Saturday, January 7, 2012

Flag Day in Italy

I never like to see a flag-related topic go to waste and today is Flag Day in Italy, marking the day in 1797 when the first Italian Tricolor was adopted by the Cispadane Republic, which later became the Cisalpine Republic which later became the (Napoleonic) Kingdom of Italy. The tricolor was then brought back in the 19th Century by the Italian national movement and again became an official national flag in 1848 when it was adopted by King Carlo Alberto of Piedmont-Sardinia with the addition of the Savoy coat of arms in the center. As such, it subsequently became the national flag of the Kingdom of Italy and, with the removal of the royal arms, has been the national flag of every subsequent Italian government, both Mussolini's Italian Social Republic and the present Italian Republic. Putting politics aside for a moment, I have always found it a simple and attractive design. Why might that be? Possibly because the green-white-red color combination is so familiar to my neck of the woods. It became the flag of independent Mexico after General Agustin de Iturbide (later the first Mexican Emperor) adopted it as the flag of his "Army of the Three Guarantees" (unity, independence and religion) and has been used, with slight modifications, by every Mexican government since. In Texas it was used by more conservative types who opposed full independence but wanted a return to the Constitution of 1824 (hence the famous "Alamo Flag" of a Mexican tricolor with the central arms replaced by the date 1824). In fact, I read at least once that it was proposed that the green-white-red color scheme be used for the current flag of the Republic of Texas to show that Texas came from Mexico unlike the eastern United States which came from the British Empire and stuck with their colors of red, white and blue. Obviously it didn't go through.

I should also point out that the republican officials in Italy today had to go all the way back to 1797 to find the current color scheme being used by republicans and even then, that republic -the Cisalpine Republic- was a French imposition and held sway only over the small portion of northern Italy allowed to them. The tricolor of the Kingdom of Italy, with the royal arms, was the first flag of the Italian nation as a whole since the break-up of the Roman Empire. Therefore, if any version of the Italian tricolor should be celebrated as the symbol of the entire Italian nation it should be no other flag but the royalist flag of the Kingdom of Italy.
1860 Flag of Piedmont-Sardinia
Ensign of the Kingdom of Italy
Flag of the First Mexican Empire
Flag of the Alamo
Proposal for the Texas flag using Mexican colors


  1. Personally, and I may be biased, my favorite flag of Italy is that of the Napoleonic kingdom (
    Although I have in the past said it makes a better tablecloth than flag, haha.

  2. When I get around to it I have had it in my mind for a while to write a little something about the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy.

  3. I used to have a post on that myself. I should probably re-do a series on Napoleonic realms...


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