Flag of Romania

Infobox flag
Name = Romania
Article =

Use = 111111
Symbol =
Proportion = 2:3
Adoption =26 June 1848
1 July 1866
27 December 1989
16 July 1994
Design = A vertical tricolour of blue, yellow, and red, with stripes of equal width and blue near the flagpole
Type = National

The national flag of Romania is a tricolour with vertical stripes: beginning from the flagpole, blue, yellow and red. It has a width-length ratio of 2:3.

The Constitution of Romania [At article 12, clause 1] provides that “The flag of Romania is tricolour; the colours are arranged vertically in the following order from the flagpole: blue, yellow, red”. The proportions, shades of colour as well as the flag protocol were established by Law nr. 75 of 16 July 1994. [Law published in "Monitorul Oficial" nr. 237 of 26 August 1994.]

The flag is coincidentally very similar to the civil flag of Andorra and the state flag of Chad. The similarity with Chad’s flag, which differs only in having a darker shade of blue (indigo rather than cobalt), has caused international discussion. In 2004 Chad asked the United Nations to examine the issue, but then-president Ion Iliescu announced no change would occur to the flag. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3626821.stm "'Identical flag' causes flap in Romania"] ] The Romanian tricolour is related to the flag of Moldova, which however has a 1:2 ratio, a lighter shade of blue and its coat of arms in the centre.


Law nr. 75 of 1994 specifies that the stripes of the national flag are cobalt blue, chrome yellow and vermillion red. The publication "Album des pavillons nationaux et des marques distinctives" (2000) suggests the following equivalents in the Pantone scale:


Red, yellow and blue were found on late 16th century royal grants of Michael the Brave, as well as shields and banners. [Pălănceanu, p. 138.] During the Wallachian uprising of 1821, they were present on the canvas of the revolutionaries’ flag and its fringer; for the first time a meaning was attributed to them: “Liberty (sky-blue), Justice (field yellow), Fraternity (blood red)”. [Iscru, Gheorghe D., "Steagul Revoluţiei din 1821", in "Revista Arhivelor" nr. 2/1981, p. 211]

The tricolour was first adopted in Wallachia in 1834, when the reforming "domnitor" Alexandru II Ghica submitted naval and battle flag designs for the approval of Sultan Mahmud II. The latter was a “flag with a red, blue and yellow face, also having stars and a bird’s head in the middle”. ["Buletinul - Gazetă Oficială a Ţării Româneşti", nr. 34 of 14 October 1834, p. 144] Soon, the order of colours was changed, with yellow appearing in the centre. When the flags were handed over for use, Ghica remarked: [Căzănişteanu, p. 35]

In 1840, in order to differentiate the battle flag from the war flag, Ghica adopted a new design for the former: a red-yellow-blue tricolour, with red on top and stripes of equal width. In the centre was a white shield bordered with gold and decorated with the Wallachian eagle, wearing the princely crown and with a cross in its beak. ["Anuarul Principatului Ţării Româneşti", Bucharest, 1842, p. 118.]

In 1848, the flag adopted for Wallachia by the revolutionaries that year was a blue-yellow-red tricolour (with blue above, in line with the meaning “Liberty, Justice, Fraternity”). Already on 26 April, according to "Gazeta de Transilvania", [Gazeta de Transilvania, year XI, nr. 34 of 26 April 1848, p. 140.] Romanian students in Paris were hailing the new government with a blue, gold and red national flag, “as a symbol of union between Moldavians and , as prime minister, gave the following disposition: “the standards of liberty will be raised on all buildings, and the insignia will be carried”. [Dogaru, p. 866.] These symbols were widely employed in demonstrations and raised on public buildings, boats, warships, etc. [Dogaru, p. 866.] Nevertheless, decree nr. 252 of 13/25 July 1848, issued because “it has not [yet] been agreed how the national standards should be designed”, defined the flag as three "vertical" stripes, possibly influenced by the French model. [Năsturel, p. 255.] The shades were “dark blue, light yellow and carmine red”; as for order, “near the wood comes blue, then yellow and then red fluttering”. ["Anul 1848 în Principatele Române", II, Bucharest, 1902, p. 477]

Petre Vasiliu-Năsturel observes that from a heraldic point of view, on the French as well as the revolutionary Wallachian flag, the middle stripe represents a heraldic metal (argent and or respectively). [Năsturel, p. 255.] Other writers believe that the tricolour was not an imitation of the French flag, instead embodying an old Romanian tradition. This theory is supported by a note from the revolutionary foreign minister to Emin Pasha: “the colours of the band that we the leaders wear, as well as all our followers, are not of modern origin. We have had our flags since an earlier time. When we received the tricolour insignia and bands we did not follow the spirit of imitation or fashion”. [Căzănişteanu, p. 36]

Earlier, at the Sibiu Conference of 26 April/8 May 1848, Transylvanian revolutionaries had also adopted a blue-"white"-red national flag (vertical, according to the memoirs of George Bariţ). [Bunea, p. 42.] It was emblazoned with the words “VIRTUTEA ROMANĂ REÎNVIATĂ” (“ROMAN VIRTUE RESURRECTED”). [Dogaru, p. 867.] A number of contemporary sources attests these colours (including the Blaj newspaper "Organul naţionale" and Alexandru Papiu Ilarian’s "Istorie a românilor din Dacia superioară"). They had a twofold significance: their importance in Romanian costume and their union of the Transylvanian principality’s old colours (blue and red) with the white symbolizing peace. [Bunea, p. 43.] It appears that the two specimens [The [http://www.cimec.ro/scripts/PCN/Clasate/detaliu.asp?k=B9428902CCCE4C03892009FE3789AA0A design kept at MNIR] can be seen; this belonged to the "moţi" of Avram Iancu.] with blue-yellow-red stripes preserved today at the National Museum of Romanian History were made later to commemorate the events at Blaj; yellow replaced white as a symbol of Romanian Transylvanians’ desire to join Romania. [Dogaru, p. 868.]

After the revolution was quelled, the old flags were restored and the revolutionaries punished for having worn the tricolour. [Dogaru, p. 868.] In 1849, "domnitor" Barbu Dimitrie Ştirbei adopted a new design for battle flags that nevertheless preserved the colours’ horizontal layout and only changed decorative elements. Similar to the 1834 flag, this one lasted until 1856.

During the Caimacam of three (October 1858-January 1859), as the acting regents did not have the right to inscribe their initials on military flags, the monograms of the Wallachian "domnitori" were replaced by eagles. [Pălănceanu, p. 147, n. 82.]

Merger legend

After 1860, a legend arose stating that the national tricolour had been formed by merging the colours of the Moldavian and Wallachian flags, probably out of a desire to reconcile all parties to the fact that the Wallachian revolutionary flag of 1848 had been chosen for all of Romania. This legend was also convenient with respect to the colours attributed to the two principalities’ flags at the time (red and blue for Moldavia and blue and yellow for Wallachia). [Năsturel, p. 527]

The legend inspired a number of artworks, including a painting by Constantin Lecca. Wishing to depict the brotherhood between Moldavians and Wallachians, chose a passage from the "Bistriţa Chronicle": “In the year 7015 (1506), October 28, prince Ioan Bogdan Voievod entered the Muntenian land with all his troops to the place Rătezat, near the hillock Căiata, on that side of the Râmnic; and there arrived an emissary from Radu Voievod […] who begged prince Bogdan Voievod to make peace with Radu Voievod, because ‘you are Christians and from the same people’ (said he); and many words were exchanged between them and much begging was made […] and prince Bogdan Voievod, seeing so much begging, followed his wishes and made peace”. ["Magazin istoric", nr. 1 (10) of January 1968.] Lecca’s painting shows the two "domnitori" shaking hands in the centre. The flags of Moldavia (blue-red) and of Wallachia (yellow-blue) can also be seen, although these colour combinations have not been attested prior to 1832-34. [Năsturel, p. 253]

P. V. Năsturel contests this legend, noting that the red-yellow-blue tricolour predated the union of the principalities and that the three colours, arrayed vertically, represent the flag of the Romanian nation in all lands inhabited by Romanians. [Năsturel, p. 257] In 1848, the tricolour was present in Focşani and Râmnicu Sărat (on opposite sides of the principalities’ border) during demonstrations of fraternity held by Moldavians and Wallachians, [Vasile, p. 11] while in 1857, around the time of the Moldavian "Ad-hoc divan", the civilian population adopted the tricolour as a symbol of union, a fact observed by Count Alexandre Walewski, French foreign minister. [Ghenadie Petrescu and D. A. Sturza, "Acte şi documente relative la istoria renaşterii României", IV, Bucharest, 1899, p. 351, 409, 414.]

Also that year, the minister of foreign affairs of the Wallachian provisional government assured the extraordinary envoy of the Porte, Suleiman Pasha, that the flag’s three colours had existed “for a long time; our ancestors bore them on their standard and their flags. So they are not a borrowing or an imitation from the present or a threat for the future”. [Dogaru, p. 868.]

