Nov 30, 2013


In this post, you'll see a little more about the history of the German flag on its current and imperial versions.

The first thing to be noticed is that "Germany" is a relatively recent invention, as the Holy Roman Empire lasted until 1806 (being disestablished by Napoleon). A German Confederation was formed in 1815 to substitute the vacuum caused by the end of the Empire, but failed because of the political dualism between Prussia and the Austrian Empire.

However, it was during this period that appeared the ancestral of current German flag, in the context of the Revolutions of 1848, also known as "Springtime of Peoples" or "Spring of Nations", when the black-red-gold flag was used by revolutionaries unsatisfied with the policies of the post-Congress of Vienna. Then the flag was adopted by Confederation between 1948 and 1950.

This flag was a mix of the flag of House of Hapsburg's black-gold Empire of Austria flag, with a red stripe remembering the flags of the Hanseatic cities (important ports of Northern Europe).

The confederation was disestablished in 1867, and substituted, among others, by the Northern German Confederation, that adopted a black-white-red flag:

The color set is a mix of Prussian black and white and the Hanseatic colors (red and white). In 1871, it became the flag of new German Empire.

From this date, the Germans alternated between the two flags. In 1918, the German Empire was substituted by the so-called "Republic of Weimar", that made the black-red-gold its flag. This period lasted until 1933, when Hitler revived the imperial colors for a brief time, when it was substituted by the well-known swastika; the imperial pattern appeared in many flags and emblems of the period, though. With the end of the Second World War, both West and East Germany revived the black-red-gold as the basic pattern to their flags, and it's been used even after the German reunification.

For the end, a curiosity: even although the flag isn't actually "gold", the term "black-red-yellow" or similar isn't used anymore since it was used in a derogatory way by the monarchists and Nazi. The Germans call it "black-red-gold" or, in German, "schwarz-rot-gold". Remember the tip!

Your comments are welcome.

Nov 19, 2013

Río Negro (Argentina)

Today, we'll review the history of the flag of the Argentinean province of Río Negro and its case of self-plagiarism... or something like this.

Firstly, let me present the flag of the province:

The history starts in 2009, when a contest was made to select the new flag of the province, that was until flag-less.

According to the author, the symbolism of the design is the following: blue stands for justice, and the rivers and lakes, green for hope and the agriculture, the forests and the valleys; white was chosen because it's formed by the union of all the colors; the black canton with thirteen stars represents the thirteen departments (a geographic subdivision) that forms the province. The use of the black color is unclear, but my theory is that it's someway allusive (canting) to the name of the province, that means "black river" in Spanish.

Soon after the flag was designed, many negative critiques appeared, specially with the opinion that black was improper because of its association with mourning. Particularly, I think the flag isn't bad, I only think that black and blue shouldn't be put together because of their similarity.

Graver of the accusations of plagiarism. Firstly, that it was very similar to the flag of the former Kingdom of Araucanía and Patagonia. The kingdom was an attempt, by a French adventurer, to establish a monarchy on southern Argentina and Chile (including part of current Río Negro province) with the support of native Mapuche people, but severely combated by Argentinean and Chilean armies. A more serious claim of plagiarism is related to an unofficial flag that, according to Wikipedia, was used on some deeds by province government. The colors, the stars, all the elements of current flag are there!

Usually, looking for symbols on its own history (is it really self-plagiarism) is not unethical (if you cite the sources, obviously), but is it fair appropriating of someone's work to gain a contest?

What's your opinion about it? Your comment is welcome!