Flag of Poland

Flag of Poland

Infobox flag
Name = Poland
Type = National

Nickname = Flag of the Republic of Poland
Use = 111000
Proportion = 5:8
Adoption = 1919
Design = A horizontal bicolor of white and red

Nickname2 = Flag with coat of arms of the Republic of Poland
Use2 = 110110
Proportion2 = 5:8
Adoption2 = 1919; last modified 1990
Design2 = A horizontal bicolor of white and red defaced with the arms of Poland in the white stripe

The flag of Poland consists of two horizontal stripes of equal width, the upper one white and the lower one red. The two colors are defined in the Polish constitution as the national colors. A variant of the flag with the national coat of arms in the middle of the white stripe is legally reserved for official use abroad and at sea. A similar flag with the addition of a swallow-tail is used as the naval ensign of Poland.

White and red were officially adopted as national colors in 1831. They are of heraldic origin and derive from the tinctures (colors) of the coats of arms of the two constituent nations of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, i.e. the White Eagle of Poland and the Pursuer ( _lt. Vytis, _pl. Pogoń) of Lithuania, a white knight riding a white horse, both on a red shield. Prior to that, Polish soldiers wore cockades of various color combinations. The national flag was officially adopted in 1919. Since 2004, Polish Flag Day is celebrated on May 2.

The flag is flown continuously on the buildings of the highest national authorities, such as the parliament and the presidential palace. Other institutions and many Polish people fly the national flag on national holidays and other special occasions of national significance. Current Polish law does not restrict the use of the national flag without the coat of arms as long as the flag is not disrespected.

Horizontal bicolor of white and red being a relatively widespread design, there are several flags that are similar but unrelated to the Polish one, most notably that of Bohemia in the Czech Republic and two national flags the red stripe above the white one: those of Indonesia and Monaco. In Poland, many flags based on the national design also feature the national colors.


Legal sources

The colors and flags of the Republic of Poland are described in two legal documents: the Constitution of the Republic of Poland of 1997,Konstytucja Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej] and the Coat of Arms, Colors and Anthem of the Republic of Poland, and State Seals Act ("Ustawa o godle, barwach i hymnie Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej oraz o pieczęciach państwowych") of 1980 with subsequent amendmentsUstawa o godle... (1980, with amendments)] (henceforth referred to as "the Coat of Arms Act").

Legislation concerning the national symbols is far from perfect. The Coat of Arms Act has been amended several times and refers extensively to executive ordinances, some of which have never been issued. Moreover, the Act contains errors, omissions and inconsistencies which make the law confusing, open to various interpretations and often not followed in practice.Informacja o wynikach kontroli... (NIK, 2005)]

National colors

The flag of the Grand Duchy of Posen, a Polish-populated autonomous province of the Kingdom of Prussia created in 1815, was a red-and-white horizontal bicolor. Its colors were taken from the duchy's coat of arms which consisted of the Prussian Black Eagle with an inescutcheon of the Polish White Eagle. With Germany's increasingly anti-Polish policy and a rising identification of white and red as Polish national colors, the red-and-white flag of Posen was replaced in 1886 with a white-black-white horizontal triband. [Grand Duchy of Posen... (FOTW)] No other part of Poland during the time of Partitions used a flag that would incorporate Polish national colors.

Today, many flags used in Poland are based on the design of the national flag. This applies especially to flags defined by Polish law and used by the Polish military and other uniformed services, such as the naval ensign – a swallow-tailed horizontal bicolor of white and red defaced with the arms of Poland in the white stripe. [Ustawa o znakach Sił Zbrojnych Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej (1993)] Flags of some administrative subdivisions also resemble the national flag. Examples include the flag of the Lower Silesian Voivodeship – a horizontal bicolor of white and red defaced with the arms of the voivodeship – or the flag of the Lesser Poland Voivodeship – a horizontal tricolor of white, yellow and red with the yellow stripe half as wide as any of the other two. [Kromer]

