908-1944]  2:3?, by Željko Heimer

Flaggenbuch (1939) shows the flag in 6:7 proportion. Therefore, the King's standard in the middle is rectangular, with only 15 triangles on its vertical borders. There is also a Crown-princess' standard, swallow-tailed; a standard for the male members of the royal family, with red cross omitted; a standard for the female members of the royal family, same but forked.
Ivan Sache, 6 September 2001

[Crown Prince's Flag of Bulgaria 1908-1944] 1:1, by Željko Heimer

Bulgarian Naval Handbook (reproduced in Ivanov, 1998) shows a differently rendered version. The difference is in the triangles around the edges.
Željko Heimer
, 8 September 2001

Crown-prince's Pennant

[Crown Prince's Pennant of Bulgaria 1908-1944] 

1:30~, by Željko Heimer

Yellow pennant with the crown-prince's standard at hoist. Other officials are not given their pennants in Bogoslovski's Album
Source: Bogoslovski, 1912
Željko Heimer
, 5 September 2001

[Crown Prince's Pennant of Bulgaria 1908-1944] by Željko Heimer

Flag as above in Flaggenbuch (1939), along with Crown-princess' pennant, pennant for the male members of the royal family, and pennant for the female members of the royal family.
Ivan Sache, 6 September 2001

[Crown Prince's Pennant of Bulgaria 1908-1944]

by Željko Heimer

Bulgarian Naval Handbook (reproduced in Ivanov, 1998) shows a differently rendered version. The difference is in the hoist flag matching to the one above, and swallow-tailed fly.
Željko Heimer
, 8 September 2001

 


Crown Princess' Standard

[Crown Princess' standard of Bulgaria 1908-1944]  6:7, by Željko Heimer

Flaggenbuch (1939) shows the Crown-princess' standard swallow-tailed in 6:7 proportion.
Ivan Sache, 6 September 2001

Crown Princess' Pennant

[Crown Princess' Pennant of Bulgaria 1908-1944] by Željko Heimer


Other male members of the royal family

[standard of other male members of the royal family of Bulgaria 1908-1944]  6:7, by Željko Heimer

Flaggenbuch (1939) shows the a standard like that of the crown prince standard with the red cross omitted.
Ivan Sache, 6 September 2001

Pennant of other male members of the royal family

[Pennant of other male members of the royal familyof Bulgaria 1908-1944] by Željko Heimer


Other female members of the royal family

[standard of other female members of the royal family of Bulgaria 1908-1944]  6:7, by Željko Heimer

Flaggenbuch (1939) shows the a standard like that of the crown princess standard with the red cross omitted.
Ivan Sache, 6 September 2001

Pennant of other female members of the royal family

[Pennant of other female members of the royal familyof Bulgaria 1908-1944] by Željko Heimer


Naval Ensign

[Naval ensign of Bulgaria 1908-1944] 2:3, by Željko Heimer

The naval ensign is described as being the same as in the period of the Principality, though we could conclude that by now the shape of the crown was established (more like the same crown as is used today - above the shield in the state coat of arms - I am sure that there is some story behind this, but I don't know it.)
Source: Bogoslovski, 1912
Željko Heimer
, 5 September 2001

Flaggenbuch (1939) shows the same flag.
Ivan Sache, 6 September 2001

Bulgarian Naval Handbook (reproduced in Ivanov, 1998) shows the same design as in the 1912 Album
Željko Heimer
, 8 September 2001


Minister of Army

[Minister of Army of Bulgaria 1908-1944] 2:3, by Željko Heimer

The naval ensign with white square with green saltire beneath the red canton with lion.
Source: Bogoslovski, 1912
Željko Heimer
, 5 September 2001

Minister of the Army Pennant

[Minister of the Army Pennant of Bulgaria 1908-1944]

by Željko Heimer

Bulgarian Naval Handbook (reproduced in Ivanov, 1998) shows a pennant similar to the royal house pennants, having the appropriate flag in the hoist.
Željko Heimer
, 8 September 2001

[Minister of the Army Pennant of Bulgaria 1908-1944] 2:3

Flaggenbuch (1939) shows the same flag and also a forked 1:5 pennant for the Minister of War.
Ivan Sache, 6 September 2001

Bulgarian Naval Handbook (reproduced in Ivanov, 1998) shows the same design as in the 1912 Album
Željko Heimer
, 8 September 2001


Chief of Staff of the Army

[Chief of Staff of the Army of Bulgaria 1908-1944] by Ivan Sache

2:3, horizontally divided white-green-white.
Ivan Sache, 8 September 2001

Chief of Staff of the Army pennant

[Chief of Staff of the Army of Bulgaria 1908-1944 pennant] by Ivan Sache


Chief of the Third and Fourth Inspections of the Army

[Chief of the Third and Fourth Inspections of the Army of Bulgaria 1908-1944] by Ivan Sache