Another of Lecca’s paintings shows the assassination of Michael the Brave in 1601. Also depicted is the united standard of the three provinces, with yellow on top (Wallachia), red in the middle (Moldavia) and blue below (Transylvania). This hypothesis of the three colours’ union has appeared in historical literature, also engendering skepticism regarding the arguments deployed in its favour. [Pălănceanu, p. 138.]

Flags of the United Principalities

On 6 February 1859, on his first journey to Bucharest since being elected "domnitor" of Wallachia, Alexander John Cuza was greeted at the edge of the city of Buzău by the commander of the "dorobanţi", who was carrying a tricolour flag. The sight deeply moved Cuza. [Mihalache, p. 77]

Until 1861 the old flags of Moldavia and Wallachia were used alongside the tricolour. On 22 June of that year, Cuza decreed the tricolour as the United Principalities’ official civil flag. [Fabretto.]

The flag was the red-yellow-blue Romanian tricolour, with horizontal stripes. Neither the order of stripes nor the proportion of the civil flag are known. [Năsturel, p. 253] This is first described in "Almanahul român din 1866": “the tricolour flag, divided in three stripes, red, yellow and blue and laid out horizontally: red above, blue below and yellow in the middle”. [Pălănceanu, p. 145.] Some sources suggest that the top stripe was blue until 1862 (as in the revolutionary Wallachian tricolour of 1848), replaced that year by red. [Roşian.] An approximate ratio of 1:3 has been suggested, [Fabretto.] although the princely and army flags, both preserved, had a 2:3 proportion. As for symbolism, P. V. Năsturel asserts that “from 1859 to 1866 it represented just what it had done in 1848: "liberty, justice, fraternity". [Năsturel, p. 257]

The flag gained a degree of international recognition. Relating prince Cuza’s May-June 1864 journey to Constantinople, doctor Carol Davila observed: “The Romanian flag was raised on the great mast, the Sultan’s kayaks awaited us, the guard was armed, the Grand Vizier at the door… The Prince, quiet, dignified, concise in his speech, spent 20 minutes with the Sultan, who then came to review us… Once again, the Grand Vizier led the Prince to the main gate and we returned to the Europe Palace, the Romanian flag still fluttering on the mast…” [Mihalache, p. 180 - 181.]

Princely flag

A rather worn tricolour is found today in the collections of the National Museum of Romanian History, with inventory number 75045. Rectangular in shape (with a 2:3 ratio), it is made up of three silk strips laid out horizontally (with red on top. In the centre-right of the flag is painted the Wallachian eagle, a cross in its beak and clutching the symbols of princely power, while the Moldavian aurochs appears on the centre-left, a six-pointed star between its horns. Six inclined tricolour flags surround the two symbols (three on the left and three on the right); their flagpoles probably crossed near the bottom, which is now lost. Each flag has a blue ribbon above it and at the tips of their flagpoles are found, one on each side, a Wallachian eagle, the edge of a lance and a Moldavian aurochs. On the red strip are found stitched a princely crown, situated in the centre so as to mark the two coats of arms, and the statement “UNIREA PRINCIPATELOR — FERICIREA ROMÂNILOR. TRĂIASCĂ A. IOAN I!” (“The Union of the Principalities — the joy of Romanians. Long Live A. Ioan I!”) on both sides of the crown and now partially faded. The flagpole ends in a metal sphere topped by an eagle. [Pălănceanu, Apostol.] [Pălănceanu, p. 145.]

Researchers differ on the origin and date of this flag. Col. Dr. Alexandru Vasile [Vasile, p. 12] and Dr. Maria Ioniţă [Maria Ioniţă, [http://www.mnir.ro/ro/colectii/istorie-moderna.html Colecţia de istorie modernă şi contemporană a MNIR] ] consider that this was the United Principalities’ official flag. The latter dates it to 1859, the period immediately after the Union, as does Dan Cernovodeanu. [Cernovodeanu, pl. LXI.] Mario Fabretto believes [Fabretto.] it was a battle flag used between 1859 and 1861.

Elena Pălănceanu and Cornelia Apostol believe [Pălănceanu, Apostol.] it was a princely flag designed in 1862, after the full union of the two entities, proclaimed on 11/24 December 1861. Indeed, Cuza only adopted the title “Alexandru Ion I” after this date. [In "Monitorul Oficial", during 1859 - 1861, the "domnitor" styled himself "Alexandru Ion, cu mila lui Dumnezeu şi voinţa naţională, Domn Principatelor Unite Ţara Românească şi Moldova" ("Alexander John, by the grace of God and the national will, Lord of the United Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia"), while from 1862 to 1866 "Alexandru Ioan I, cu mila lui Dumnezeu şi voinţa naţională, Domn al Principatelor Unite Române" (Alexander John I, by the grace of God and the national will, Lord of the United Romanian Principalities").] [Pălănceanu, p. 145.]

After Cuza’s abdication, the flag was kept at the Bucharest Army Arsenal until 1919, when it was transferred to the National Military Museum. It has been at its present location since 1971. [Pălănceanu, Apostol.]

It seems that this specimen was preceded by another, dating to 1859, featuring a tricolour canvas with somewhat smaller dimensions. In this flag, the blue strip is on top, while the two principalities’ coats of arms are no longer surrounded by flags. Today the inscription on the blue strip is illegible, but differed from that found on the other flag. [Pălănceanu, p. 145.]

Another princely flag, rather different from contemporary designs, is a silk tricolour with vertical stripes (blue hoist) and a princely crown painted in the centre. It was raised whenever the "domnitor" was present at Ruginoasa Castle. [ [http://www.monitorulsv.ro/Local/2008-01-22/Unirea-Principatelor-marcata-la-Muzeul-de-Istorie "Unirea Principatelor marcată la Muzeul de Istorie"] ] Today it is found at the Suceava History Museum, part of the Bukovina Museum Complex.

Battle flag

Article 45 of the Paris Convention (1858) provided that “the armies of both countries will keep their present flags; but these flags will feature, in the future, a blue banderole, in conformity with the design attached to the present Convention”. [Năsturel, p. 253]

On 18 March 1863, the War Minister, General Ion Emanuel Florescu, asked Cuza to approve a design for army flags, agrred upon by the government in its session of 12 March. [Cernovodeanu, p. 147. See also '.] The flags featured the national tricolour (horizontal stripes, with red on top), over which was a Roman eagle with a cross in its beak. In a solemn order of the day on 19 March, Cuza decided: “Considering that the army, following the union, should have but one flag; keeping in mind that the true emblem of Romania can only the the Roman eagle, […] we have decreed and do decree what follows: the Roman eagle with cross in its mouth shall be placed, as the emblem of Romania, above the army’s flags […] ” [' published in "Monitorul Oastei", IV, 1863, nr. 14 of 22 March, p. 155.]

The resulting designs, distributed on 1 September 1863, differ somewhat from those legislated in March. This, the Roman eagle, wings outstretched, wearing the princely crown, carries the princely sceptre in its right talon and the sword in its left; on its breast appears an open shield topped by the princely crown. On the left of the shield, over azure and gold, is the Wallachian eagle (a cross in its beak, in left profile and wearing the princely crown); on the right, over red and azure, is the Moldavian aurochs with a star between its horns. Hanging from the sceptre and sword is a red ribbon with gold-embossed letters: “HONOR ET PATRIA” (“Honour and Fatherland”). [Cernovodeanu, p. 148 - 149.] In the fly corners the prince’s initial is stitched, surrounded by a laurel wreath; all are golden. Each flag also had inscribed the unit that bore it. [Velcu, p. 81.] The cloth part was 122 cm long and 100 cm wide. [Pălănceanu, p. 148.] A metal Roman eagle was affixed to the tip of the flagpole. [Cernovodeanu, p. 148.] Although the order of 19 March had the Moldavian symbol in the right, nevertheless the first on the shield is the Wallachian eagle. The design was most likely adopted due to customary usage that arose after Bucharest became the single capital in February 1862. [Cernovodeanu, p. 148, n. 40.]

These flags were distributed to the following units:

With the occasion of handing over the flags, Cuza delivered the following speech: [Distribuţia...]

cquote|Officers, subofficers, corporals, and soldiers, this day will be one of the most significant in our history. The old flags brought sad memories, as they flew over divided Nations. Today, you receive from Our hands the flag that unites the colours of the Sister-Nations, just as the unanimous will of Romanians has united on Our head the crowns of both Nations. Nevertheless, your flags were witnesses of events that seek to be preserved: they shall decorate the Romanian arsenal. Receiving these new flags, always remember that I entrust to you the honour of the Nation. The flag is Romania! this blessed earth of the Fatherland, sprinkled with the blood of our forefathers and endowed with the worker’s sweat. It is the family, the garden of each one, the house in which your parents were born and where your children will be born. The flag too is the symbol of the devotion, faith, order and discipline represented by the army! The flag is, at the same time, the past, present and future of the Nation: the entire history of Romania! In a word: the flag represents all the duties and all the military virtues encompassed in the two words carved into the Roman vultures, Honour and Fatherland!

Officers, junior officers, corporals, and soldiers, swear to keep your flags with honour and without stain, and thus will you match the trust and expectations that we have placed in the army along with the entire Nation! Swear to defend them in any circumstance as a sacred deposit that I entrust to your bravery and patriotism!

