Last modified: 2023-07-03 by alex danes
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Modern Romania was formed in 1859 by the personal union under Prince Alexander John Cuza of the Danubian principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia, under the name of "United Principalities". In 1862, it became a unitary state and it adopted the current name.
The principalities accepted the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire in the late Middle Ages, and this relationship continued until 1877, when Romania declared its independence. In 1881, it was proclaimed a kingdom under Charles of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, who had replaced Cuza in 1867.
In the Middle Ages, Transylvania was an autonomous dependency of the Hungarian crown (Crown of St Stephen). After the destruction of the Hungarian kingdom, it became a dependency of the Ottoman Empire, under terms similar to those of Moldavia and Wallachia; later, it was acquired by the Habsburgs. Upon the transformation of the Habsburg empire into the dualist monarchy of Austria-Hungary (1867), Transylvania lost its autonomy and it was incorporated in the Kingdom of Hungary. It became part of Romania in 1918.
Alex Neumann, 18 March 2006
W = 2/3L; C = 1/3L. Construction sheet by Alex Danes
A blue-yellow-red vertical tricolour. Adopted 27 Dec 1989. Smith (1982) mentions that the first tricolours were allowed in 1834 by the Ottoman sultan, that in 1848 the tricolour (but not in current in "French" pattern) was popularized and finally officially adopted in 1859. The tricolour has been used since as national flag, war ensign (also state flag?) with coat of arms, and the vertical version was adopted in 1866. After WWII, in 1948 all the variants of the flag (civil, state, military) were defaced with the emblem ("coat of arms") that was changed several times and finally cut out (literally) and plain tricolour was re-established in 1989.
Željko Heimer, 21 December 2002
The Constitution of Romania, adopted on 21 November 1991, effective on 8 December 1991, says:
Source: Vagnat & Poels (2000). Constitutions - what they tell us about national flags and coats of arms
Title I: General Principles
Article 12. National Emblems
(1) Romania's flag is a tricolour, consisting of vertical stripes: blue, yellow, and red, in this order, from the mast.[...]
(4)The coat of arms of the country and the state seal are established by statutory laws.
From a Romanian flag page at: the Presidetial site. Note some of the statements here are disputable - see the legends' page. An English version of this page is also available, although it is not a direct translation (see our translation of the Romanian language page):
Dov Gutterman, 01 January 1999
The national flag of Romania is a tricolour: red, yellow and blue. It has not undergone many or major changes in the course of history. Only the distribution of the colours (in point of proportion and position) changed to a certain extent, being made equal after the Revolution of 1848 when, under the spur of the French revolutionary spirit, many states in Europe adopted as their national flag the dimensionally standardised three-colour banner. Sigillography attests that at certain historical stages, the Romanian flag had the three colours arranged horizontally with the red in the upper part, the yellow in the middle and the blue in the lower part. Also, the proportion of the colours was not the same as it is now (33 per cent for each colour).
Basically, however, the three colours so dear to the Romanians are to be found in banners dating back to the time of Michael the Brave and even Stephen the Great. Moreover, recent research indicates that they existed even on the Dacian standard presented on Trajan's Column in Rome. This standard was of a special form: a bright metal wolf's head hanging from which were long coloured bands of cloth.
As the wind blew, the standard gave a whiz that scared the enemy and encouraged those who carried it in battle. In critical moments, hiding the standard so that it should not be taken by the enemy was a custom common with several peoples, including therefore the Dacians, the Daco-Romans and the Romanians. Such a hidden standard was the one belonging to Tudor Vladimirescu, the leader of the 1821 revolution. When the revolution was stifled, Tudor's chieftains decided to bury the standard in a courtyard. Only 60 years later, in 1882, was the standard found, reconditioned and brought to Bucharest, the capital of the country, being deposited, in the framework of a special ceremony, at the Army House (today the Central Military Museum). The 1821 revolution Tudor Vladimirescu helped the country get rid of the Phanariot rulers imposed by the Ottoman Empire in Wallachia and Moldavia in the early 18th century (the Phanariot rulers came from the Phanar district of Constantinopole and were aliens imposed on the country by the Sultan as mere administrators).
The flag, the standard, the banner are profound symbols, connected to history, to the resistance of the people and the secret of their survival. The Romanian tricolour (the colours red, yellow and blue are to be found also in Romania's coat of arms) resisted, as a symbol, even after the advent of communism in this country, when the entire heraldry of the USSR's satellites was reduced to a caricature.
In the course of time, poems and hymns were dedicated to the Romanian tricolour; one of these, Three Colours, on music by Ciprian Porumbescu, has been very mobilising and is one of the most liked by the Romanians. The flag of Romania has the colours placed vertically as follows: blue (hoist), yellow (in the middle) and red (fly). The width of each colour band is one-third of the length. The blue is cobalt, the yellow-chrome and the red-vermillion.
