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Kingdom of Serbia (1882-1918)

Last modified: 2004-11-06 by
Keywords: serbia | civil ensign | state flag | war flag | eagle: double-headed (white) | ocila | firesteel | crown: royal | coat of arms |
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[Flag of Serbia, 1882]by Željko Heimer

See also:

Coat of arms

The coat of arms of the kingdom of Serbia is:

Gules, two fleur-de-lys or below a double-headed eagle argent, beaked, membered and tongued or, bearing an escutcheon: gules, a cross argent between four ocila (or firesteels) or.

There are variants of the escutcheon: in some cases, the horizontal arms of the cross bear the dates 1389 and 1817, and there is a sword or per pale on the cross. 1389 is the date of the battle of Kosovo, when the Serbs lost their independence. 1817 is the date they regained their autonomy. Serbia emerged in 1817 as an autonomous province of the Ottoman Empire and became a full-fledged kingdom in 1882. These arms were used from 1882 to 1918.

François Velde, 30 June 1995

Civil ensign

[Civil ensign]by Mario Fabretto

In 1882 the former civil ensign was modified, following the modification of the coat of arms: the shield was surmounted by a royal crown (without mantle). This flag remained in use until 1918.

Mario Fabretto, 30 September 1998

State flag

[State flag]by Mario Fabretto

The state flag used between 1882 and 1918 differed from the civil ensign in having the greater national arms in the center.

Mario Fabretto, 30 September 1998

War flag

[War flag]by Mario Fabretto

The war flag, adopted in 1904, following the coronation of Peter I Karadjordjević, used the greater royal arms instead of the state arms.

Mario Fabretto, 30 September 1998

Unidentified flag

The International Geography (London, 1911) shows a very complicated flag of Serbia, which can be described as follows:

Tricolore: red - blue - white
Center: armorial drape and crown; in the middle of that the coat of arms of Serbia.
Around the flag alternating triangles in red and blue.
Above and below: 4 blue, 4 red.
Left and right: 4 blue, 2 red.
In the 4 corners: 4 red lozenges (elongated).
The source is a small image in black and white, so I might have missed something. It looks like the flag of the reigning monarch.

Regarding the coat of arms, I noticed three differences with the state flag:

Jarig Bakker, 11 December 1998

The Serbian military unit flags from the First World War did include some ornamented border, but were square, and with the state arms on a disc.

Željko Heimer, 10 December 1998

Flag of the Serbian-American volunteers (1917)

[Flag of American volunteers]by Ivan Sarajcic

This is another military flag from the Military Museum in Belgrade. It was used by Serbian-American volunteers in 1917.

Inscription reads: Third St. Vitus' Day Company of Serbian volonteers from the United States of America.

Ivan Sarajčić, 5 June 1999