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Croatia in the Habsburg Empire: Viceroy's flags

Last modified: 2014-03-08 by ivan sache
Keywords: habsburg | viceroy | ban | vlasic (franjo) | jelacic (josip) | sokcevic (josip) |
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Franjo Vlašić's flag (1832)

Before 1848 and the introduction of tricolors, the main flags representing Croatia were the inaugurational flags of bans (viceroys). Since a ban was originally a military commander in the Croatian Kingdom, the flags were cavalry guidons as used at the time, that is, red and swallow-tailed.
A phone card shows a detail from the center of the reverse of Franjo Vlašić's flag. The obverse had the coat of arms of the Vlašić family coat in this place. The flag is semee with "tulips" that are also visible on the card. Viceroy Vlašić was inaugurated in 1832, and this must be the inauguration flag. The catalogue of the Croatian Historical Museum [bor96] dates it 1832, while the phone card dates it "first half of the 19th century".

Željko Heimer, 16 March 2000

Josip Jelačić's flag, 1848

[Jelacic's flag]         [Jelacic's flag]

Jelačić's flag, obverse and emblem's detail - Images by Janko Ehrlich Zdvořák, 12 December 2001

Proportions: 3:4.
Reverse: Coat of arms of the Jelačić family.
Finial: Crescent and six-pointed star.
Fringe: Golden, all edges except hoist.
The material used for flags has a very notable floral texture.

Jelačić's flag was the first official tricolour used in Croatia. On the obverse it has the Croatian, Slavonian and Dalmatian coat of arms, together with a crown and Illyric symbols, a six-pointed star and a crescent. The flag, made of the Croatian red-white and Slavonian blue-white colors, was raised for the first time in Zagreb on 7 September 1848. On that day Jelačić led Croatian troops towards Hungarian revolutionaries led by Lajos Kossuth. When he reached the border of the time near Varaždin, he substituted this flag for the Imperial black-yellow flag. Before, Viceroy standards were usually red, bearing the national arms on one side, and the Viceroy's family arms on the other. After the defeat of the revolutionary movements of 1848-1849, it was strictly forbidden to show national colours in the Habsburg Empire. In 1860s, the colors were allowed again. From then, Croatians use red-white-blue colors as their national symbol.
The flag is preserved in the Croatian Historical Museum, Zagreb.

A postage stamp issued on 25 March 1998, of face value 1.60 HRK, shows a detail of a color lithograph made in 1848 in Vienna 1848, representing the battle near Moor, 30 December 1848; in the foreground is show Jelačić's flag.

Željko Heimer & Janko Ehrlich Zdvořák, 12 December 2001

Josip Šokčević's flag, 1860

Viceroy Josip Šokčević, inaugurated in 1860, use the same flag as Jelačić with, of course, his own family coat of arms on reverse.
The flag is preserved in the Croatian Historical Museum, Zagreb.

The article Kopija zastavdio budućeg Povijesnog postava, published on 20 September 2002 in Vinkovački list (scan) reports that a replica of the flag, used in the ceremonies of the return of the Viceroy's remains from Vienna to Vinkovci, was presented to the Vinkovci Town Museum.

Željko Heimer, 12 August 2012

Jelačić's memorial flag

[Jelacic's memorial flag]

Jelačić's memorial flag - Image by Željko Heimer, 15 January 2002

A flag used in Zagreb around 1990 was then named then in the media "the flag of Viceroy Josip Jelačić", but it was in fact an ornamental flag hoisted only in the middle of the main square in Zagreb. It was hoisted there c. 1989, when it was decided that the statue of the Viceroy shall be returned to the main square, at the time called Republic Square, before and now named after the Viceroy. The flag symbolized the return of the statue, as the physical return was not possible at the time; the statue had to be cleaned and prepared, since it had been held, divided in parts, in a museum's basement.
The flag was hoisted when the Croatian flag still had the red star in the middle, as the predecessor of the soon-to be made changes. This flag was not official in any way, but, nevertheless, has importance in the Croatian flag history.

When the statue was returned in 1990, the flag remained in the main square at the honor position just behind the statue and was being cleaned regularly for several more years, probably until it was made unusable by passage of time. Nowdays, a "normal", elongated Croatian flag, is hoisted at the same place.

The flag is vertically hoisted, long, with proportions about 1:4, white with a tricolor set diagonally defaced with the coat of arms of the Triune Kingdom of Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia. The reverse of the flag is the same with the arms replaced with the arms of Josip Jelačić.
The flag is, obviously, based on the 1848 "genuine" flag of Jelačić, but its graphical design was significantly changed.

Željko Heimer, 15 January 2002