The official web site of the President of Romania contains a short history of the national flag of Romania at http://www.presidency.ro. There are three versions of the document: Romanian, French, and English. While the French version is a direct translation of the Romanian one, the English is not. The English version is actually a different document, markedly inferior in both style and content to the Romanian one. Below, under "The National Flag", there is a condensed English translation of the Romanian version. I omitted some parts which are not relevant to the Anglophone reader; these omissions are marked by [...]. I also made a few small additions, which are inserted in square brackets.
Translated by Alex Neumann, 18 March 2006
Translated by Alex Neumann, 18 March 2006
The National Flag of Romania
The national flag of Romania is a blue, gold, and red tricolour. The colours are arranged in vertical bands of equal size.
The blue, gold, and red tricolour is a relatively recent symbol, having appeared in the first half of the 19th c. [...]
As a rule, the main colour of the [mediaeval "great banner"] of Moldavia was red, while that of Wallachia was white or a light colour (pale gold). However, there were exceptions, such as the flag from the reign of Vlad VII Vintila de la Slatina (1532-35), described in the oldest written record of such a banner. We are told that the flag was of red silk, on which was embroidered the coat of arms, a bird (raven?) standing on a mountain peak, with the head turned and a cross in the beak.
In the reign of Stephen III the Great (1457-1504), the great banner of Moldavia was red, charged with the head of an aurochs with a star between the horns and flanked by the sun and the moon. An engraving of the battle of Baia (1467) contains a depiction of Stephen's personal flag: a long and narrow banner, half of which was painted in vertical bands (from his family's coat of arms), while the other was charged with the aurochs' head.
According to a report of the time, the flag of the great Moldavian boyars who attended the coronation of Henry of Valois as King of Poland (1574) was blue and charged with the head of an aurochs.
Around 1600, under the reign of Michael II the Brave (1593-1601), the great banner of Wallachia was white, charged with a raven standing above a bough of green juniper and carrying a double cross in the beak. At roughly the same time, the banner of Moldavia under Prince Jeremiah I Movila was red fringed with gold, charged with the head of an aurochs with a star between the horns and flanked by two gold crescent moons; the flag bore the Prince's name and title, and the date of manufacture.
None of the great banners of the 17th c. have survived; however, there is extant an interesting personal flag of Prince Mihnea III (1658-59). The dark red fabric is charged with the double-headed eagle of Byzantium painted in gold, crowned with a princely crown and supported by two lions rampant. Above it there is an archducal crown supported by two angels, and, above that, the Prince's name and title [...]. Another [surviving] personal flag, which might have served also as a great banner, is that of Constantine II Brancoveanu (1688-1714). On one side it bears the coat of arms of Wallachia flanked by St Constantine and St Helen, as well as the Latin inscription "Konstantinus Brancovan, Valachiae Transalpinae Princeps, Anno Domini 1698". On the reverse there is a depiction of the Baptism of the Lord.
The first flags joining the heraldic symbols of Moldavia and Wallachia date back to the epoch of the Phanariotes (1711-1821), as, for instance, a white silk banner from the reign of Constantine Ypsilanti, who, for a short while (1806-07), reigned in both lands.
The flag used by Tudor Vladimirescu in the Uprising of 1821 in Wallachia was modeled after the military banners of the Middle Ages. It was of white silk, bearing in the centre a painting of the Holy Trinity flanked by the military saints George the Martyr and Theodore the Recruit (Tyron). Below, circled by a crown of laurels, there was the crusader eagle of Wallachia. On either side of the crest there was a Cyrillic inscription [...] and, below, the date of the Proclamation of Islaz [...]. In addition to the flag itself, the staff bore, hanging under the finial, three groups of tassels. Each tassel was bicolour -- red/blue, gold/blue, and gold/red -- the ensemble having a tricolour appearance.
The first joining of the three colours as individual bands dates back to 1834, in the reign of Alexander II Ghika in Wallachia, where they appeared not as a national flag, but as a merchant flags and in flags of native militia units. The bands were horizontal, with red on top; the yellow band was charged with the crusader eagle with sceptre and sword, circled by a crown of laurel and oak leaves; the corners of the flags also bore eagles. After the Hatt-i-Sharif of 1834, wherein the Sultan approved the usage of the three colours in flags, the "National Party", under the influence of the French model, came to see this tricolour as a national symbol of all Romanians [...].
At about the same time, Prince Michael Sturdza of Moldavia also granted new standards to units of native militia. These flags were blue with red squares in the corners. One side was charged with the Moldavian aurochs' head, with the star between the horns and crowned with a princely crown; the other, with a depiction of St George killing the dragon. The red squares bore the Prince's monogram.
At this time there was not as yet a national flag. The princely flag of George Bibesco (1842-48) was red fringed with gold flowers, and charged, on the obverse, with a shield over a crossed sword and sceptre, carrying the crusader eagle, crowned with a princely crown, and supported by two lions rampant; all above an array of flags, weapons, gun barrels, drums, and cannon balls. The reverse was charged with a depiction of St George killing the dragon.
