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National Flag of Georgia

National Flag of Georgia

Proportion: 2:3
White flag with a red cross and four smaller crosses in the white quarters.

 

History of the flag

The "five-cross flag" has been used since at least the 13th century. This flag was clearly identified on the Georgian territory on the sea chart of Anjelino Dulcheri (1339 y.), Francesco and Domenico Pizigano (1367 y.) and Sider (1565 y.). The central element of the flag is St. George's cross (still used as the national flag of England), who is the patron saint of Georgia. According to the Georgian scholar Giorgi Gabeskiria, the four extra crosses were probably added during the reign of George V of Georgia (also known as "the Brilliant" or "the Splendid"), who drove out the Mongols. Around that time, the new design was adopted as a variant of the Jerusalem cross, a symbol used by crusaders in the Holy Land, which likewise used a large central cross with four smaller "crosslets" in the four quadrants. The crosses are said to have represented the five Holy Wounds of Christ.

The flag fell out of use later in the medieval period, but was revived by Georgian nationalists following the country's independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. A majority of Georgians, including the influential Catholicos-Patriarch of the Georgian Orthodox and Apostolic Church, supported the restoration of the flag and in 1999 the Georgian parliament passed a bill to change the flag. However, it was not endorsed by the President, Eduard Shevardnadze. It was adopted in the late 1990s by the main opposition party, the United National Movement led by Mikhail Saakashvili, as a symbol of popular resistance to Shevardnadze's rule.

The flag was adopted by the Georgian parliament on 14 January 2004. It was formally endorsed by a presidential decree signed by Saakashvili on January 25, following his election as President of Georgia. Its adoption was not without controversy, as some complained that the adoption of a party's political flag as a national emblem was an anti-democratic move.

The silver (white) background is a sign of innocence, chastity, purity and wisdom, while the red signifies courage, bravery, justice and love.

 

Earlier flags of Georgia

Independent Georgia (1918-1921, 1990-2004)

During Georgia's brief existence as an independent state (the Democratic Republic of Georgia) from 1918-1921, a tricolor flag was adopted (right). The design resulted from a national flag-designing contest won by Jakob Nikoladze, a painter. It was abolished by the Soviet Union following the 1921 takeover of Georgia but was revived on November 14, 1990 by the Supreme Council of the Republic of Georgia. It lost popularity thereafter as it became associated with the chaotic and violent period following Georgia's independence from the Soviet Union.

Earlier flags - Independent Georgia (1918-1921, 1990-2004)

Soviet Georgia (1921-1990)

Flag of Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic, 1921-1990. During the Soviet period, Georgia adopted a number of versions of the red Soviet flag incorporating either the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic's name, or a red hammer and sickle with a star in a blue sun in canton and blue bar in the upper part of flag (right). The flag of Georgian SSR was abolished by the Georgian government when it declared independence from the Soviet Union in November 1990.

Earlier flags - Soviet Georgia (1921-1990)

If you have further information...
We have collected here quite a bit of information about Georgia, but we are looking for more. If you have information about this section that you think may be of interest to researchers, please send us the information using the Submission Form.

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Page last update: 5 June, 2006