Flag of Georgia (country)

Flag of Georgia (country)

Infobox flag
Name = Georgia
Article =
Type =

Nickname =
Morenicks =
Use = 110110
Symbol =
Proportion = 100:147
Adoption = January 25 2004
Design = White rectangle, with in its central portion a large red cross that extends to the edge of the flag. In the four corners there are four "bolnur-katskhuri" crosses of the same color. [Decree of the President of GeorgiaNo. 31 of 25 January, 2004.]
Designer =

Nickname2 =
Morenicks2 =
Use2 = 000001
Symbol2 =
Proportion2 = 2:3
Adoption2 = 2004
Design2 = Rectangular blue flag with a white saltire and red cross that extend to the edge of the flag.
Designer2 =

Nickname3 =
Morenicks3 =
Use3 = 001000
Symbol3 =
Proportion3 =
Adoption3 = 2004
Design3 = Reverse of the national flag, defaced with the symbol of the Ministry of Defence in the centre, surmounted by a crown.
Designer3 =

The official flag of Georgia is the "five-cross flag", restored to official use on January 14, 2004 after a break of some 500 years. It was previously the flag of the medieval Georgian kingdom and had been used as the official symbol of the United National Movement political party.

History of the flag

Originally, the white flag with the single red St. George's cross was used by the Georgian King Vakhtang Gorgasali in the 5th century as the national symbol of the Georgian state and nation. During the golden age of the Georgian kingdom the "five-cross flag" was used since 13th century by Queen Tamar of Georgia. 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 patriotic movement 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 January 14 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 undemocratic move.

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 (below left). 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 around Georgia's independence from the Soviet Union, especially for ethnic minorities.

Soviet Georgia (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 (below right). The flag of Georgian SSR was abolished by the Georgian government when it declared independence from the Soviet Union in November 1990.

External links and references

* [http://www.president.gov.ge/?l=E&m=7&sm=1 Flag of Georgia] , President of Georgia website.
* [http://www.parliament.ge/index.php?lang_id=GEO&sec_id=69&kan_det=det&kan_id=2 The Law of Georgia on the National Flag (2004)] , Parliament of Georgia website. ge icon
* [http://www.nplg.gov.ge/ic/library_e/gabeskiria/12.htm The flag of Georgia] , National Parliamentary Library of Georgia – Georgian History
* [http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/ge.html "Georgia"] , "Flags of the World"
* [http://www.slate.com/id/2091667/ "What's With Georgia's Flags?"] , "Slate", November 25, 2003


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