Long live Romania!

These flags were used until 1866 when, after Cuza’s abdication, they were changed. Four army flags of the 1863 design are preserved today. [Velcu, p. 81]

Romanian flags until 1918

Article 124 of the 1866 Constitution of Romania provided that “the colours of the United Principalities will be Blue, Yellow and Red”. ["", 1866, title VI, art. 124.] The order and placement of the colours were decided by the Assembly of Deputies in its session of 26 March 1867. Thus, following a proposal by Nicolae Golescu, they were placed just as in 1848. [Năsturel, p. 257] The commission’s work continued on 30 March as well; following an affirmative vote by the Senate, these wrapped up with the adoption, on 12/24 April 1867, of the “Law for fixing the arms of Romania”.

According to this, the flag’s colours had to be placed vertically in the following order: blue hoist, yellow in the middle and red fly. The country’s coat of arms was placed only on army and princely flags, in the centre; civilian flags remained without a coat of arms. [Velcu, p. 81] The same distinction was made between flags for the naval war fleet and the civilian fleet.

The rapporteur Mihail Kogălniceanu, who also conveyed the opinion of Cezar Bolliac, Dimitrie Brătianu, Constantin Grigorescu, Ion Leca, Nicolae Golescu and Gheorghe Grigore Cantacuzino, said: [Năsturel, p. 257.] “The tricolour flag as it is today is not (as the minister claims) the flag of the Union of the principalities. It is much more: it is itself the flag of the Romanian nation in all lands inhabited by Romanians”.

The “Law for modifying the country’s arms” of 11/23 March 1872 did not change these provisions, [Velcu, p. 81] only the design of the coat of arms. The design proposed by Ştefan Dimitrie Grecianu was adopted. [Cernovodeanu, p. 161]

Princely/royal standard

According to the laws of 1867 and 1872, the princely (later royal) standard was identical to that of the army, with the country’s coat of arms in the centre. [Moisil, p. 84.]

Nevertheless, when these were produced a slightly different design was adopted: the yellow stripe was twice as wide as the red and blue ones, and the canvas had a 1:1 ratio. Each corner of the flag had sewn into it a silver royal crown. The crown prince’s standard was identical except that it lacked the crowns in the corners. [Moisil, p. 84.]

An album dating to the end of the 19th century [Hendrik Jacobus Vinkhuijzen, [http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/id?416105 Collection of Military Uniforms] , 1881 - 1895] and the October 1917 "National Geographic Magazine" [National Geographic, XXXII, nr. 4 of October 1917, p. 358] show the flags as having stripe ratios of 1:3:1.

Battle flag

Right after Alexander John Cuza’s abdication, the military units’ battle flags were replaced with a new 1866 design; instead of the coat of arms, the name of the company appeared on the standards. However, the eagle at the edge of the flagpole was preserved. [Mănescu, p. 34] [Popescu, Căzănişteanu, p. 140.]

The flags distributed to the Civic Guard, re-established in March 1866, had a different design—the colours were vertical, in the centre was found the respective city’s coat of arms and not the national one, and the eagle at the end of the lance was larger and featured the shield of the United Principalities on its breast. [Mănescu, p. 34.] P. V. Năsturel classifies these as "1867 design flags" and describes them in detail: [Năsturel, p. 1047-1049.] the canvas was 114 cm long and 95 cm wide (so a 5:6 ratio) and in the centre was painted the respective city’s coat of arms, covered with a golden mural crown. In the corners, surrounded by laurel wreaths, the number of the legion was stitched in Roman numerals. Golden fringes surrounded the canvas, with tassels from the same fabric hanging at the corners. The eagle at the end of the flagpole had its wings facing downward, had the princely crown on its head and carried a sceptre in its right hand and a sword in its left; all were made of gold. A shield was carved into the eagle’s breast, with the Wallachian eagle in the first half and the Moldavian aurochs’ head in the second. Above the sword and sceptre a ribbon passed bearing the inscription “Honor et Patria”. On 11 September 1867, Prince Carol I solemnly handed over these flags to the Civic Guards. [Năsturel, p. 1049.]

In 1873 [Năsturel, p. 1368] it was decided that the 1866 design military flags would be replaced with the "1872 design", following the Law for the modification of the national coat of arms of 1872. [Velcu, p. 81] Design-wise, these fall into several generations.

"Flags produced in 1873" (24 flags and 10 standards), of which only one, the Firemen’s, survived in 1900, were square, 150 cm on each side. In its centre was painted, on a maroon background surrounded by a closed wreath of silver laurels, Romania’s middle coat of arms. The monogram of Prince Carol was in the corners, surrounded by a laurel crown, while the flagpole was topped by a metal eagle with the motto “Onóre şi Patria” as well as the unit’s number and name. [Popescu, Căzănişteanu, p. 140.] The cavalry flags had canvases of reduced dimensions (45 cm), while the decorative elements were embroided and not painted. All these insignia were distributed to the units on 14 October 1874, on the field at Băneasa. [Popescu, Căzănişteanu, p. 140.] [Pălănceanu, p. 149.]

"Flags produced between 1877 and 1882" differ slightly from the preceding ones. On 17 July 1877, just ten units created after 1874 received this design, at the Poiana army headquarters. On this occasion, Prince Carol addressed the following words to his troops: [Pălănceanu, p. 150.] “In giving you the corps’ flag, I entrust the honour of Romania, which I thus place under the shield of courage, to your devotion and self-denial. For the first time the solemn occasion arises where you receive the flag on the day before going onto the field of honour; seek to crown it with an undying glory. Never forget that the flag is the symbol of the fatherland…”

These two categories of flags were replaced with new ones in 1902, on the 25th anniversary of the Romanian War of Independence. [Popescu, Căzănişteanu, p. 140.]

Small details differentiate "flags produced between 1882 and 1897" from their predecessors. The canvas was square, 156 cm to a side; a ribbon of tricoloured thread ending in tassels was attached to the flagpole. The lions holding up the coat of arms had gold teeth and claws this time, while the coat of arms was no longer bordered in maroon. In the middle of the shield, the coat of arms of the House of Hohenzollern was surrounded by a gold border. [Năsturel, p. 1368 - 1369.]

These three generations were realised by the Romanian state at Berlin’s Collani et Comp house. In 1896, war minister Anton Berindei, observing that “the way in which [the flags] are woven and the materials used leave something to be desired, as their canvas gets cut and breaks”, addressed an order to General Ioan Argetoianu, president of the joint commission and inspector general of the military engineers: “I have the honour of asking you to take measures so that the commission over which you preside can make a detailed description of the flags and standards in existence, on the materials from which they must be produced, dimensions, etc. In the work to be done the law of 8 March 1872 […] which decided the national insignia and flag, will be kept in mind”. [Năsturel, p. 1370; he cites Order nr. 9179 of 17 December 1896.]

Thus, beginning with the "1897 design flags", the ratio was 2:3, the entire national coat of arms appeared in the centre (with modifications made after 1881), and the wreath that surrounded it was sometimes open.

Most of the flags belonging to divisions that took part in World War I were handed to them in 1902 or in 1908-1916, and were used until 1929 when they were transferred to the Military Museum. [Popescu, Căzănişteanu, p. 140.] These are similar to the "1897 design", although after King Carol died on 10 October 1914, King Ferdinand’s monogram began appearing in the corners. Their dimensions vary from 90 x 65 cm to 115 x 73 cm.

Along with the battle flag, through High decrees nr. 355 of February 1871 [Published in "Monitorul Oastei", XII, nr. 8 of February 1871, p. 195.] and nr. 1467 of 21 August 1873, [ Published in "Monitorul Oastei", XIV, nr. 27 of 21 September 1873, p. 637.] designs for stakes were defined for each infantry corps, as well as battalion pennants. The latter substituted for battle flags where necessary (each regiment had just a single flag), and were vertical tricolours, as provided by the 1867 and 1872 laws regarding Romania’s coats of arms.

A flag was also established for Romania’s Coast Guard. According to the October 1917 "National Geographic", [National Geographic, XXXII, nr. 4 of October 1917, p. 358] this was identical to the national flag, except that the yellow stripe featured a blue anchor and cable, above which was a silver royal crown.

Also in this period there appeared laws and regulations providing how the battle flag should be used, guarded and saluted. Thus, High decree nr. 1451 of 18 August 1873 [Published in "Monitorul Oastei", XIV, nr. 25 of 6 September 1873, p. 583.] specified that the flag should be carried by the regiment’s adjutant junior officer, aided by the flag-bearing officer. Likewise, the composition of the infantry’s flag guard was regulated. This was composed of five sergeants, of whom two in the first row, flanking the adjutant junior officer and having the assistant officer on the right, and three in the second row, behind the first. The “Regulation concerning infantry exercises and maneuvers” provided that during military maneuvers the flag (or pennant) should be in the centre of the second battalion if the regiment was composed of three battalions or in the centre of the first battalion if the regiment had only two. The flag-bearer, chosen by the colonel, was not integrated into any subdivision of the battalion. The same regulation listed in its index the honours due to the flag, as well as the manner of saluting with the flag, with the specification that this was reserved for the princely family. ["Transilvania, foaia ASTRA", p. 35 "ff."]