Due to the horizontal bicolor being a relatively simple and widespread flag design, and white and red being the most popular colors used on flags, [Colors of Flags (FOTW)] there are many flags worldwide that are similar or near identical to the flag of Poland despite being unrelated to it. For example, the historical flag of Bohemia, the major historical region of Poland's southern neighbor, the Czech Republic, consists of two horizontal stripes, white on top and red on bottom. Similarly to the flag of Poland, it is of heraldic origin, the coat of arms of Bohemia being "Gules, a lion rampant, queue fourchée Argent, crowned, langued and armed Or", that is a silver double-tailed lion in a red field. The white-and-red Bohemian flag came into use when Bohemia was a province of Austria-Hungary and, after the end of the First World War in 1918, it was shortly used as a flag of the newly formed Czecho-Slovak Republic. In 1920, in order to avoid confusion with the Polish flag, a blue triangle was added to create a flag used by Czechoslovakia until its dissolution in 1993 and currently used as the flag of the Czech Republic. [Bohemia (FOTW)]

Other examples of flags that could be confused with the Polish one include the civil flags of the following regions: Kranj, Slovenia; Thuringia, Germany; Upper Austria and Tyrol, Austria; as well the city of Honda, Colombia. There are currently two independent states – Indonesia and Monaco – whose national flags are horizontal bicolors of red and white, reversing the Polish flag. The Monaco and Indonesia flags differ in proportions and shades of the colors (see Flag of Indonesia and Flag of Monaco). [Sarajčić]



* cite book
author = Russocki Stanisław
coauthors = Kuczyński Stefan, Willaume Juliusz
title = Godło, barwy i hymn Rzeczypospolitej. Zarys dziejów
publisher = Wiedza Powszechna
date = 1970
location = Warsaw

* cite book
last = Znamierowski
first = Alfred
title = Stworzony do chwały
publisher = Editions Spotkania
date = 1995
location = Warsaw
isbn = 83-71-15055-5

* [http://www.sejm.gov.pl/prawo/konst/polski/kon1.htm Konstytucja Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej z dnia 2 kwietnia 1997 r.] (en icon [http://www.sejm.gov.pl/prawo/konst/angielski/kon1.htm Constitution of the Republic of Poland] ), Dz.U. 1997 nr 78 poz. 483
* [http://isip.sejm.gov.pl/servlet/Search?todo=file&id=WDU19970880553&type=3&name=D19970553Lj.pdf Ustawa z dnia 6 czerwca 1997 r. Kodeks karny] , Dz.U. 1997 nr 88 poz. 553
* [http://isip.sejm.gov.pl/servlet/Search?todo=file&id=WDU19510040028&type=3&name=D9510028.pdf Ustawa z dnia 18 stycznia 1951 r. o dniach wolnych od pracy] , Dz.U. 1951 nr 4 poz. 28
* [http://isip.sejm.gov.pl/servlet/Search?todo=file&id=WDU19800070018&type=2&name=D19800018.pdf Ustawa z dnia 31 stycznia 1980 r. o godle, barwach i hymnie Polskiej Rzeczypospolitej Ludowej] , Dz.U. 1980 nr 7 poz. 18 (original text)
* [http://www.abc.com.pl/serwis/du/2005/2000.htm Ustawa z dnia 31 stycznia 1980 r. o godle, barwach i hymnie Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej oraz o pieczęciach państwowych] , Dz.U. 1980 nr 7 poz. 18 (full text after amendments)
* [http://isip.sejm.gov.pl/servlet/Search?todo=file&id=WDU19900280160&type=2&name=D19900160.pdf Ustawa z dnia 6 kwietnia 1990 r. o przywróceniu Święta Narodowego Trzeciego Maja] , Dz.U. 1990 nr 28 poz. 160
* [http://isip.sejm.gov.pl/servlet/Search?todo=file&id=WDU19900100060&type=2&name=D19900060.pdf Ustawa z dnia 9 lutego 1990 r. o zmianie przepisów o godle, barwach i hymnie Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej] , Dz.U. 1990 nr 10 poz. 60
* [http://isip.sejm.gov.pl/servlet/Search?todo=file&id=WDU19930340154&type=3&name=D19930154Lj.pdf Ustawa z dnia 19 lutego 1993 r. o znakach Sił Zbrojnych Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej] , Dz.U. z 1993 r. Nr 34, poz. 154

