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Grand Duchy of Hesse 1806-1918 (Germany)

Grossherzogtum Hessen-Darmstadt, Grand Duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt

Last modified: 2013-12-09 by german editorial team
Keywords: hesse-darmstadt | hessen-darmstadt | grand duchy of hesse-darmstadt | grossherzogtum hessen-darmstadt | coat of arms (lion: barry) | crowns: 4 (royal) |
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[State Flag 1839-1903 and Civil and State Ensign 1839-1867 (Hesse, Germany)] 4:5 | stripes 1+2+1 | 1839-1867 | 1867-1903 |
by Santiago Dotor and Theo van der Zalm
Flag adopted 16th March 1839, abolished as civil and state ensign 1867, abolished as state flag 1903, readopted as state flag 5th July 1923



See also:


Introduction

The Grand Duchy of Hesse was formerly named [Grand Duchy of] Hesse-Darmstadt (1816-1866). After 1866, when Prussia annexed Hesse-Kassel, it was named Hesse. The flag was probably first hoisted on 1st March 1820. In 1918 the republic was proclaimed, and the new constitution approved on 12 December 1919.

Jaume Ollé, 17 July 1996

In 1866, entering the North German Confederation, and later in the German Empire, Hesse-Darmstadt (Grand Duchy) changed the name simply to Hesse, being Hesse-Kassel and Hesse-Homburg disappeared. The symbols remained unchanged.

Mario Fabretto, 25 August 1998

The several branches of the house of Hesse descend from the first landgrave, Henry I, son of Henry duke of Brabant and Sophie of Thuringia and Hesse, made prince of the empire [Reichsfürst] in 1292. From Thuringia the Hessian princes took the eight-striped lion in white and red [blazon: lion barry of ten pieces Argent and Gules] which is the coat-of-arms of Hesse to this day. The stripes are possibly taken from the arms of Hungary as Sophie's mother, (Saint) Elisabeth, was a Hungarian princess.

Landgrave Louis X of Hesse-Darmstadt took the title of grand duke on 13th August 1806. On this occasion he gave the Hessian lion a sword and a royal crown. Source: Siebmachers Wappenbuch I, 1, Nuremberg 1856.

The landgraves of Hesse-Kassel lost their principality in 1866 to Prussia. The line of Hesse-Darmstadt however died out with prince Louis V of Hesse and of the Rhine on 30th May 1968. As he had adopted Moritz of Hesse-Kassel on 24th December 1960, the line of Hesse-Kassel is now also the grand ducal line in Hesse(-Darmstadt). Similarly to the [federal] state of Hesse, they use the lion without the sword [or the crown]. Source: Ströhl 1897.

Theo van der Zalm, 24 August 2000

From the Infoplease.com website:

At his death (1567) [Landgrave] Philip [the Magnanimous]'s lands were divided among his four sons, with Kassel, Marburg, Rheinfels, and Darmstadt their respective capitals. Upon the demise shortly afterward of the Rheinfels (1583) and Marburg (1648) lines, the whole territory was held by the two remaining lines — Hesse-Kassel and Hesse-Darmstadt. The Congress of Vienna (181415) awarded Hesse-Kassel and Hesse-Darmstadt substantial territorial gains. (...) The grand duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt also had sided against Prussia [in the Austro-Prussian War (1866)]. It ceded Hesse-Homburg (which it had just acquired through the extinction of that line). In 1871, Hesse-Darmstadt joined the newly founded German Empire, and it continued under its own dynasty until the German revolution of 1918.

Santiago Dotor, 26 June 2002


State Flag 1839-1903, Civil and State Ensign 1839-1867

Probably also used as Civil and State Ensign in Inland Waters 1867-1903

[State Flag 1839-1903 and Civil and State Ensign 1839-1867 (Hesse, Germany)] 4:5 | stripes 1+2+1 | 1839-1867 | 1867-1903 |
by Santiago Dotor and Theo van der Zalm
Flag adopted 16th March 1839, abolished as civil and state ensign 1867, abolished as state flag 1903, readopted as state flag 5th July 1923

A horizontal triband red-white-red, ratio of stripes: 1:2:1. At the center the uncrowned lesser arms of Hesse (...). In use c.1843-1866 — I presume it was abolished as a result of the founding of the North German Confederation.

Norman Martin, April 1998

This was the state flag and merchant ensign 1839-1903. The shield should be in the white stripe only touching the red ones. The sword held by the lion was silver and the crown should be a royal crown. The lion is armed Or, which means his claws are gold. This flag was used from 1839 until 1903. In 1902 the design of the arms was changed and this brought the modification of all the flags and ensigns (see the state flag and merchant ensign 1903-1918 flag).

Mario Fabretto, 25 August 1998

I have no independent information as to when the merchant flag ceased being used, but since the merchant flag of the North German League superseded all of the other merchant flags, it would seem unlikely that Hesse, certainly not a major maritime state, would insist on continuing its own.

Norman Martin, 25 July 2000

The Hessian flag is traditionally red over white. On 16th March 1839 was issued a merchant flag for use on vessels. It was red, white and red, the red stripes being a quarter of the flag's height. In the broader white stripe the shield with the Hessian lion was shown.

Theo van der Zalm, 24 August 2000

Ströhl 1897 shows the state flag and ensign with a ratio of 4:5 (same as the standard for other members of the grand ducal family, but the standard of the grand duke almost 7:10). The stripes are in proportion 1+2+1 and the escutcheon is as high as the middle (white) stripe.

Santiago Dotor, 26-27 June 2002


State Flag and Standard for Other Members of the Royal Family 1903-1918

Probably also used as Civil and State Ensign in Inland Waters

[State Flag and Standard for Other Members of the Royal Family 1903-1918 (Hesse, Germany)]
by Jaume Ollé

A horizontal triband red-white-red, ratio of stripes 1:2:1. At the center the uncrowned lesser arms of Hesse (like the national flag, except for form of shield). In each corner a golden crown. In use [until] 1918. Illustrated National Geographic 1917 p. 367, no. 1002.

Norman Martin, April 1998

This was the state flag and merchant ensign [in inland waters?] 1903-1918. In 1913 the design of the crowns was simplified with respect to the 1903 design.

Mario Fabretto, 25 August 1998

Both National Geographic 1917 [gmc17], Znamierowski 1999 [zna99] and Neubecker 1933 [neu33] show in the corners antique crowns (with only four arches, of which only three visible, and no central dip). Jaume Ollé's image shows the crowns as modern royal crowns (with eight arches, of which only five visible, and a central dip). Maybe this was the 1903-1913 model, and the one using antique crowns the 1913-1918 model? Also, National Geographic 1917 [gmc17] calls it national standard and places it close to the royal standards of Prussia, Bavaria, Württemberg and Saxony, which might lead one to think that it was the grand ducal standard of Hesse.

Santiago Dotor, 25 July 2000

The former pattern [of standard for princes and princesses] was continued for the other princes. The shield from the new state arms was placed in the white stripe. In the corners on the red stripe four princely crowns (with only bows [arches?] each). Source: Neubecker 1933 [neu33].

Theo van der Zalm, 24 August 2000

According to Neubecker 1933 [neu33], ill. 172, this was also the state flag (Staatsflagge und Standarte der Prinzen).

Santiago Dotor, 18 June 2001


Civil Flag until 1918, Civil Ensign until 1839

Landesfarben

[Civil Flag until 1918, Civil Ensign until 1839 (Hesse, Germany)]
by Željko Heimer

A horizontal bicolor red-white. In use until 1935. Re-adopted as Landesflagge 1948. Illustrated Pedersen 1970.

Norman Martin, April 1998