Romanian flags in Transylvania, Banat, Bukovina and Bessarabia

Transylvania, Banat, Bukovina and Bessarabia were provinces of the Austro-Hungarian and Russian empires with substantial Romanian populations. In 1918, the year they joined Romania, favourable conditions arose for the Romanians there to express openly their desire to unite with the “Motherland”.

In Bessarabia, the Moldavian Democratic Republic was created on 2 December 1917 and declared independence on 24 January 1918. In May 1917, the heraldist Paul Gore had written a Russian-language study, “The National Colours of the Romanians in Bessarabia”, which sought to demonstrate that Bessarabians should use the Romanian tricolour correctly: [Andrieş-Tabac, p. 94.] “A certain esteem for the national past and just a little courage are needed to defend your national legal rights. In no way do I insist that our national flag composed of three stripes coloured blue, yellow and red have these stripes arranged vertically. Let these stripes, in the order indicated, be horizontal. But the colours and their order we must preserve, especially because all three of these colours are also in the Coat of Arms of Bessarabia, which represents, if we eliminate the border made up of the Imperial colours, precisely the ancient coat of arms of the Moldavian Principality, and it is known that flags must be designed according to the exact rules of heraldry, according to the colours of the field and the emblems of the corresponding coats of arms”.

With this perspective in mind, the heraldist Silviu Andrieş-Tabac considers Gore the moral author of the flag of the Moldavian Democratic Republic. [Andrieş-Tabac, p. 94.] This was a blue-yellow-red tricolour with horizontal stripes and the coat of arms in the centre of the yellow field and the inscription “Republica Democratică Moldovenească şi Independentă” (“The Moldavian and Independent Democratic Republic”) in the centre of the blue field. The flag of Sfatul Ţării was similar, except that “Sfatul Ţării” was written on the blue field and the coat of arms, with larger dimensions, was placed in the middle, over yellow and red. [Andrieş-Tabac, p. 93.]

The republic’s battle flags were fashioned “several weeks before 6 December [1917] , when the parade of Moldavian troops from Bessarabia took place”. These were also tricolours; on one side was written the regiment’s number in silver thread, and on the other, stretching all across the flag, the letters “R M”. [Andrieş-Tabac, p. 94-95.]

In Transylvania, many Romanian flags were produced in anticipation of the Great National Assembly at Alba Iulia. These were horizontal blue-yellow-red tricolours, echoing the 1848 revolution. [Pălănceanu, p. 142.] The images on glass captured at the Assembly by photographer Samoilă Mârza show a massive throng above whom flutter numerous such flags, some of the canvases inscribed with a motto.

The National Museum of Romanian History holds three flags from Assembly participants and the coat of arms of a fourth, which belonged to the Alba Iulia national guard. The first tricolour has dimensions of 235 x 100 cm, and each of its stripes ends on the fly in a corner with the tip turned outside. The wooden flagpole is painted black. On second tricolour, 130 x 75 cm, just the yellow and red stripes survive, and both end in a corner with the tip on the outside. The third flag is woolen and 190 x 120 cm. Its coloured stripes all end in a sharp angle with the tip outside; to each one is sewn a tassel in the respective colour. A tricolour ribbon with a tassel on either end is attached to the flagpole. [Pălănceanu, p. 142-143.]

Flags of Greater Romania

After Greater Romania came into being, the tricolour remained the official flag, with stripes arranged vertically and without a coat of arms in the centre.

Royal standards

On 24 April 1922 new designs for royal standards were adopted. [ [http://flagspot.net/flags/ro-1872.html#roy22 Royal standards at fotw.net] ]

The king’s standard consisted of a red-maroon square flag, bordered by a yellow strip with blue triangles. There were thirteen blue triangles to a side, with an additional four in the corners. The country’s lesser coat of arms was found in the middle of the flag; beneath it was placed the cross of the Order of Michael the Brave. After ascending the throne in 1930, King Carol II stretched the cross to the edge of the standard, “as a symbol of heroic royalty”, and placed the lesser coat of arms above it. [Moisil, p. 84.] When his remains were returned to Romania in 2003, his coffin was draped in this standard.

The queen’s standard was similar to the king’s, but the cross was missing. The crown prince’s standard was dark blue, with a red border and yellow triangles; the lesser coat of arms was in the centre. The royal princes’ flag was similar but lacked a border. In 1940, when Queen Helen returned to Romania, a flag was designed for the queen mother. This was similar to the queen’s standard but also lacked a border.

Flags and standards of public officials

Contemporary vexilological albums (for instance the 1939 edition of "Flaggenbuch") [Flaggenbuch, 1939.] display a number of flags and standards of interwar Romanian public officials. The war minister’s flag was a tricolour square with the letter “M” in white found on the blue stripe. The other ministers had similar flags but without the “M”. The jack employed by Romanian vessels was a yellow square bordered red with the coat of arms in the centre. The ship captains’ standard was the national flag with a royal crown in the centre. Pilot boats’ standard consisted of a national flag bordered in white. The flag’s ratio was 3:6 and the thickness of the border 2; altogether, it had a 10:13 ratio. River police had as their standard a blue square with a white “P” in the centre. The standard of the postal division of the Romanian Maritime Service had a white field (ratio 4:5), with the fly ending in a sharp interior angle. A square national flag with the royal crown in the centre appeared in the canton. A blue cord hung from the tricolour, catching a golden postal horn.

Battle flags

Military flags were tricolours with the national coat of arms painted in the centre. In the corners were found the golden monograms of Kings Ferdinand I, Carol II (two designs) or Michael I, crowned and surrounded by a wreath of golden oak leaves. The flagpoles ended in a metal eagle with wings facing downward, crowned and carrying a cross in its beak.

Naval flags

Admirals’ flags (including vice- and rear admirals’), shown in the 1939 "Flaggenbuch", [Flaggenbuch, 1939.] were square Romanian tricolours. The Chief of the Naval General Staff had two white stars on the blue stripe of his flag and two crossed anchors; the three elements were one beneath the other. The vice admiral’s flag did not have the anchors, while the rear admiral’s standard had just one star on the blue stripe.

Naval captains and commanders had a longer red stripe on their standard, ending in an angle pointing inward; the ratio was about 11:13. Deputy commanders of ships had a tricoloured triangle for their emblem, in a 2:3 ratio.

Naval flags of World War II

Shortly before World War II, the flags of military vessels were changed. A specific design was adopted, the yellow portion taking the form of a cross with widened arms. The following models are shown in "Flaggenbuch", 1939: [Flaggenbuch, 1939.]

Flags of the Romanian People’s Republic

On 30 December 1947, Romania was proclaimed a people’s republic and all the kingdom’s symbols were outlawed, including the coats of arms and the tricolour flags that showed them. On 8 January 1948, Decree nr. 3 was issued, regarding specifications for the powers of the Presidium of the Romanian People’s Republic. [Decree published in "Monitorul Oficial", nr. 7 of 9 January 1948, p. 154.] At article 7, this provided that the republic’s new coat of arms should be “composed of: a tractor, a group of three chimneys against the field of a rising sun, surrounded by bound ears of wheat, tied by a ribbon with the inscription Republica Populară Română and the initials R. P. R. at the end of the ears”. Article 8 dealt with the national flag: “the colours of the Romanian People’s Republic are: blue, yellow and red, arranged vertically, and having in the centre of the yellow field the Coat of Arms of the Republic”.

According to article 101 of the 1948 Constitution, “The flag of the Romanian People’s Republic is composed of the colours: blue, yellow and red, arranged vertically. In the middle is placed the national coat of arms”. [, published în "Monitorul Oficial", part I, nr. 87 bis of 13 April 1948] The 1952 Constitution, at article 103, added a little detail: “The flag of the Romanian People’s Republic has the colours red, yellow and blue, arranged vertically with blue near the lance. In the middle is placed the coat of arms of the Romanian People’s Republic”. [, published in "Buletinul Oficial al Marii Adunări Naţionale a Republicii Populare Române", nr. 1 of 27 September 1952] Neither the colours’ shades nor the flag’s proportions were specified. According to provisions of the 1952 Constitution, a five-pointed red star appeared at the upper edge of the coat of arms (itself altered in March 1948), something that was also reflected on flags and official Romanian standards.

