Flag of Brittany

Flag of Brittany

Infobox flag
Name = Brittany

Proportion = 2:3
Adoption = 1923
Use = 100100
Design = Nine horizontal stripes alternating black and white with an ermine canton
The flag of Brittany is called the "Gwenn-ha-du," which means "white and black" in Breton. It is also unofficially used in the "département" of Loire-Atlantique, although this belongs to the "région" Pays de la Loire not the "région" Bretagne, because the territory of Loire-Atlantique is historically part of the province of Brittany. Nantes (Naoned), its "préfecture", was once one of the two capital cities of Brittany.

The flag's dimensions are not fixed, and may vary from 9:14 cm to 8:12 m. The flag is not only used by cultural associations or autonomists but by everyone in general. For years, the authorities considered the flag as a separatist symbol, but the attitude has now changed and the flag, no longer having any political connotations, can appear everywhere, even on public buildings along with the other official flags. It is widely used throughout Brittany and can even be seen on town halls in the region. Because of the absence of legislation concerning regional flags in France the flag is also flown on sail and fishing boats. The design of the ermine spots can vary but the version most frequently seen is shown above.

Some Bretons say that it is the only flag in the world which does not have any colours, which is incorrect (Canton of Fribourg, Ceuta, Cornwall and Lisbon are others), but surely it is the only flag in the world which in a parade is carried at arm's length over head.

The flag was created in 1923 by Morvan Marchal (1900-1963, a member of various political and cultural organizations). He used as his inspiration the flags of the United States and Greece as these two countries were seen at that time as the respective symbols of liberty and democracy.

The nine horizontal stripes represent the traditional dioceses of Brittany into which the duchy was divided historically. The five black stripes represent the French or Gallo speaking dioceses of Dol, Nantes, Rennes, Saint-Malo and Saint-Brieuc—while the four white stripes represent the Breton speaking dioceses of Trégor, Léon, Cornouaille and Vannes. The ermine canton recalls the ducal arms of Brittany.

The flag first came to notice by a wider public at the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris in 1925. It was adopted by various cultural and nationalist groups through the 1920s and 1930s. However, its association with nationalist and separatist groups during the Second World War brought suspicions of collaboration on the flag. A revival of interest in the flag took place in the 1960s, since when it has lost an association with separatism in the mind of the public and become a widely accepted symbol for all Brittany and Bretons. The older ermine field flag and black cross continue to be used, though, by some individuals and groups.

In blazons, the flag is "Sable, four bars Argent; the canton ermine". Traditionally, coats of arms could be displayed as a rectangular banner, as well as on a shield.

ee also



*Guide des drapeaux bretons et celtes (English: Guide of Breton and Celtic flags) by Divi Kervella and Mikael Bodlore-Penlaez, published by Yoran Embanner (in French), (2008) ISBN 978-2-916579-12-2

External links

* [http://banniel.geobreizh.com/www/banniel/en-drapeaux-gwennhadu.asp "Bannieloù Breizh", the vexillological and heraldical association of Brittany] (in English)
* [http://gwennhadu.geobreizh.com Gwenn ha du, a website to discover the Breton flag story] (in French)

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