The Romanian flag has its origin in the 19th century, when the country’s rebels took on the government using a flag similar to the one used by the country today. Although the design of the Romanian flag has changed several times, it has always kept the same colors.
It has its origin in the colors that the country used during the first centuries of the last millennium. The region that is known today as Wallachia in Romania used a coat of arms with the colors red, yellow and blue in the Middle Ages and it is thought that the current design of the flag originated from there.
Flag of the 1848 Revolution
The Revolution of 1848, also called the Wallachian Revolution, was a Romanian social movement that developed throughout the country, but mainly in the southern region of Wallachia. It was one of the many European revolutions that occurred in 1848, the year in which the continent was plagued by social movements throughout its entire length.
They wanted to eliminate, with this revolution, the government of the country that had been imposed by the Russian Empire, to declare Romania as an independent country. The rebels used the blue, yellow and red tricolor with the inscription “Fraternity and Justice” in its central part. The color of the flag was not the same as it is today, but the design was the same.
First flag of the Principality of Romania (1859-1866)
In 1859, the country was united under the rule of Alexandru Ioan Cuza, who was recognized as the Prince of Wallachia. In fact, Wallachia and Moldova were two principalities that were administered independently, but Alexandru Ioan Cuza took steps to unify the government of both countries, which led to the creation of the Principality of Romania in 1859.
The country adopted the tricolor flag that was always representative of the colors of Wallachia, with a horizontal order instead of a vertical one and no coat of arms.
Second flag of the Principality of Romania (1866-1881)
The new constitution of 1866 was drawn up under the supervision of Charles of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, who was the second prince of Romania and who ruled until the creation of the kingdom a few years later. The new constitution was also in force until 1881, when the hierarchical order of the country was reorganized and the flag was changed again.
Flag of the Kingdom of Romania (1881-1947)
Romania was organized as a kingdom from 1881, when Charles of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen became known as Carol I of Romania. For the entire existence of the Principality, Romania had been under the tutelage of the Ottoman Turks, but in 1877, the country joined Russia to fight the Ottomans and win its independence.
The Russian-Romanian victory caused the country to gain its autonomy and break away from Turkey. The decision was made to organize the country into a monarchy and the vertical tricolor flag was established as the official flag of the country. It lasted until after World War II.
First flag of the Romanian People’s Republic (1948)
The Romanian People’s Republic was a state created after the end of World War II. After the end of the war, the European territorial order was in an extremely precarious state and the continent in ruins. During the war, Romania lost a lot of territory and even came to be occupied by the Soviets in the late 1940s.
When the Soviets liberated Romania, the country was already heavily influenced by their presence and the ideas of communism. Although the Kingdom of Romania was reestablished for a couple of years, the king was forced to abandon his position due to the influence of communism in the country.
Thus, in 1948 the People’s Republic of Romania was established and the country was managed by the Romanian Communist Party in the hands of the Soviet Union.
The flag remained the same as that of the kingdom, but with a shield in the middle referring to the communist system, with a tractor surrounded by wheat and the initials of the new country at the top.
Second flag of the People’s Republic of Romania (1948 – 1952)
The second design of the flag became a bit more lively, thus incorporating green into the shield and reorganizing the way in which the flag spreads across the underside of the wheat. The design of the flag did not change, only its shield.
Third flag of the Romanian People’s Republic (1952 – 1965)
The third change made to the Romanian flag was the incorporation of the Soviet socialist star at the top of the shield. This design remained the same as that of 1948, with the same distribution of stripes and with the same shield.
Last flag of communist Romania (1965 – 1989)
The last modification that was made to the flag of Romania under the influence of communism was the incorporation of the name of the country at the bottom of the shield. It is presumed that this was done with the intention of promoting nationalist propaganda, making the people feel more identified with the national flag.
Revolution of 1989 and reestablishment of the flag of the Empire (since 1989)
The 1989 Revolution was a stage of civil conflict in which the inhabitants of Romania rose up against the government to eliminate the communist regime from the country. Civilians protested with Romanian flags with the communist shield cut off.
A military court sentenced the Romanian leaders to death, and they were executed on Christmas 1989. This was the last execution that took place in Romania and the one that led to the creation of the Republic of Romania the same year, also reestablishing the flag earlier of the empire without the shield in the center, being the standard that the country maintains until today.
The flag is based on the medieval coat of arms of the Principality of Wallachia, but each color also has a symbolic meaning within Romanian culture. Blue is the color that represents freedom, while yellow represents justice and red is a representation of the brotherhood that unites the nation.
- Flag of Romania, Encyclopedia Britannica, 2018. Taken from Britannica.com
- History of Romania, Wikipedia, 2019. Taken from Wikipedia.org
- Flag of Romania, Wikipedia, 2019. Taken from Wikipedia.org
- Flag of Romania, Flag Makers UK Website, (nd). Taken from flagmakers.co.uk
- Romania Flag Meaning, World Population Review Website, (nd). Taken from worldpopulationreview.com