Battle flags; standards

On 28 July 1950 the Great National Assembly issued Decree nr. 189 for the establishment of the battle flag of the Armed Forces of the Romanian People’s Republic, as well as standards for the Military Air Force and the Naval Forces. [Decree published in "Buletinul Oficial", year II, nr. 66 of 2 August 1950, p. 763-767.] Article 2 defined the units’ battle flag as follows: “three silk stripes coloured red, yellow and blue, arranged vertically with blue situated near the flagpole. On the edges the flag has yellow metal fringes of wire, while the fly corners each have a tassel of the same wire. On the side oriented from the flagpole to the right, in the middle, is placed the coat of arms of the R. P. R. in natural colours. Above the coat of arms, on the same side, in an arched line, is written with letters of golden wire: ‘Pentru Patria noastră’ (‘For our Fatherland’). On the other side and in the middle of the flag, the emblem worn on the uniforms of officers of the Armed Forces of the R. P. R. is applied. Under the emblem is written straight, with letters of golden wire, the unit’s name. The flagpole ends in an ogive-shaped tip, within which is found a five-pointed star, in the centre of which are written the initials RPR”. The law’s annex also specified the dimensions of the flag (100 cm long by 60 cm wide), the coat of arms and the emblem (20 cm high), the fringes (5 cm long), the flagpole (250 cm long) and of the ogive (15 cm long by 7 cm wide).Article 3 described the Air Force standard: “it is made of sky-blue silk. The standard is rectangular, with each face having applied to it 18 red silk strips in the form of sunrays. On the edges, the standard has fringes and tassels the same as on the [battle] flag. In the middle of the face oriented from the flagpole to the right is affixed the coat of arms of the R. P. R., while in the middle of the other face is affixed the emblem worn on the uniforms of officers belonging to the Armed Forces of the R. P. R. The coat of arms of the R. P. R., the emblem and the inscriptions are identical to those of the [battle] flag”. The annex specified the dimensions of the standard and the decorative elements, which were identical to those of the battle flag. In the centre of the flag, a ray had an angle of 10˚. Also specified was the shade of blue to be used on the flag: “iron blue”.Article 4 described the Romanian Navy’s standard thus: “made of two pieces of white and blue silk, rectangular, laid horizontally, the blue one, beneath, having a width of 20 cm, while the white one, above, having a width of 40 cm. The coat of arms of the R. P. R. is applied to the middle of the white surface on the face oriented from the flagpole to the right, while on the other face, also in the middle of the while surface, the emblem worn on the uniforms of officers belonging to the Armed Forces of the R. P. R. is applied. The coat of arms, the emblem, the inscriptions, the fringes and the tassels are the same as those of the [battle] flag”. The annex specified the flag’s dimensions (also 100 x 60 cm) and those of the coat of arms (also 20 cm high), as well as its distance to the edges of the white strip (11 cm above and 9 cm below). The words “Pentru Patria noastră” (“For our Fatherland”) were3 found on the white strip above the coat of arms, while “Republica Populară Română” and the unit’s name were placed in the middle of the blue strip.

Decree nr. 190 of 1950, published in the same issue of "Buletinul Oficial", ["Buletinul Oficial", year II, nr. 66 of 2 August 1950, p. 768-769.] established the design of Army soldiers’, officers’ and generals’ emblems. The officers’ emblem was a five-pointed, red-enamelled star 34 cm in diameter. In the centre were two circles: the first, with a radius of 15 cm, was enamelled yellow and touched the star’s interior angles, while the second, which had a radius of 11 cm, was enamelled blue and in the centre had the golden initials “R. P. R.”

The following year, Decree nr. 124 of 20 July 1951 for the modification of art. 4 of Decree nr. 189 altered the Navy’s standard. [Decree published in "Buletinul Oficial", year III, nr. 82 of 28 July 1951.] The new regulation provided for three separate insignia: the flag of Navy land units, the flag of Navy ships and the flag of Coast Guard ships.

The Navy’s land units had as their flag “two pieces of silk, coloured white and blue, rectangular in shape, laid horizontally, the blue piece below, and the white one above. In the middle of the white area facing from the flagpole to the right is affixed the coat of arms of the Romanian People’s Republic, in natural colours, while on the other side, also in the middle of the white area, is affixed the symbol worn on the uniforms of officers belonging to the Armed Forces of the Romanian People’s Republic. The coat of arms, emblem, inscriptions, fringes and tassels are the same as those of the [battle] flag described in article 2 [of Decree nr. 189 of 1950] ”. According to this decree’s annex, the flag’s dimensions were 100 x 60 cm, the blue strip being 20 cm wide and the white 40 cm, the coat of arms was 20 cm high and it was 11 cm away from the top edge of the white strip and 9 cm away from the bottom.

Navy ships had a standard consisting of a “piece of ordinary rectangular canvas, with the colours white and blue printed on either side, in two stripes laid horizontally, the blue one below. The coat of arms of the Romanian People’s Republic, in natural colours, is affixed to the middle of the white area on both sides. The standard does not have fringes or tassels [and] is supplied with cords and a mechanism for raising it on the stern beam or the mast”. The standard for Coast Guard ships was different from that of Navy ships only in the colour of the lower stripe—Coast Guard green. The law’s annex described proportions for the standards’ various elements; the actual dimensions were to be fixed by the Armed Forces Ministry and the Interior Ministry depending on the ship’s size and the place where the standard was raised. Thus, the flag was 0.6 times as wide as it was long, being divided thus: Fraction|1|3 coloured stripe and Fraction|2|3 white stripe. The coat of arms was to be Fraction|1|3 the height of the flag’s width, being placed Fraction|1|6 of this width away from the edges of the white stripe.

Between 1953 and 1964, due to a spelling reform, the country’s name was written on flags as "Romînia" and not "România".

Decree nr. 93 of 17 April 1954 for the modification of art. 4 of Decree nr. 189 [Decree published in "Buletinul Oficial", nr. 18 of 17 April 1954.] established new vexillological devices: the standard of auxiliary Navy ships (the previous standard continuing in use only for battleships) and pennants for Navy battleships, auxiliary Navy ships and Coast Guard vessels.

The standard of auxiliary Navy ships was made of an “ordinary canvas, rectangular and blue. In the upper corner on the side where it attaches to the cord, it has imprinted on both sides the colours white and light blue, in two horizontal stripes, the white one above. To the middle of the white area, on both sides, is affixed the coat of arms of the Romanian People’s Republic, in natural colours”. This standard’s proportions were indicated in the annex. It was 0.6 times as wide as it was long: the upper left part of the standard was similar in proportion to the basic elements of the battleship standard, while its dimensions were 0.5 of the flag’s length and 0.3 of its width.

Navy and Coast Guard vessels had a masthead pennant made of an “ordinary rectangular canvas, red for Navy battleships, blue for auxiliary Navy ships and green for Coast Guard ships [the width is 0.6 of the length] . At the edge near the cord, the colours white and light blue are imprinted on both sides, in two horizontal stripes, for Navy ships and white and light green on Coast Guard ships [in proportions of Fraction|2|3 and Fraction|1|3 respectively; this area’s length is 0.075 that of the pennant’s length] . In both cases white shall be above. The coat of arms of the Romanian People’s Republic, in natural colours is affixed to the middle of the white area on both sides [with a height Fraction|1|3 of the pennant’s width and located Fraction|1|4 and Fraction|1|6 of this width away from the edges of the white area] . At the other end, the pennant is cut in the form of a sharp angle pointing inward [the cut was 1.2 times as deep as the length of the white and coloured area near the cord] . The ships’ pennany is provided with a cord and a mechanism for being raised on a tall mast”. The proportions of the pennant’s component elements were indicated in the annex, with the actual dimensions remaining to be decided by the Armed Forces Ministry and the Interior Ministry.

Flags of the Socialist Republic of Romania

The Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Romania, adopted in 1965, provided the following in article 118: “The flag of the Socialist Republic of Romania has the colours red, yellow and blue, arranged vertically, with blue near the flagpole. The coat of arms of the Socialist Republic of Romania is affixed to the middle”. [, published in "Buletinul Oficial al R.S.R.", nr. 1 of 21 August 1965]

Decree nr. 972 of 5 November 1968 regarding the insignia of the Socialist Republic of Romania (RSR) [Decree published in "Buletinul Oficial al R.S.R.", nr. 141 of 5 November 1968.] described in detail the coat of arms, seal, flag and state anthem of the republic. The attached commentary noted that, in the absence of corresponding regulations, “there have appeared mistaken interpretations of these [constitutional specifications] , incorrect or diverging usages of the state insignia”. Chapter IV of the decree is entirely devoted to describing the flag and the protocol for its use. Thus, the flag is defined as having a ratio of 2:3, with the coloured stripes of equal dimensions. The regular colours were printed in the annex and not expressly named. The coar of arms was placed in the centre; its height was Fraction|2|5 the flag’s width. As before, it was provided that the flag’s proportions could differ for ornamental purposes, but the coat of arms must always be in the centre, vertical. Articles 13-21 specifically and exhaustively covered flag protocol, describing where it was to be raised permanently and temporarily (art. 13), the protocol for raising it outside the country’s borders (art. 14) and during demonstrations by socialist organisations (art. 15), the conditions for lowering it to half-staff (art. 16, 17 and 18, with art. 20 describing exceptions to the rule), the conditions and manner for draping caskets with the flag (art. 19), as well as the place of the Romanian flag in case it flew besides one or more foreign flags (art. 21).

