The flag of Bohemia is a historic flag, which now forms part of the design in the modern flag of the Czech Republic. The flag, a horizontal bicolour, was based on the colours of the former monarchs of Bohemia.
The heraldic flag of Bohemia (the flag of Bohemia in the form of the flag with coat of arms) is described and drawn for example in the work of Jacob Koebel: Wapen des heyligen römischen Reichs teutscher Nation from 1545. The even older description of this flag (13th century) can be read in the chronicle of Ottokar aus der Gaal (Otacher ouz der Geul, Ottokar von Steiermark) (* about 1265; † between 1318 and 1322): Die Steirische Reimchronik.
History and useEdit
"The colors of the flag, white and red, were derived from the coat of arms of the King of Bohemia (silver lion on a red field) which was granted to the king Vladislaus I in the 12th century. This quickly became the coat of arm of the whole kingdom."
The oldest surviving full colour depiction of the arms of Bohemia is represented by the fresco in the hall of the castle of Gozzoburg in Krems an der Donau, that comes from the early 1270s. A further depiction can be found in the manuscript of abbes Kunigunde from the 1310s.
The bicolor white-red banners were therefore carried into battle by the armies of the Bohemian kings and in the 19th century the colors were adopted by the Czech national movement. But when the goals of the movement were fulfilled in 1918 by the restoration of the independent Czech state, the need for the significant symbols, including a flag which was not identical to that of neighbouring Poland, led to the approval of the new flag of Czechoslovakia in 1920. This new flag still included the white and red horizontal stripes from the flag of Bohemia.
In 1990, the Bohemian flag was adopted as the official flag of the Czech Republic, then part of the Czech and Slovak Federative Republic (ČSFR, 1990–1992). The flag was adopted in reaction to the adoption of separate Slovak symbols. However, the Czech flag was used much less than the wider flag of Czechoslovakia, whereas the flag of Slovakia (then without coat of arms and thus identical to flag of the World War II Slovak Republic) was widely used in Slovakia. This difference mirrored prevailing separatist tendencies in the Slovak Republic and federalist tendencies in the Czech Republic. Another problem, again, was the Bohemian flag's similarity to the flag of neighbouring Poland, because the only difference was the proportion 2:3 (Polish flag is 5:8). For these reasons, Czech politicians decided to preserve the flag of Czechoslovakia as the symbol of the state with which most of Czech society was identified.
Since 1993, the flag of Bohemia has had no legal status and is only rarely seen today in the Czech Republic.
- Koebel, Jacob (1545). "Wapen des heyligen römischen Reichs teutscher Nation" (in German). Frankfurt am Main. p. 6. Retrieved 25 June 2017.
- Pícha, František (2013). "Znaky a prapory v kronice Ottokara Štýrského". Vexilologie. Zpravodaj České vexilologické společnosti, o.s. č. 169 (PDF). Brno: Česká vexilologická společnost. pp. 3320–3324.
- "Ottokars Österreichische Reimchronik (MGH Deutsche Chroniken V,1)". Retrieved 25 June 2017.
- "Ottokar von Steiermark: 'Steirische Reimchronik'". handschriftencensus.de. Retrieved 25 June 2017.
- Aptly expressed by František Palacký in his Dějiny národu českého v Čechách a v Moravě I–V ("The History of the Czech Nation in Bohemia and Moravia"), 1836–1867: "Známé povídačky o rozdávání nových erbův rodinám českým, ba i království českému, v ležení před Milánem, nechceme zde ani připomínati, ana sama v sobě hloupá jest a od jiných před námi již dávno vyvrácena byla." (cited from: Rostislav Nový: K počátkům feudální monarchie v Čechách II. Časopis národního musea 1978; for the history of the coats of arms of historical Czech lands: Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia, see the entry on Czech Wikipedia: Heraldické znaky českých zemí.)
- Krejčík, Tomáš; Pícha, František (2009). "Český a moravský znak ve znakové galerii v Gozzoburgu v Kremsu". Genealogické a heraldické informace 2008 : Moravská genealogická a heraldická společnost, o. s. 2009 (in Czech). Vol. 13. Brno. pp. 49–57. ISSN 0862-8963.
- "Sbírka Národní knihovny ČR". ces.mkcr.cz. Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic: Central Registry of Museum-type Collections. Archived from the original on 20 January 2015. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
- Constitutional act on the state symbols of the Czech Republic 67/1990 Coll.
- Constitutional act on the name, coat of arms, flag, seal and anthem of the Slovak Republic 50/1990 Coll.