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Jura canton (Switzerland)

Last modified: 2002-01-12 by pascal gross
Keywords: switzerland | jura | canton | stripe | crozier |
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[Flag of Jura]
by T.F. Mills
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Description of the flag

Per pale argent and gules; 1: a bishop's crozier countercoloured; 2: three bars argent.

Divided vertically into equal parts white (hoist) and red (fly). In the hoist is a red bishop's crozier with crook turned toward the staff, and in the fly three horizontal white bands. A frequent error shows black fimbriation on the palar line as well as outlining the crozier and separating the stripes.

T.F. Mills, 05 November 1997

Symbolism of the flag

The red and white colours and the bishop's crozier symbolise the bishopric of Basel which had jurisdiction over Jura from the 14th century to 1815. The seven stripes in the fly represent the districts of Jura, and since only three voted to join the new canton, the three white ones came to represent Porrentruy, Delémont, and Les Franches-Montagnes.

T.F. Mills, 05 November 1997

The flag of Jura canton has seven stripes, representing the seven districts which were recognized as the Jurassian people by the Bernese constitution in 1950. Those were: Ajoie, Delémont, Franches-Montagnes, Moutier, Courtelary, La Neuveville and Laufen.

Pascal Monney, 05 February 1998

History of the flag

From 1815 the districts of Jura were in the northern French border region of Canton of Bern. A separatist movement emerged in the 1940s, and heraldic artist Paul Boesch designed its flag in 1943. In 1951 the Bernese Council officially sanctioned the emblem as a regional flag, but this did not defuse the separatist struggle. In 1978 a Swiss national referendum approved the creation of a new canton, but only three of the seven Jura districts voted to secede into the Canton of Jura which took effect on 1 January 1979. One (Laufen) voted to join Basel-Land instead, and three others (Courtelary, La Neuveville, and Moutier) elected to remain in Bern. Separatists continue to agitate for the restoration of the unity of all seven districts in the new Canton.

The admission of Jura to the Swiss Confederation in 1979 placed the total number of cantons at the current twenty-three (not counting three half-cantons of Appenzell, Basel and Unterwalden). Half-cantons are equal to full cantons in all respects except that they each have their own autonomous cantional government and send one delegate instead of two to the Council of States (equivalent to the U.S. Senate).

T.F. Mills, 05 November 1997

It is known as the "historic Jura", which is not correct as it was bigger in fact, enclosing about 7 centuries the city of Biel / Bienne (one of the five official bilingual cities in Switzerland -- Fribourg, Morat, Sion and Sierre), and two other small entities Birseck and three exclaves in the current german Bade-Württemberg (villages of Schliengen, Istein and Binzen).

But the separatist movement which led to the creation of the Canton of Jura was "linguisticaly" orientated through its leader Roland Béguelin whose admiration for France had no limits. So, they didn't wanted to include the German speaking district of Laufen, wich became part of Basel Land Canton in 1992.

The struggle for the creation was hard and two people where killed. It seems for many to be very few, but in regard to Switzerland's stability and democracy it's just incredible! Only the three northern districts became the Jura, but they kept the old flag.

The hope for the return of the southern part are in a good move, as in 1994, a federally commended commission edited a report on the solution for the "Jurassian Question" as known here, and it was unanimously the creation of a new canton of 6 districts (Laufen could choose its own way, which was not with Jura.) The Bernese government refused right away! But today there are talks to find solutions and the populations understanding is changing. The main southern Jurassian city will organise a plebiscite this year to became part of Jura. It will not be recognised by the Bernese government, unless there is a good participation.

The Bernese loyalists use in their newspaper another flag to represent the Jura. It has only three band (two reds and one white).

Pascal Monney, 05 February 1998

The city of Moutier organized a plebiscite in November 1998, but unexpectedly, the voters refused by 41 votes to become part of Jura. However, public opinion in the southern part is evolving and the Interjurassian Assembly (which is formed by 24 people from both northern and southern Jura) and which has the mandate to find a resolution to the situation has defined three 
solutions. The first is the Status Quo,the second is the creation of a new canton of Jura with this time the 6 French districts, and the last is a greater canton together with Neuchâtel and both Juras. This assembly is charged with determining the best solution, to be chosen this year.

Pascal Prince, 23 January 2000

Flaggen, Knatterfahnen and Livery Colours




[livery colours]

by Pascal Gross

Flaggen are vertically hoisted from a crossbar in the manner of gonfanon, in ratio of about 2:9, with a swallowtail that indents about 2 units. The chief, or hoist (square part) usually incorporates the design from the coat of arms - not from the flag. The fly part is always divided lengthwise, usually in a bicolour, triband or tricolour pattern (except Schwyz which is monocolour, and Glarus which has four stripes of unequal width). The colours chosen for the fly end are usually the main colours of the coat of arms, but the choice is not always straight forward.

Knatterfahnen are similar to Flaggen, but hoisted from the long side and have no swallow tail. They normally show the national, cantonal or communal flag in their chiefs.

Zeljko Heimer, 16 July 2000