Flags of the President, Prime Minister and Minister of the Armed Forces

The President of the RSR (until 1974 the President of the Coucil of State) and the prime minister had their own standard, a square Romanian tricolour with a white edge and a red border beyond that; the RSR’s coat of arms was in the centre, Fraction|2|3 the height of the tricolour’s width. The standard was decorated with fringes of golden thread and tassels of the same material. The flag of the Minister of the Armed Forces of the RSR consisted of a white pennant in a 1:2 ratio. The flag of the RSR was placed in the canton, while two red five-pointed stars occupied the fly.

Battle flags and standards

Battle flags and standards adopted during the Romanian People’s Republic were modified or completely changed by Decree nr. 106 of 24 December 1966 regarding regulations for granting the battle flag of units and large units from all military branches, modifying the display protocol for standards and pennants of navy and Coast Guard ships, establishing a distinctive emblem and commanders’ emblems for navy and Coast Guard vessels, a jack for navy ships and a distinctive standard for Coast Guard ships. [Decree published in "Buletinul Oficial", nr. 82 of 24 December 1966.]

In the attached commentary, it was mentioned that the previous regulations were no longer valid, primarily because:

battle flags of naval land units no longer featured the national flag colours, but only white and blue;standards and banners of navy and Coast Cuard ships no longer featured the national flag colours and thus—even at close distances—Romanian ships could be confused with those of other nations;the air force flag was no longer necessary, as it did not correspond to the new organisation of the military’s aviation branch.

Article 2 of the decree provided that “the [battle] flag is granted by the Council of State of the Romanian Socialist Republic to units and large units from all military branches from the Armed Forces Ministry, as well as to units from the Internal Affairs Ministry, at their founding. The flag is granted, depending on the case, at the initiative of the armed forces minister or the internal affairs minister. The granting of the flag is done in the name of the Council of State of the Romanian Socialist Republic by a representative of the armed forces, respectively of the internal affairs minister”. The first clause of this article was modified thus by Decree nr. 150 of 19 June 1974 regarding the modification of certain laws and decrees: [Decree published in "Buletinul Oficial" nr. 83 of 19 June 1974.] “the flag is granted by presidential decree to units and large units of all military branches from the Armed Forces Ministry, as well as to units from the Internal Affairs Ministry, at their founding”.

Standards of navy and Coast Guard vessels consisted of the battle flag of the respective units.

The pennant was the device that indicated a ship was armed and commanded by a navy officer. It consisted of an “ordinary canvas, in the shape of an isosceles triangle, with the base toward the attaching mechanism and with the flag colours and coat of arms of the Romanian Socialist Republic printed on both sides”.

The jack was “an ordinary square canvas, having printed on both sides the flag colours and coat of arms of the Romanian Socialist Republic. Two crossed white anchors of the same size as the coat of arms are affixed to the blue area”.

The distinctive standard of Coast Guard vessels consisted of “an ordinary white rectangular canvas, with the half near the attaching mechanism green, upon which is affixed a white anchor”.The dimensions of these insignia, as well as their manner of use, were left to the Armed Forces Ministry to decide by regulation.

Decree nr. 90 of 27 April 1977 regarding the establishment of a battle flag for patriotic guards and the regulation of its granting [Decree published in "Buletinul Oficial" nr. 36 of 27 April 1977.] created a special symbol for units of the Patriotic Guards. This was similar to battle flags of military units, with the exception of the inscription on the flag’s reverse side—“Gărzile patriotice”—in an arched line above the coat of arms, and the administrative unit in which the formation was located (the municipality or county), in a straight line beneath the coat of arms. Its dimensions were indicated in the annex: the canvas was 100 cm long and 66 cm wide, the text was 6 cm high, the fringes 5 cm long, the flagpole 240 cm long and 4 cm wide, while the ogive at the end of the flagpole was 15 cm high. According to the Decree, the flag was granted to a unit by commanders of county-level or Bucharest-level Patriotic Guards, or by representatives of the General Staff of the Patriotic Guards from the Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party, following a presidential decree for this purpose. Patriotic Guards that distinguished themselves in training execrises for national defence and that comprised at least 2000 fighters were eligible to receive flags.

Vessel flags

Decree nr. 1016 of 1966 created a legal framework for the establishment of distinctive vessel flags and commanders’ flags, which were raised on navy and Coast Guard ships, in accordance with the services’ sailing regulations.

A distinctive flag was raised when “the general secretary of the Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party, the president of the Council of State of the Romanian Socialist Republic or the president of the Council of Ministers of the Romanian Socialist Republic [was] on an official visit” aboard ship.

The commanders’ flag was flown in similar situations for: “the minister of the armed forces of the Romanian Socialist Republic, the commander of the navy, the commander of a large unit of ships of the commander of a group of ships temporarily constituted”.

The form, colours and dimensions of the flags remained to be fixed by regulation.

Flag of the Romanian Revolution of 1989

Starting on 17 December 1989, during the revolution at Timişoara, the coat of arms of the Romanian Socialist Republic began to be removed from flags, being viewed as a symbol of Nicolae Ceauşescu’s dictatorial regime. Most often, this was accomplished by cutting or ripping out the middle of the yellow stripe, giving rise to the term “the flag with the hole”.

Decree-Law nr. 2 of 27 December 1989 regarding the membership, organisation and functioning of the Council of the National Salvation Front and of the territorial councils of the National Salvation Front [Decree-Law published in "Monitorul Oficial" nr. 4 of 27 December 1989.] provided at article 1, among other matters, that “the national flag is the traditional tricolour of Romania, with the colours laid out vertically, in the following order, starting from the flagpole: blue, yellow, red”.

torage, restoration and conservation of old flags

In the 19th century, after a modern army was established in the two Danubian Principalities, old military and princely flags were deposited at the Army Arsenal. In 1919 these were all transferred to the National Military Museum. Flags that witnessed the Romanian War of Independence were replaced in 1902 and kept until 1928-29 in the throne room of the Royal Palace, after which they entered the Military Museum’s collection. In 1971 a significant number of old flags was given to the National History Museum.

In 1966, there were 1075 Romanian and foreign flags at the Central Military Museum, of which 949 were original, including the flagpole, top decoration and canvas, 42 were copies and reconstructions, and for 84, just the flagpole and decoration remained. Together with other categories of flags, standards, ship flags, pennants, sashes and ties, the collection reached 1248 items. [Popescu, Căzănişteanu, 136.] By the mid-2000s, the museum’s flag and standard collection counted 10,826 objects. [ [http://www.muzeulmilitar.ro/colectii/44.html Muzeul Militar Naţional] ]

A majority of Romania’s older flags have a field that is either deteriorated (some are missing almost entirely) or slashed by bullets or swords. [Pălănceanu, p. 150.]

Museum experts have taken steps to preserve flags, including: introducing and stitching a double tulle into the majority of flags (starting in the 1930s), washing certain dust-covered flags using special methods, placing dark protective covers over the flags to shield the fabric from light, replacing seriously deteriorated exemplars with copies, photographing flags in order to avoid repeated manipulation, and climate-controlling storage areas and exhibit halls. [Popescu, Căzănişteanu, p. 141, n. 42.] Certain flags are also subject to restoration work.

Acts of heroism under the flag

During the Romanian War of Independence, Romanian troops were inspired to bravery by their flag’s presence. [Popescu, Căzănişteanu, p. 140.] During an attack on 30 August 1877, Captain Nicolae Valter Mărăcineanu fell in action while inserting the 8th line Regiment’s flag into the parapet of the Griviţa redoubt. Troops from the 3rd cavalry Regiment were among the first to enter Pleven, wading through the Vit with the flag before them. [Popescu, Căzănişteanu, p. 140.]

Following these acts of bravery, the battle flags were decorated in a solemn ceremony on 8 October 1878. Units that participated in the Siege of Griviţa (6th line infantry Regiment, "dorobanţi" Regiments 6, 10, 13 and 14), that fought at Pleven (6th line infantry Regiment, "dorobanţi" Regiments 6 and 14, "vânători" Battalions 2 and 4, cavalry Regiments 3 and 7), and Smârdan and Vidin (6th line infantry Regiment, 3rd artillery Regiment) received the Danube Crossing Cross ("Crucea Trecerii Dunării"). The 13th "dorobanţi" Regiment also received the Order of the Star of Romania, along with three other regiments, while "vânători" Battalion 2 received the Great Cross of the Order of the Star of Romania. Among the others decorated were the 9th "dorobanţi" Regiment and the 4th and 6th line infantry Regiments. Moreover, on 23 September 1879 in Galaţi, the flag of the 6th line infantry Regiment received the Military Bravery medal from Prince Milan IV of Serbia. [Pălănceanu, p. 151.] [Popescu, Căzănişteanu, p. 140.]

World War I also saw sacrifices in defence of the battle flag, as a symbol of the duty to defend the nation’s land and military honour. In October 1916, the flag guard of Neagoe Basarab infantry Regiment 83 met a cavalry patrol of the German Army. Although one of his arms was sliced off, the regimental flag-bearer stood his ground until his comrades jumped to his defence and saved the flag. A month later, the Dolj infantry Regiment 1 found itself in dire circumstances, deciding to bury the flag in a peasant’s yard in Izbiceni. It was recovered in autumn 1918 after the occupying foreign armies had been driven out. Coast Guard Regiment 1 also faced difficulty in fighting at the Olt Defile. Then, the unit commander decided to bury the eagle from atop the flag, while the canvas was wrapped around the body of a troop who snuck through the confusion. The flag was placed back on a pole in Moldavia and took part in the 1917 campaigns. At the end of the war, it was decorated with the Order of Michael the Brave, the Commemorative Cross of the War of 1916-1918 and the Victoria medal. [Popescu, Căzănişteanu, p. 141.]