Official documents
* Citation
title = Informacja o wynikach kontroli używania symboli państwowych przez organy administracji publicznej
year = 2005
place = Warsaw
publisher = Supreme Chamber of Control (Najwyższa Izba Kontroli)
url = http://bip.nik.gov.pl/pl/bip/wyniki_kontroli_wstep/inform2005/2005076/px_2005076.pdf

* fr icon cite book
last = Łoza
first = Stanisław
author-link = Stanisław Łoza
coauthors=Czaykowski, Zygmunt
title=Godło i barwy Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej – Armoiries et couleurs de la République polonaise
publisher=Ministry of Military Affairs

* [http://www.senat.gov.pl/k5/dok/SEJM/056/2149.pdf Projekt ustawy o zmianie ustawy o godle, barwach i hymnie Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej] , Druk 2149, Warsaw, October 15, 2003

News articles
* Citation
last = Bajtlik
first = Stanisław
coauthors =
title = Szyjemy flagę narodową
newspaper = Gazeta Wyborcza
pages =
language =
publisher = Agora
date = 2008-05-01
url = http://www.gazetawyborcza.pl/1,75248,5164372.html?as=1&ias=5
accessdate = 2008-05-04

* Citation
last = Magiera
first = Marek
title = Zaczyna się mundial...
newspaper = Życie Częstochowskie
publisher = Beta Press S.C.
date = 2006-06-09
url = http://www.zycie.czest.pl/modules/show.php?id=1438
accessdate = 2008-02-02

* Citation
last1 = Molak
first1 = Wiesław
last2 = Sakiewicz
first2 = Tomasz
title = Bogdan Borusewicz gościem w „Sygnałach dnia"
work = Interview with Bogdan Borusewicz in Program 1 Polskiego Radia
publisher = Law and Justice
date = May 2, 2007
url = http://www.pis.org.pl/article.php?id=7278
accessdate = 2008-02-02

* Citation
last = Niezabitowska
first = Małgorzata
author-link = Małgorzata Niezabitowska
title = Discovering America
newspaper = National Geographic
year = 1988
date = January 1988
url =

* cite web
title = Flaga
work = Official website of the President of the Republic of Poland
publisher = Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland
url = http://www.prezydent.pl/x.node?id=70
accessdate = 2007-09-30

* Flags of the World – subpages:
** cite web
title = Bohemia (Czech Republic)
url = http://flagspot.net/flags/cz_bh.html
accessdate = 2007-11-02

** cite web
title = Colors of Flags
url = http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/xf-colx.html
accessdate = 2007-11-04

** cite web
title = Grand Duchy of Posen 1815-1849, Posen Province 1849-1920 (Prussia, Germany)
url = http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/de-pr-po.html
accessdate = 2007-11-02

** cite web
title = Polish Religious flags
url = http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/Flags/pl_rel.html
accessdate = 2008-02-02

* cite web
last = Kromer
first = Adam
title = Flagi województw polskich
work = Polskie flagi, chorągwie, bandery...
url = http://www.akromer.republika.pl/flagi_pl.html
accessdate = 2008-02-02

* cite web
title = Protokół flagowy – Jak postępować z flagami
publisher = Instytut Heraldyczno-Weksylologiczny
date = July 11, 2005
url = http://www.pl.info.pl/IHW_WWW/index.php?act=view&ktg=32&idt=125
accessdate = 2007-09-30

* cite web
last = Sarajčić
first = Ivan
title = Flag Identifier
work =
publisher =
date =
url = http://www.flagid.org/found.asp?qa=1010000&qDI=HOR2,6,,126,,135,136,,0&ci=r,w
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-02-03

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