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Greece under Ottoman rule

Last modified: 2004-02-28 by
Keywords: ottoman empire | civil ensign | smyrna |
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Greek merchant ensign

[Greek merchant ensign]by Ivan Sache

The flag is horizontally divided red-blue-red. It is shown in Colton's Delineation of Flags of All Nations (1862) (colour plate reproduced in Znamierowski [zna99]) and captioned: " #141. Ottoman Greek".
Smith [smi75c] says: "The Christians of Greece used a blue stripe through their red civil ensign."

Ivan Sache, 10 March 2001

There were only three flags in the Ottoman Empire that were official which were so called national flags: the red with crescent and star as the national flag, the red flag without devices as merchant flag, and a special merchant flag for those who had done the journey to Mecca, a red flag with a green central stripe.
That there might have been regulations on flags in Turkish possessions is the fact that Greek ships had to fly a red flag with a blue central stripe.

Ralf Stetler, 26 June 1999


Smyrna variant of the civil ensign

Smyrna civil ensignby Ivan Sache

A variant used in Smyrna is known, with five stripes alternatively red and blue.

Source: Hellenic flags. Insignia-Emblems. [kok97]

Pascal Vagnat, 11 January 1999


Use of the Russian naval ensign

Since the Treaty of Kioutsouk Kainartzi in 1774, Greek merchant vessels could (and did almost to the exclusion of any other flag until 1821) use the Russian naval ensign (St Andrew's cross). They even continued so throughout the XIXth century when in Turkish waters.

Constantine Plakidas, 16 April 2003


XVI-XVIIth century flag found in Souda Bay

The following information comes from exhibits in the Cretan Naval Museum in Hania (Chania).

A XVIth or XVIIth century flag was found on an island in Souda Bay: a blue field with a white cross (the arms of the cross are one-third the width of the flag), with a green and brown laurel wreath in the middle of the cross.

Bruce Tindall, 20 May 1996

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