Many other battle flags were decorated at war’s end. To name but a few examples, heavy artillery Regiment 1 received the Order of the Star of Romania (rank of knight with swords) and the ribbon of Military Virtue. Heavy artillery Regiment 4 was decorated with the Order of the Star of Romania and the Commemorative Cross of the War of 1916-1918. The Mircea Regiment 32 received the Order of Michael the Brave. [Popescu, Căzănişteanu, p. 141.] Infantry Regiment 70, “giving proof of the noblest spirit of sacrifice and a powerful patriotism”, received the Order of Michael the Brave Class III and the Commemorative Cross 1916-1918. [Pălănceanu, p. 152.]

During World War II, units’ flags that appeared in battle were also decorated. In action on the Western Front, ant-aircraft artillery Regiment 6 and "vânători" Regiment 2 were decorated with the Order of Aeronautic Virtue with swords. Among the units that received the Order of Michael the Brave with swords were cavalry Regiment 2, which distinguished itself in battles on the Someş and Mureş rivers and in Czechoslovakia, infantry Regiment 96, which broke through the Tisza and liberated Budapest, Regiments 18 artillery and 34 infantry, and Battalions 7 and 8 "vânători de munte". [Popescu, Căzănişteanu, p. 141.]

Current flags of Romania

Flags of the President and Prime Minister

The publication “Album des pavillons nationaux et des marques distinctives” (2000) [Album des pavillons..., 2000.] indicates that the flag of the President of Romania is a square tricolour with a white edge and a blue border. It is decorated on all sides with fringes of golden thread and, in the corners, tassels of the same material. The flag of the Prime Minister is similar to the President’s, except that its border is yellow and it lacks fringes and tassels.

Flags of public officials

The 1990 edition of the Album [Album des pavillions, 1990.] shows the ministers’ flag as a white 1:2 canvas with the Romanian flag in the canton. The 2000 edition shows the flag of the Minister of National Defence, almost identical to its interwar predecessor. Pilot boats’ standards are also identical to the interwar design.

Battle flag and standards

According to the Romanian General Staff, “The battle flag is the symbol of military honour, bravery and glory. It evokes the past fights of the Romanian people for national liberty and the traditions of unity, reminding each soldier of his sacred duty to serve the fatherland with trust, and to defend at all costs the unity, sovereignty and independence of Romania”.

The battle flag is granted to military units by presidential decree, on the advice of the Minister of National Defence, the Minister of the Interior or the director of the SRI. According to the Ministry of National Defence, the complete description of this military insignia is as follows: [ [http://www.mapn.ro/traditii/drapellupta1.htm Drapelul de luptă] ]

The battle flags of Romania are made of double sheets of silk and have dimensions of 100 x 66 cm (2:3 ratio). The canvas has the colours of the Romanian flag and is decorated the same way on the obverse and the reverse. The national coat of arms is applied to the centre of the yellow stripe, 18 cm above its base, with dimensions of 29 x 21.5 cm. In each corner, 5 cm from the edge of the canvas, a wreath of oak leaves is found, which surrounds the symbol of the category of the armed forces to which the unit belongs, all of gold:
* two crossed swords for land forces
* a helicopter blade juxtaposed over a pair of wings in downward flight, a radar and a crossed rocket and telescope for aerial forces
* an anchor for naval forces.

The three sides of the flag not attached to the pole are decorated with fringes of golden thread (5-7 cm long) and tassels of the same material (10-12 cm long) hang from the corners of the fly. The flag is attached to the pole by an antioxidant metal rod 70 cm long.

The pole, of brown wood, is 240 cm high and 3.5 cm in diameter. A brass cylinder is at the base, 4 cm long and closed on the bottom. The rod is attached to the pole by a brass ring, gilt on its lower part, and a 6-cm high cylindrical protective tube of the same material and gilt on its upper part. The ring (3.2 cm high) is inscribed with the name of the unit. Another brass cylinder is placed on the tip of the pole, 6 cm long and of brass. The eagle, of gilt copper, sheet, 15 cm high and 11.5 cm wide, is placed over this. Looking rightward, the eagle’s wings are pointed downward and it holds the thunderbolts of Jupiter in its talons. It is placed on a parallelepipedic support of the same metal (10 x 3.5 x 2 cm), which has a 3.4-cm high ornament on its lower part. The support is screwed onto the brass cylinder and has inscribed into the front the motto “Onoare şi Patrie” (“Honour and Fatherland”). The name of the respective unit is engraved into the reverse.

Other features of the battle flag are a tie for attaching decorations, six sashes for the troops in the flag’s guard and a protective cover of impermeable fabric.

The battle flag of navy vessels is identical to their standard. The standard is in turn identical to the national flag, being made of ordinary canvas in various dimensions, according to the ship’s rank.

Between 1995 and 1998, the Romanian jack was similar to navy vessels’ flags. Afterwards, it was replaced with a 1:1 national flag with two crossed white anchors in the centre of the blue stripe.

The standard of the Chief of the General Staff is a square Romanian tricolour with four white stars, one beneath the other, in the centre of the blue stripe.

The ships’ pennant is a horizontal piece of canvas in the shape of an isosceles triangle, with a 1:10 ratio, on which is found the national tricolour.

At the beginning of the 2000s, four identifying flags were selected for the armed forces: [ [http://www.mapn.ro/fotodb/060406_steaguri Flags of the Armed Forces at mapn.ro] ]

The flag of the General Staff is light yellow. One side shows the coat of arms of the General Staff and four gold stars, with the symbols of the General Staff and the ground, sea and air forces in the corners. On the reverse are the Prophet Elijah, the Virgin Mary and Saint George.

The flag of the General Staff of the Land Forces (SMFT) is red. One side shows the coat of arms of the SMFT, four gold stars, and the symbol of the SMFT in the corners. The reverse depicts Saint George.

The flag of the General Staff of the Air Force (SMFA) is light blue. One side shows the coat of arms of the SMFA, four gold stars, and the symbol of the SMFA in the corners. The reverse depicts the Prophet Elijah.

The flag of the General Staff of the Naval Forces (SMFN) is sea blue. One side shows the coat of arms of the SMFN, four gold stars, and the symbol of the SMFN in the corners. The reverse depicts the Virgin Mary.

Vessel flags

The Album (2000) also depicts the flags of navy vessels. The flags indicate that a commanding or leadership officer is present on board. They are in the form of a light blue 2:3 canvas, on which are found an anchor, the Romanian flag in the canton and a number of five-pointed stars, according to rank. The flag of a navy unit commander is an exception: this lacks stars and is triangular.

Flag protocol

Law nr. 75/1994 establishes the protocol for the flag of Romania. [Law published in "Monitorul Oficial" nr. 237 of 26 August 1994.] Protocol for military flags and standards is fixed by internal regulation. The law contains the following provisions:

The flag of Romania must always be raised on the buildings and in the headquarters of public authorities and institutions, at the headquarters of political parties, unions, educational and cultural institutions, border crossings and international airports. As a standard, it is permanently raised on ships of any kind and other vessels that navigate under the Romanian flag. According to customary protocol, the flag of Romania is raised at the headquarters of diplomatic missions and consular offices of the Romanian state abroad, as well as at the residences of the chiefs of diplomatic missions and consular offices. Likewise, the flag of Romania is raised as a pennant on vehicles transporting chiefs of Romanian diplomatic missions and consular offices, in their official travels, according to the same customs.

Temporarily, the flag of Romania may be raised on the national day of Romania and other national holidays, in public places decided upon by the local authorities; and for official festivals and ceremonies with a local, national and international character, in the locations where these take place. Likewise, it must be raised for official visits undertaken in Romania by heads of state and of government, as well as by high political personalities representing the principal international intergovernmental bodies, at airports, rail stations, ports and on their various routes. The flag is also raised at sporting competitions, at stadiums and other sporting grounds, and during election campaigns, at the headquarters of electoral commissions and polling stations. During military ceremonies, the flag is raised according to military regulations.

The flag of Romania may be raised without restrictions by individuals at their domicile or residence, or by legal entities at their headquarters.

The Government is the only official body that fixes days of national mourning, on which the flag of Romania is raised at half-staff.

The flags of other states may be raised on Romanian territory only together with the national flag and only on the occasion of visits with an official state character, international festivities and meetings, on official buildings and in public places specified in Law nr. 75/1994. In such cases, the flag of Romania occupies the place of honour, that is in the centre, if the number of flags is odd, or to the right of the flag with which it occupies the centre if the number of flags is even. In such cases, all flags must have the same dimensions (but not proportions, which are fixed by each respective country).

The flag of the European Union is raised next to the flag of Romania, to the left of the latter.

