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Norway - a flag for Bergen in 1799?

Last modified: 2004-10-23 by
Keywords: norway | bergen | historical |
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Description of a flag reported for Bergen in 1799

One of the items I took notice of [when visiting the Maritime Museum in Bergen] was a French flag-chart from 1799 called 'Flags of All the Nations'.

I found two of the flags especially interesting, one of them I had never seen before, while the other was something I had heard about before.

This flag [I hadn't seen before was] labeled 'P. de Bergen' (probably the reason the flag chart was on the wall in the first place), I could not find on FOTW. The flag is similar to no-1814.gif, but with the lion placed on a white field at the centre of the cross. This flag is previously reported by Jan Oskar [Engene] (that's why I knew about it) [see the page on Bergen].

This falls into the category of erroneous flags. If anything, this flag or a similar, might have been used by Norwegian merchant ships (some of them from Bergen), to distinguish them from Danish merchant ships. But, as far as I know, this have never been documented. The flag chart being from 1799, I find the labeling of Bergen strange. True, for centuries all the trade between Northern Norway, Iceland and North America, and the rest of the world, was channeled through Bergen. But by the end of the 18th century the ships from Bergen ought to have company of ships from other Norwegian ports.

Note, 'P. de ...' is short for 'Pavillon de ...', i.e. 'Flag of ...' [or in this case 'Ensign of...']
Jostein Nygård, 10 June 2001


It's apparently a Danish flag (no surprise).
- At the time Bergen was the capital of Norway. Flagbooks sometimes attribute flags to capitals that we would attribute to the country. Could it have been a flag for Norway?
- In style it's quite close to 104: High Admiral of Denmark. Could it have been a flag for an office to/in Norway/Bergen?
- (Who was this High Admiral of Denmark, anyway? Did he have an Admiral of the Norwegian fleet below him?)

Such a Norway-connection would also explain why the 1814 Norwegian flag isn't really all that close to Lundh's idea [see Lundh's proposals].
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 13 November 2001

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