Greek Flag

Greek Flag The Greek Flag, also known as the “sky – blue – white” or “blue – white”, is one of the national symbols of Greece. Its top left corner bears a white cross on a blue background, while the rest consists of nine blue and white alternating stripes. The white cross symbolizes Eastern Orthodox Christianity, the established religion of Greeks and Cypriots, while the nine stripes correspond to the nine syllables of the phrase “Eleftheria i Thanatos” meaning “Freedom or Death” (the five blue stripes symbolizing “Eleftheria” and the four white ones “i Thanatos”). According to other theories, the stripes symbolize the nine letters of the word “Eleftheria” (Freedom) or the nine Muses, the Ancient Greek goddesses of arts and civilization.

The pattern was adopted by the First National Assembly at Epidavros in 1822, during the Greek War for Independence. The colours blue and white have been thought to symbolize the Greek sky and sea, along with their clouds and waves respectively. However, the specific reason why the Assembly decided to use this pattern and colouring remains unknown.

After the establishment of the Kingdom of Greece in 1832, Otto, the new King, added his royal coat of arms in the centre of the cross. This was later replaced by a simple crown, when King George I arrived in Greece in 1863. In 1924, when the Second Hellenic Republic was established, the crowns were removed from all flags. The land flag would be used by ministries, embassies and all civil and military services, while the sea flag would be used by naval vessels, consulates and citizens. The crown was restored along with monarchy in 1935 and was removed by the Regime of the Colons in 1967. The sea flag was established as the sole national flag in 1969 with a very dark blue as a colour, while the land flag was restored after the restoration of Democracy in 1974. Finally, in 1978, the sea flag became once again the sole national flag of Greece.

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