The raising of the flag of Romania at events that take place under the aegis of international organisations is done according to international regulations and customs.

The battle flag is removed from its display case for the solemn occasion of its presentation, at the ceremony for taking the military oath, at parades of troops and reviews on the front, at the giving or taking of command by the respective unit, at the granting of military honours during military funerals, or on other occasions if required. [ [http://www.mapn.ro/traditii/drapellupta1.htm Drapelul de luptă] ]

The standard of a vessel must be raised daily on the stern flagpole at 8 am, and on holidays at 9 am. If the vessel is in motion, the standard remains raised permanently where the boom meets the mast. In general, the hoisting of a vessel’s standard takes place in the presence of the entire crew, which is not the case at the lowering, daily at sunset. [ [http://www.mapn.ro/traditii/drapellupta1.htm Drapelul de luptă] ]

Flag Day

Law nr. 96 of 20 May 1998 [Law published in "Monitorul Oficial" nr. 190 of 22 May 1998.] proclaimed 26 June as the Day of the National Flag of Romania. It was on this day in 1848 that Decree nr. 1 of the Wallachian Provisional Government was issued, making the red-yellow-blue tricolour the national flag.

On Flag Day, public authorities and other state institutions are obliged by law to organise cultural/educational programmes and events, with a patriotic or scientific character, devoted to Romanian history, as well as specific military ceremonies, organised within units of the Ministry of National Defence and the Ministry of the Interior.



Laws, decrees, decisions and regulations

*, in "Monitorul. Jurnal oficial al Principatelor Unite Române", nr. 171 of 2 September 1863.
* published in "Monitorul Oficial al României", nr. 57 of 11/23 March 1872.
*Decretul nr. 3 privind fixarea atribuţiunilor Prezidiumului Republicii Populare Române, published in "Monitorul Oficial, nr. 7 of 9 January 1948, p. 154.
*Decretul nr. 189 pentru înfiinţarea drapelului de luptă al Forţelor Armate ale Republicii Populare Române, precum şi a pavilioanelor Forţelor Aeriene Militare şi Marinei Militare, published in "Buletinul Oficial", year II, nr. 66 of 2 August 1950.
*Decretul nr. 124 pentru modificarea art. 4 din Decretul nr. 189 privind înfiinţarea drapelului de luptă al Forţelor Armate ale Republicii Populare Române, precum şi a pavilioanelor Forţelor Aeriene Militare şi Marinei Militare, published in "Buletinul Oficial", year III, nr. 82 of 28 July 1951.
*Decretul nr. 93 pentru modificarea art. 4 din Decretul nr. 189 privind înfiinţarea drapelului de luptă al Forţelor Armate ale Republicii Populare Române, precum şi a pavilioanelor Forţelor Aeriene Militare şi Marinei Militare, published in "Buletinul Oficial", nr. 18 of 17 April 1954.
* [http://www.cdep.ro/pls/legis/legis_pck.htp_act_text?idt=9222 Decretul nr. 1016 privind reglementarea acordării drapelului de luptă al unităţilor şi marilor unităţi de toate armele, modificarea înfăţişării pavilioanelor şi flamurilor navelor marinei militare şi navelor grănicereşti, înfiinţarea mărcii distinctive şi mărcilor de comandament la navele marinei militare şi navele grănicereşti, a geacului pentru navele marinei militare şi a pavilionului distinctiv pentru navele grănicereşti] , published in "Buletinul Oficial", nr. 82 of 24 December 1966.
*Decretul nr. 972 privind însemnele Republicii Socialiste România, published in "Buletinul Oficial", nr. 141 of 5 November 1968.
*Decretul nr. 90 privind instituirea drapelului de luptă al gărzilor patriotice şi reglementarea acordării acestuia, published in "Buletinul Oficial", nr. 36 of 27 April 1977.
* [http://www.pndro.ro/pdf/1989.pdf Decret-Lege nr. 2/1989 privind constituirea, organizarea şi funcţionarea Consiliului Frontului Salvării Naţionale şi a consiliilor teritoriale ale Frontului Salvării Naţionale] , published in "Monitorul Oficial" nr. 4 of 27 December 1989.
* [http://www.presidency.ro/static/ordine/Lg.75_1994.pdf Legea nr. 75/1994 privind arborarea drapelului României, intonarea imnului naţional şi folosirea sigiliilor cu stema României de către autorităţile şi instiţutiile publice] , published in "Monitorul Oficial" nr. 237 of 26 August 1994.
* [http://www.cdep.ro/pls/legis/legis_pck.htp_act_text?idt=17713 Legea nr. 96/1998 privind proclamarea Zilei Drapelului Naţional] , in "Monitorul Oficial" nr. 190 of 22 May 1998.
*"Regulamentul asupra exerciţiului şi manevrelor de infanterie", in "Transilvania, foaia ASTRA", VII, 1874.

Other works

* Andrieş-Tabac, Silviu, "Heraldica teritorială a Basarabiei şi Transnistriei", Ed. Museum, Chişinău, 1998.
* Bunea, Aurelia, "Steagul poporului român din Transilvania în revoluţia din anii 1848-1849", in "Anuarul Institutului de Istorie", Cluj, nr. 12 / 1969.
* Căzănişteanu, Constantin, "Trei culori cunosc pe lume..." in "Magazin istoric", nr. 8/1967.
* Cernovodeanu, Dan, "Ştiinţa şi arta heraldică în România", Ed. Ştiinţifică şi Enciclopedică, Bucharest, 1977.
* Dogaru, Maria, "Tricolorul şi cocardele în contextul luptei revoluţionarilor paşoptişti", in "Revista de istorie" nr. 5 of 31 May 1978 (extract).
* Fabretto, Mario, [http://www.fotw.net/flags/ro-wm.html "Wallachia and Moldavia, 1859-61"] at fotw.net
* Mănescu, Jean Nicholas, "Acvila României, simbol heraldic al statului unitar modern", in "Magazin istoric", nr. 4 of April 1991.
* Mihalache, Marin, "Cuza Vodă", Ed. Tineretului, 1967.
* Moisil, Constantin, [http://www.biblioteca.ase.ro/downres.php?cvc=876 "Însemnele regalităţii române"] , in Enciclopedia României, vol. I, 1938.
* Năsturel, Petre Vasiliu, "Steagul şi stema României. Perioada convenţională", in "Albina", year IV, 1900/1901, nr. 10; nr. 38; nr. 151.
* Pălănceanu, Elena, "Steaguri din colecţia Muzeului de Istorie al Republicii Socialiste România", in "Muzeul Naţional", vol. I, 1974.
* Pălănceanu, Elena and Apostol, Cornelia, [http://www.cimec.ro/scripts/PCN/Clasate/detaliu.asp?k=0CE3E200A80C460B9E8E97BDA9950189 "Steag domnesc din timpul lui Alexandru Ioan Cuza"] , description of flag with inventory nr. 75045 in the collections of the National Museum of Romanian History.
* Popescu, Elena and Căzănişteanu, Constantin, "Piese din colecţia de drapele a Muzeului Militar Central", in "Revista Muzeelor", year III, nr. 2 / 1966.
* Roşian, Adrian, [http://www.actrus.ro/biblioteca/almamater/1_2006/a2.pdf "O istorie a drapelului României"] , in "Alma Mater Militaris", year VII, nr. 1 (13) / 2006.
* Vasile, Alexandru, "Drapelul este istoria întreagă a României" in "Lupta întregului popor", nr. 1 (3) of 1985.
* Velcu, Anton, [http://www.biblioteca.ase.ro/downres.php?cvc=875 "Steagurile României"] in "Enciclopedia României", vol. I, 1938.

Vexilological albums

* Ottfried Neubecker, "Flaggenbuch. Bearbeitet und herausgegeben vom Oberkommando der Kriegsmarine. Abgesclossen am 1. December 1939", Druck und Verlag der Reichsdruckerei, Berlin, 1939. 2nd edition of 1992, with corrections and additions.
* Pierre, "Album des pavillons nationaux et des marques distinctives des états et des principales organisations internationales", Service Hydrographique et Océanographique de la Marine, Brest, 1990, ISBN 978-2-11-080563-8.
* Armand du Payrat, Daniel Roudaut, "Album des pavillons nationaux et des marques distinctives", Service Hydrographique et Océanographique de la Marine, Brest, 2000, ISBN 978-2-11-088247-9.

Further reading

* Năsturel, Petre Vasiliu, "Steagul, stema română, însemnele domneşti, trofee", Bucharest, 1903.
* Potoschi, A. and Velcu, A., "Catalogul colecţiilor de steaguri, stindarde şi fanioane", manuscript, Biblioteca Muzeului Militar Central.
* Sbierea, I. G., "Ceva despre tricolorul român", în „Calendarul Minervei pe anul 1905”, Bucharest, 1905.
* Rosetti, Radu R., "Când s-a adoptat steagul tricolor la noi", in "Memoriile secţiunii istorice", seria a III-a, vol. XI, 1930.

ee also

*List of flags of Romania
*Coat of arms of Romania
*Romanian heraldry

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