2:3, horizontally divided white over green.
Ivan Sache, 8 September 2001

Chief of Staff of the Army pennant

[Chief of the Third and Fourth Inspections of the Army of Bulgaria 1908-1944 pennant] by Ivan Sache


Commander-in-Chief of the Fleet

[Commander-in-Chief of the Fleet of Bulgaria 1908-1944] 2:3, by Željko Heimer

As the flag of the Minister of the Army, but instead of the saltire there are two crossed green anchors.
Source: Bogoslovski, 1912
Željko Heimer
, 5 September 2001

Not shown in Flaggenbuch (1939).
Ivan Sache, 6 September 2001

This might be because by that time the flag had become obsolete (maybe by introduction of admirals' flags it was actually no need for such?)
Željko Heimer
, 8 September 2001

Bulgarian Naval Handbook (reproduced in Ivanov, 1998) shows the same design as in the 1912 Album
Željko Heimer
, 8 September 2001

Commander in Chief of the Fleet Pennant

[Minister of the Army Pennant of Bulgaria 1908-1944]

by Željko Heimer

Bulgarian Naval Handbook (reproduced in Ivanov, 1998) shows a pennant similar to the royal house pennants, having the appropriate flag in the hoist.
Željko Heimer
, 8 September 2001


Jack

[Jack of Bulgaria 1908-1944] 1:1, by Željko Heimer

White square flag with a red cross behind a green saltire.
Source: Bogoslovski, 1912
Željko Heimer
, 5 September 2001

Flaggenbuch (1939) shows the same flag.
Ivan Sache, 6 September 2001

Bulgarian Naval Handbook (reproduced in Ivanov, 1998) shows the same design as in the 1912 Album
Željko Heimer
, 8 September 2001


Masthead Pennant

[Masthead Pennant of Bulgaria 1908-1944] 

1:30~, by Željko Heimer

White pennant with green saltire near the hoist. The greatest difference between the Bogoslovski Album and the later naval manual is the same of this and subsequent pennants. In the Album they are triangular, ending in point, while in the naval manual the fly is swallow-tailed - but we'll come to this latter on.
Source: Bogoslovski, 1912
Željko Heimer
, 5 September 2001

[Masthead Pennant of Bulgaria 1908-1944] 

1:20, by Željko Heimer

Flaggenbuch (1939) shows this flag swallow-tailed, 1:20, with saltire field 15:23.
Ivan Sache, 6 September 2001

Bulgarian Naval Handbook (reproduced in Ivanov, 1998) shows a pennant, the same as in the 1912 Album
Željko Heimer
, 8 September 2001


Group Commander Pennant

[Group Commander Pennant of Bulgaria 1908-1944] 2:3, by Željko Heimer

Triangular pennant with horizontal national tricolour stripes and with red square with lion set at hoist in the middle of the flag height.
Source: Bogoslovski, 1912
Željko Heimer
, 5 September 2001

Not shown in Flaggenbuch (1939).
Ivan Sache, 6 September 2001

Bulgarian Naval Handbook (reproduced in Ivanov, 1998) shows a triangular pennant, the same as in the 1912 Album
Željko Heimer
, 8 September 2001


Commander of a Division

[Commander of a Division, Bulgaria 1937] 2:3, by Željko Heimer

On 9 January 1937 was established flag of the commander of the division, somewhat inconsistent with the system above - a white flag with a green cross throughout and with a red anchor in canton.
Željko Heimer
, 5 September 2001

If square, Flaggenbuch (1939) shows it for rear-admiral. With anchors in quarters 1 and 3, vice-admiral. with anchors in quarters 1, 2 and 3, admiral. The corresponding pennants, 1:5 and forked are also shown.
Ivan Sache, 6 September 2001

Rereading the Ivanov, 1998  I realize I made a mistake - it should indeed be square (quite a common error, I guess, confusing words "rectangular" and "square"). Anyway, the width of green stripes forming the cross is 1/8 of hoist, while the anchor is 1/6 of hoist high and 1/8 wide. Ivanov, 1998 does not mention 2- and 3-anchors flags nor any corresponding pennants. Are the hoist parts of these pennants square or do they retain 15:23 ratio from above? The fly part is yellow, as usual,
right?
Željko Heimer, 8 September 2001


Coat of arms

[Coat of arms of Bulgaria]

Coat of arms of Kingdom of Bulgaria (1878-1944), based on a collection of images scanned by Jaume Ollé. The text on the ribbon says: 'Saedinenieto pravi silata'.

Željko Heimer, 19 June 1996


I think it is the same motto than the Belgian one: "L'union fait la force" (Union makes strength).

Pascal Vagnat, 19 June 1996


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