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Austria-Hungary 1745-1786

Last modified: 2013-07-27 by rob raeside
Keywords: austro-hungarian empire | habsburg |
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This part of the report concerns ensigns on Austrian (Hapsburg) ships before 1786. This report is heavily based on my paper prepared for the XXI ICV in Buenos Aires, 2005 [Heimer, 2005]. It is to be noted that these flags were not regulated with any precision of the design that we may think of for flags today, so mostly only the general pattern was followed (even when they were regulated more precisely). Also, the ensign was the responsibility of the ship's captain and he was ordering it from a flag maker - both the captain and maker took great liberty in interpreting the design.
Željko Heimer, 24 September 2007

See also:

Naval Ensign, 1749

[Naval ensign] image by Željko Heimer, 28 September 2007

After the dissolution of the Hapsburg fleet in 1730s, the next attempt of Austrians to conquer the seas happened in the middle of the first half of the 18th century - Austria gained (by marriage) the Great Duchy of Toscana (Tuscany), and in 1745 in Toscana was introduced a Habsburg yellow flag with black double-headed eagle. I am not sure that Jaume's image is quite correct - it should formally be without the black stripes, even though the striped flag was probably also used.

Toscana had signed treaties with a number of Barbary states in the Mediterranean protecting her ships from their pirates. This was the usual practice at the time and such tributes were being paid by other European nations Great Britain, France and Sweden [Neubecker, 1980]. To be able to use those privileges on the other Habsburg ships Empress Maria Theresa intended to introduce a flag for Austria similar to that of Toscana.

Due to a misunderstanding the flag prescribed by Maria Theresa was never introduced [Lehnert, 1886; Baumgartner, 1977], but the flag identical to that of Toscana was used instead: on a yellow field an imperial double-headed eagle with an imperial crown above the heads and holding in its claws a sword and a sceptre. [Khuepach, 1941; Neubecker, 1939]
Željko Heimer, 28 September 2007

Naval Ensign (de jure), 1749

[17th Century ensign] image by Željko Heimer, 28 September 2007

The flag prescribed by the order of the Empress Maria Theresia on 29 November 1749 was visually only a little different, but the difference was essential: the eagle was without the sword and the sceptre and was crowned with the Hungarian royal crown.
Željko Heimer, 28 September 2007

Masthead Pennant, 1749

[Masthead pennant] image by Željko Heimer, 28 September 2007

To the black-golden masthead pennant the square golden patch with the black eagle was added at the hoist. [Baumgartner, 1977]
Željko Heimer, 24 September 2007

- Baumgartner, Lothar, 1977: Die Entwicklung der Österreichischen Marineflagge, Militaria Austriaca, Gesellschaft für Österreichische Heereskunde, Wien, p. 29
- Heimer, Željko, 2005: The Naval Flags on the Eastern Adriatic, XXI ICV Buenos Aires Vexillobaires 2005 (proceedings in print)
- Khuepach, Arthur von, 1941: "Interessantes aus der Österreichisch-ungarischen Kriegsmarine", Marine-Rundschau, nr. 46,
Münch, Bonn, p. 301
- Lehnert, Josef von, 1886: "Beiträge zur Geschichte der k. k. Flagge. Vortrag, gehalten im militär-wissenschaftlichen Verein zu Wien am 13. März 1885", Organ der militär-wissenschaftlichen Vereine, nr. 31, Mayer, Wien, pp. 3-4
- Novak, Grga, 2004b: "Jadransko more u sukobima i borbama kroz stolječa II. Od 1409. godine do Drugog svjetskog rata", Marjan tisak, Split