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Gorz und Gradisca (Austro-Hungarian Empire)

Last modified: 2014-04-11 by rob raeside
Keywords: goerz | gradisca | kronland | gorize | landesfarben | austro-hungarian empire |
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image by Željko Heimer from FAME


Information about Austrohungarian Landesfarben was published in Rosenfeld's book. Görz und Gradisca is an white over red horizontal bicolour.
Mario Fabretto, 16 September 1996

Concerning Gradisca, could that be 'Gradisce', the Croatian (and Slovenian) name for the current Burgenland (Burg = Grad)? Could it be that the old name was transferred to the new Land, with maybe slightly different boundaries? But of course, present day Burgenland does not use blue either in its arms or flag. I have no any idea how old the Landesfärben might be, but I believe that they could be much older than the flags as we know them. I believe that various pennons and decorations were used a long time ago in the colours of the arms. Therefore the use of arms in Landesfärben as flags wouldn't be unusual, even if not sanctioned by any law.
Željko Heimer
, 15 September 1996

Gradiska: either YBW or WR (3:3). Both flags are heraldically credible.
Gorize: either WRB or WR or WRYB (1:3:3). All flags credible.
Jan Zrzavy , November 1997

Other sources (incl. Mayers) give one flag for Görz und Gradisca : white-red.
Željko Heimer , November 1997

Talking about flags, it is very difficult to say which flags (Landesfarben) were used each time. Coat of arms can help us with some hints but one cannot get to absolute conclusions. Gradisca had (and has) a coat of arms "per fess or and azure, a cross surmounting a crescent argent", so the colours YBW are plausible. They are reported by G. Pasch but I was never able to know his sources. It is also difficult to know if these colours were used during the Eggenberg period or in the period 1717-1754 (and maybe used also later as local colours). Personally I find quite unprobable the use of such a tricolor in the 17th century, but I would not be surprised if ribbons and decorations, even since that time, had showed the main coat of arms colours. The use of vertical hanging surely confused who reported local colours, and from this the great differences among different sources. Also the lack of official status allowed people to combine the colours in different ways, not always heraldically correct.
For the County of Gorz, which coat of arms was "per bend, barred of six argent and gules, azure a lion passant bendwise or", first reported colours are RYB (L. Philippe, source ?). A combination of WRYB is plausible but sound quite uncommon for an Austrian lander. More recent sources reports the colours BY (Plate published by the Austrian Ministry of public Instruction, 1878, and Alfred Grenzer: National und Landesfarben von 150 Staates. 1881).
Then we are sure of the WR colours used after 1885 and until 1918; many photograps and coloured postcards allow this.
Mario Fabretto 23 November 1997

Historical Background

The County of Gorz passed under the Hapsburg in the year 1500 when the last count of the Lurngau dynasty, Leonard, died without heirs. In the period 1647 - 1717 the town of Gradisca had been raised to a separate County under the sovereignty of the Counts of Eggenberg. When this family disappeared (1717) Gradisca remained until 1754 an Imperial ownership, then was re-unified with Gorz. In 1861 the Princely Counties of Gorz and Gradisca were instituted as a Kronland, until 1918 when the Austria-Hungary Empire disappeared.
In the period between 1754 and 1848, Gorz changed its status many times:
1747 - 1754: the counties of Gorz and Gradisca are dependent from the imperial chamber of Lubiana;
1754 - 1783: Gradisca is merged with Gorz and this entity is ruled by its own "consiglio capitanale";
1783 - 1791: after a short unification with Carniola, a provincial office was instituted for Gorz, Gradisca and Triest;
1791 - 1797: Gorz is separated from Triest and the "consiglio capitanale" restored;
1797: French occupation during which Gorz was ruled by a provisional government;
1797 - 1803: the same as during 1791 - 1797;
1803 - 1805: the counties are transformed in a district under the govern of Lubiana;
1805 - 1806/7: temporary French government;
1807 - 1809: subdivision of the territory between the Italic Kingdom and Austria;
1809 - 1813: Gorz is a district of the Illyric Provinces;
1813 - 1816: Creation of the province of Litorale, with Gorz, Gradisca and Trieste;
1816 - 1848: Litorale is a province of the Kingdom of Illyria;
1848 - 1861: Gorz is a Kronland of Austria;
1861 - 1918: Creation of the princely counties of Gorz and Gradisca.
Mario Fabretto 23 November 1997

Coat of Arms

I am sending some images of coat of arms:

 image by Mario Fabretto

Coat of arms of Gradisca, about 1640 - it show also a field with Bellona, goddess of war, granted by Ferdinand II in 1622 to the town, to remember the help given by the women during the siege suffered by the town during the war of 1615-1618. Source: Ink print conserved in the Gorizia civic library;

  image by Mario Fabretto

coat of arms of the Princely Counties of Gorz and Gradisca, 1861-1918. Source: A. Schroll Kunst-Verlag: Stadte-Wappen von Österreich-Ungarn 1885;

  image by Mario Fabretto

coat of arms of the Kingdom of Illiria, 1816-1848. Source: Archive CISV;
Mario Fabretto 23 November 1997

Regarding the coat of arms of the Kingdom of Illyria, the Austrian formation is from the post-Napoleonic era, and was not very long lasting. The same arms are used today as the arms of the town in Slovenia - Ilirska Bistrica. Though, it seems that the vessel faces the other way around. The arms are, as is usual in these parts, applied to the one colour banner in a shield-like white cartouche with the name of the town inscribed in it. It might be that the reversal of the vessel is made only on the flag, to make it vexillologically proper - it faces now to the hoist (or does it?).
See my pages on for the image.
The source is a copy of Banders I received from Jaume Oll some time ago According to the same article, the flag was adopted on 18 September 1975.
Željko Heimer , 26 November 1997