In 1848, the Romanian revolutionaries [...] flew the blue, gold, and red tricolour. Initially, some tricolours were displayed horizontally, but the vertical arrangement, with blue at the hoist, was more popular and was codified by a decree of the revolutionary Provisional Government in Bucharest.
In Transylvania, the Romanian revolutionaries originally flew tricolours in blue, white and red, arranged horizontally (a usage possibly influenced by the green, white, and red tricolour of the Magyar revolutionaries), as they did at the National Assembly of Blaj (April 26, 1848). The white band bore the Latin inscription "Virtus Romana Rediviva" in gold letters. However, gradually, during the course of the Revolution, gold replaced white in Romanian tricolours everywhere.
The tricolour became the national flag in 1859, when Alexander John Cuza was elected Prince in both Moldavia and Wallachia; but, until 1862, it was horizontally arranged, with blue on top. From 1862 to 1867 it was still horizontally arranged, but with red on top. In 1867, when Charles of Hohenzollern- Sigmaringen became Prince of Romania, the national flag, as well as the military ensigns, were changed to the vertical arrangement, with blue at the hoist. [...]
As first codified in 1872, the national flag was a plain tricolour, while military and naval ensigns were charged with the coat of arms and the sovereign's initial. [...]
[This usage continued until 1948, when, after the Communist take-over, the national tricolour was charged with a new coat of arms of Soviet inspiration. During the Revolution of December 1989, flags were flown with the Communist coat of arms ripped out. The tricolour with a hole in the middle became a symbol of the Revolution, much as the red, white, green tricolour with a hole in the middle had been a symbol of Hungarian uprising of 1956. After the Revolution, the traditional usage of the plain tricolour as the national flag was resumed.]
|Dye/Pigment 1||cobalt blue||chrome yellow||vermilion red|
I have a friend who is in Romania. He said that the yellow and red seem to have been standardized; however, there is a great variance in the shade of blue. He has seen anything from a blue as light as that used in the flags of Israel and South Africa to as dark as that of the United States flag.
Calvin Paige Herring, 1 January 1999
Colours recommended for the Romanian flag byAlbum des Pavillons (2000) are:
The RGB Colours recommended for the Romanian flag bywww.vexilla-mundi.com, after the Pantone® nuances reccomended by Album des Pavillons (2000) are:
Romanians have celebrated the National Flag since 1998, symbolizes the state's sovereignty. Every year on Flag Day, all public institutions are adorned with national flags. [This year a] special ceremony was organized yesterday in Bucharest's Tricolorului (three colors, in reference to the colors of the Romanian flag: blue, yellow and red) Square, in front of the Military Palace. The ceremony consisted of the blessing of the flag by priests and was attended by Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu.
Source: Bucharest Daily News
Ivan Sache, 27 June 2006
The Flag Day of Romania is celebrated on 26 June. On that day, in 1848, the Provisional Government from Wallachia established the blue-yellow-red tricolour as the national flag of Romanians in its first decree. Although this act was vague and didn't mention anything about the colour order or direction, the complementary decree from 25 July 1848 clearly showed that the revolutionists had in mind a vertical tricolour, with blue near the hoist and red floating, which is the actual flag of Romania (minus the motto "Justice, Fraternity" that had to be inscribed on 1848 flags).
This day was proclaimed by Law nr. 96 from 20 May 1998, whose relevant part is translated below:
Article 1.Alex Danes, 26 September 2008(1) The 26th of June is proclaimed the Day of the National Flag.Article 2.
(2) The National Flag Day will be celebrated by public authorities and other official institutions by organizing cultural-educative programs and manifestations, with an evokative or scientific character, dedicated to the history of Romania, and also by organizing specific military ceremonies within the units of the Ministry of National Defence and Ministry of Internal Affairs.(1) The Government and public authorities will see that on this day the flag of Romania will be hoisted according to Law nr. 75/1994 [regarding the display of the Romanian flag...] and will oversee the accomplishment of the actions ruled on Article 1, paragraph (2).Article 3.
(2) In the Capital of Romania and the capitals of counties will be organised public ceremonies of hoisting the flag of Romania [...].On the occasion of celebrating the National Flag Day in 1998, the Parliament of Romania will assemble in a solemn session.
Four countries use blue-yellow-red vertical tricolour flags: Moldova, Andorra, Chad and Romania. The Moldovan flag is distinguished by the addition of the Moldovan arms, but the colours are obviously related to and similarly derived as those of Romania. The flag of Andorra is based on the French flag, but with the addition of yellow from the Catalan or Spanish flag; it also bears the arms. The blue-yellow-red colours of Chad are a combination of the blue-white-red of France, the former colonial power, and the green-yellow-red of the Pan-African (e.g., Ethiopian) ones. The Chadian flag is therefore essentially identical to the Romanian flag. Album des Pavillons (2000) distinguishes the blue in the Chadian flag as being darker (closer to that of the French flag) as Pantone® 281c (CMYK 100-70-0-35).
Željko Heimer, 18 August 2003