Flag of Georgia (country)

From Academic Kids

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Flag_of_Georgia.png
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Flag ratio: 100:147

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.

Contents

History of the flag

The "five-cross flag" has been used since at least the 13th century. 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 Giorgi V (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 nationalists 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 anti-democratic move.

Earlier flags of Georgia

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Flag_of_Georgia_(1990).png
Flag of Georgia, 1918-1921, 1990-2004

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 (right). 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 following Georgia's independence from the Soviet Union.

Soviet Georgia (1921-1990)

Flag of Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic, 1921-1990
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Flag of Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic, 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 (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

National flags
List of national flags | List of national coats of arms
de:Flagge Georgiens

et:Gruusia lipp fr:Drapeau de la Gorgie it:Bandiera georgiana he:דגל גרוזיה pt:Bandeira da Gergia ja:グルジアの国旗 pl:Flaga Gruzji sv:Georgiens flagga

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