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Swedish flags around 1500

Last modified: 2013-12-18 by zoltán horváth
Keywords: sweden | book of all kingdoms | gotlandia | gotia | stripes |
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Swedish flags around 1500

[Cross Flag]
image by Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 13 March 2012

At Sweden in the "Book of All Kingdoms", we have a flag from the Book of all Kingdoms for Gotlandia, which is a an 8-striped purple and yellow flag.
At Flags of Sweden, 16th Century - 1814, we have early sources regarding the flag, we have Jaume paraphrasing Klaes Sierksma telling us that according to Dr. Paul Warming, heraldry advisor of the Danish kingdom, the flag of Sweden was blue with WHITE cross before 1520.

.[Striped Flag]
image by Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 13 March 2012

This, of course, makes the vexillologist wonder: "How did they get from stripes to a white cross on blue?" Well, The Lore of Ships [t8c72]??, p.135, has:
"In the second half of the 16th century the present Swedish flag was not yet in use. Instead, Swedish men-of-war flew a blue-and-white striped flag.. The pattern would fit in between, but would the time frame be wide enough for that?
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 13 March 2012

[Pennant with three crowns]
image by Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 14 March 2012

The book then continues, on a new line:
"The pennant at the masthead, however, carried the three Swedish crowns." As in the illustration the flag is hoisted at the top mast, this means the pennant flies below the flag.
It's illustrated as a blue over red floating split pennant with three golden crowns, two over one, near the hoist. As with e.g. the pennants at <xn-s-a00.html>, the flyward third of the flag is split.
On the same page are listed:
- "The three-tongued blue flag of the fleet of the army 1761-1813". The flag is in normal blue, not in the blue used for the current Swedish flag.

- "The ensign of 1658. from the oldest preserved Swedish flag, now in Rijksmuseum Amsterdam." The website of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam shows this as either of these hits:
Curiously, both have in their description "In de bovenhals vermoedelijk een koninklijke kroon" - "in the upper hoist presumably a riyal crown". It appears to be rather a bold assumption, as I don't see the crown at all. The flag in the book does indeed not show a crown, and is similar to this one, except that it, too, is in normal blue, not in the blue used for the current Swedish flag as we have it.
(It may even be slightly darker blue, but I'd need another pair of eyes, and preferably a different copy of the book to be sure.) I guess, the flag fragments in the Rijksmuseum would be the only way to judge.

- "Merchant flag 1815.1844, with the canton of the Swedish-Norwegian Union." That would be this one, but with the saltire less wide and in a slightly oblong canton, and in 2:3 and standard blue.

- "The ensign with the canton of the Union, 1844-1905, though with the split being a third of the flag in depth, and the blue being the standard blue again.

- "Merchant flag after 1905.", which is Swedish national flag, except for being 2:3, rather than 5;8, with the cross being slightly narrower and normal yellow, rather than the golden shade used for the earlier flags. The blue, as mentioned, is a lighter shade here. Wasn't there a time in Swedish flag history when the original shades were restored? Was this after this book was created in 1963?
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 14 March 2012