Dec 26, 2013

New England (USA)

Ho ho ho! Christmas has passed but its spirit is still on air. Christmas trees, for example, might last until January (by the way, have you ever thought about decorating your Christmas trees with mini-flags?). And few flags are so Christmassy than New England, that's red and white and have a pine tree:

The flag is evidently based on former English red ensign, to be flown, principally, by merchant ships. In Massachusetts Bay Colony, a local variant showed the flag without the cross (i.e. only a red flag with a white canton), because Puritan settlers considered the cross a symbol of "Anti-Christ".

The use of pine trees to represent New England colonies is known as early as 1686, the date of a drawing by lieutenant John Graydon (although there the tree looks like an oak tree). Possibly, the use of pine trees was inspired by "Massachusetts pine tree shilling", accepted as currency on all Northeast. Flags like the one above could be commonly found until 1707, when a proclamation by Queen Anne determined the substitution to British then red ensign. But there are sources that shows flags like this:

The New England flag was revived in 1775, by rebels during American Revolutionary War, purposely without St. George's cross:

This variant, known as "Bunker Hill flag", is often erroneously colored blue instead of red, that generated this a-historical flag copyrighted by Ebinger brothers (you can see my opinion about copyrighted flag here).

A happy 2014 to all blog readers!

Comments are welcome.

Dec 19, 2013

Svalbard (Norway) [proposal]

The Svalbard (or Spitsbergen) archipelago hasn't an own flag. The only flag that regularly flies on the Norwegian territory with less than 3,000 inhabitants is the Norway national flag. The only symbol of the islands is the "coat of arms" of its governor, and there isn't an urgency to adopt an official flag. However, a proposal dating from the 1930s is still unofficially used in the web, and today's post is exactly about it.

The flag proposal looks approximately like this:

The flag in question was initially proposed in a booklet called Fylkesmerker (1930), by Norges Bondelag (Norwegian Agrarian Association), that presented proposals of coats of arms and flags (always banners of arms) for each Norwegian region, some of them adopted with small changes. The only explanation for the design by heraldist Hallvard Trattberg on the book is:
Riksløven på gråverk (heraldisk pelsverk) for å betegne gammelt norsk land.
What means, in English:
Norwegian lion in vair (heraldic fur) to denote old Norwegian land.
In fact, the lion is identical to the one present on Norwegian coat of arms. Although there isn't presented, in my understanding, a clear rationale to background of vair (better blazoned as "vair in fess", in this particular case), my (unsourced) theory is that it's a clever reference to blue and white landscape of this icy archipelago, and a association between a fur (in the case, squirrel fur) and the cold climate. If this theory is true, I think this proposal was very well-though, and could be a winner once Svalbard needed a flag.

Until then, it's only one more flag that exists only on internet..

Your comments are welcome.