Vexillological question / AH

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by rcduggan, Nov 7, 2007.

  1. rcduggan 大元帅

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    okay, so I know that all the vertical tricolors came original from the French tricolor

    but my question is this: there are a great deal of horizontal triband flags (ethiopia, russia, germany, india, etc) .... but what was the FIRST horizontal triband flag to have three different colors?? in other words, what was the FIRST one of these flags?


    and the AH question, if that original source (whatever it is) was not around, what design might have taken their place as THE extremely common design the horizontal triband is today?
     
  2. Max Sinister Retired Myriad Club Member

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    AFAIK since 1812 or so Napoleonic France had this - like the Tricolore, just with horizontal stripes.
     
  3. seraphim74 Incurable Polonocentric

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    I believe the Dutch flag was the first one with horizontal stripes. It was so called "Prince's Flag", with colours of Prince of Orange' coat of arms (orange-white-blue), used by privateers from the Low Countires during uprising against Spanish rule. Officially it was introduced in 1572. AFAIK a flag with 3 horizontal stripes was actually only one of many versions of "Prince's Flag". In time the flag was modified (orange was replaced by red for better visibility).
     
  4. carlton_bach Member

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    The Dutch admiralty has been using a horizontal tricolour since the seventeenth century. I don't know whether this actually started out life as an official flag or just as general heraldic livery, though. The Austrians claim that their flag is really gules, a fess argent, and goes back to the Middle Ages, but that sounds like a schoolbook story to me.
     
  5. Dan1988 Thinks he's going off his nut

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    Wasn't the orange replaced by red because the orange changed to red when exposed to the sun?
     
  6. le.Singe is watching you from above...

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    There are lots of theories as to why orange became red. One possibility is that the new methods for producing orange paint resulted in darker and darker shades. Another reason for the shift could be increasing popular dislike of the House of Orange. The important thing is that the colors were never set in stone, so variations sprung up everywhere. One thing is for certain: in 1937, probably in response to the reclamation by Dutch fascist sympathisers of the orange-white-blue "Princevlag," Queen Wilhelmina made an official declaration that the official colors of the Netherlands were red, white and blue. A pity aesthetically in my opinion (I happen to really like the combination of orange-white-blue, and the current flag seems too boring and unoriginal), but it seems like a very good move politically, giving official sanction to the anti-fascist elements in the Netherlands and robbing the fascists of the right to use the national flag as a symbol.
    (Information from FOTW – I remembered having read about this a couple weeks ago)

    As for the question, the reason we see so many tricolors, both vertical and horizontal, is that these were the flags of two of the oldest republics in Europe. To many, they symbolized the ideals of democracy, freedom, &c. Belgium, Spain (in its republican years, red-yellow-purple, which I like so much more), Italy, Germany (both during the Confederation and the Weimar Republic), Ireland, all chose tricolors as a means of expressing democracy, secularism, or liberalism. Some of the less liberal tricolor nations, such as the German Empire and Russia, probably went with the pattern simply because everybody else was doing it.

    Another merit of the tricolor is its pure simplicity. With the constantly changing boundaries and governments of Europe, it's so much easier to change the colors or order of a tricolor than to come up with new symbols for a coat of arms. Simplicity is also the reason the Scandinavian cross is so popular up there.

    Which takes us to the WI. I guess in a world where Sweden and Denmark become more powerful, the Scandinavian cross could be a potential candidate, although that might be too late. I don't know, it's just so hard to beat the simplicity of a tricolor!
     
  7. rcduggan 大元帅

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    in the timeline in question, the netherlands never revolt and there was no french revolution, so the two originators of the tricolors never made the flags

    I was thinking about the Scandinavian cross, but the problem is it would never be adopted by any non-christian nation (like the tricolors were OTL)... so what would fill the void?
     
  8. Thande SWALLOWS·AND·AMAZONS·FOR·EVER!

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    Well, European countries have a tradition of making flags which are essentially the colours of their coats of arms - to avoid using heraldic terms, the colour of the central animal/design as the top stripe and the colour of the background as the bottom. This produces horizontal bicolours such as the Austrian black-and-yellow bicolour. However, as someone else said above, I think the Dutch were the first to have a horizontal tricolour.

    The reason why horizontal tricolours are so popular today is because Peter the Great based the Russian flag on the Dutch one, after he had spent some years in the Netherlands undercover learning the shipbuilding trade. (Note the Russian flag is the same as the Dutch but with the stripes in a different order). This became known as the Panslavic Colours, and inspired the flags of other Slavic or Eastern European nations such as Serbia, Bulgaria, Hungary, etc. It was a well-established flag design by the time that newly independent nations in South America and then Africa considered adopting it, alongside the French tricolour and others.

    Also, there were some horizontal versions of the Revolutionary French tricolour in use, as seen here for example.

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