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Vexillopedia

Flag of Poland

Poland
Ratio 5:8
Adoption 1919
Design A horizontal bicolour of white and red. [0]
Colors
#FFFFFF
#DC143C

History

The earliest vexilloids (flag-like objects) used in Poland were known as stanice and probably resembled the Roman vexillum, that is a cloth draped vertically from a horizontal crosspiece attached to a wooden pole or spear. They served as both religious and military symbols as early as 10th century CE.

In the times of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (1569–1795), a banner of the Commonwealth was also used, combining the heraldic symbols of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

n the 18th and 19th centuries, European nations used cockades, or knots of colored ribbons pinned to the hat, to denote the nationality of their military. In Poland, until 1831, there was no consensus as to what the colors of the national cockade should be.

The patriotic and staunchly Catholic members of the Bar Confederation of 1768–1772 adopted crimson – the symbol of Polish szlachta, or nobility – and blue – symbolizing Virgin Mary – as their colors. These, as well as white-and-red, were considered national colors during the Great Sejm of 1788–1792. White and red were first publicly used as national colors by civilians on May 3, 1792 in Warsaw, during a celebration of the first anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution of 1791.

White-and-red flags were first waved during a patriotic demonstration on May 3, 1916 in Warsaw. The organizing committee advised participants about the correct alignment of the colors, that is with the white stripe above the red one. Still, many demonstrators brought flags with the red stripe on top. On August 1, 1919, almost a year after Poland regained independence in November 1918, the Sejm officially introduced a white-and-red bicolor as the Polish national flag. [0]

Meaning

White and red were officially adopted as national colors in 1831. They are of heraldic origin and derive from the tinctures (colors) of the coats of arms of the two constituent nations of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, i.e. the White Eagle of Poland and the Pursuer of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, a white knight riding a white horse, both on a red shield. [0]