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Mecklenburg Historical Flags (Germany)

Last modified: 2006-08-19 by jarig bakker
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[Civil Flag 1863/64-1935 (Mecklenburg, Germany)] 2:3  (1863/4-1918)  (1921-1935 and 1946-1952)
by Marcus Schmöger
Flag adopted by Mecklenburg-Schwerin 23rd December 1863, by Mecklenburg-Strelitz 4th January 1864, abolished 1935, readopted 1946, abolished 1952, readopted as regional flag 1991

See also:


In the 16th and early 17th centuries the region was recurrently divided into two duchies, Mecklenburg-Schwerin (the west) and Mecklenburg-Güstrow (the east). (...) By the Peace of Westphalia (1648) Sweden acquired Wismar and its environs, which it held until 1803. With the extinction of the Güstrow line in 1695, Mecklenburg was again reunited but was then permanently divided by the Treaty of Hamburg (1701). Most of the territory went to Mecklenburg-Schwerin, while Mecklenburg-Strelitz comprised the principality of Ratzeburg in the northwest and the lordship of Stargard in the southeast. (...) The Congress of Viena in 1814-15 recognized them as grand duchies (...). The Nationalsocialist government in 1934 merged the two states into one Land. Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica 1981, vol. VI, p. 742.
Santiago Dotor, 3 October 2000

The house of Mecklenburg was founded by Niklot, prince of the Obotrites, Chizzini and Circipani on the Baltic Sea, who died in 1160. His christian progeny was recognized prince of the Holy Roman Empire in 1170 and duke of Mecklenburg 8 July 1348. On 27 February 1658 the ducal house was divided into two branches: Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Strelitz.
Theo van der Zalm, 15 June 2001

The traditional flag of Mecklenburg was the blue-yellow-red one, used by both entities. (...) Mecklenburg-Schwerin was a coastal province and a civil ensign was adopted with the colours blue-white-red, which were the colours of Rostock — thus with a different origin with respect to the colours of the State flag. So the flag for both Mecklenburgs was the blue-yellow-red (and it always had been so), while Mecklenburg-Schwerin had also a blue-white-red civil ensign which is the flag usually reproduced on old charts and books dealing with maritime flags.
Mario Fabretto, 24 August 1998

I do not quite manage to see the difference between the flags of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Most flags appear to refer only to "Mecklenburg" — does that mean they were the same for both grand duchies?
Santiago Dotor, 28 September 2000

Well, not exactly. In principle, the Grand Duchies agreed to have the same flags, but seem never to get around to deciding which. Of course Mecklenburg-Strelitz without a seacoast did not need sea flags.
Norman Martin, 28 September 2000

The flag of both Mecklenburg duchies is traditionally made up of the colours blue, yellow and red. The sequence however changed more than once in the past 300 years. In 1813 the duchies used yellow-red-blue. According to Ströhl 1897, p. 89, the colours blue-yellow-red were adopted on 23 December 1863 for Schwerin and on 4 January 1864 for Strelitz.
Mecklenburg-Schwerin however used white instead of yellow for flags on sea by law of 24 March 1855 (Ströhl 1897, p. 86).

Siebmacher 1878 gives therefore (?) blue-white-red for Schwerin and blue-yellow-red for Strelitz.
Theo van der Zalm, 15 June 2001

Civil Flag 1863-1935, 1946-1952 and since 1991 (Landesfarben)

Horizontal tricolor blue-yellow-red. Adopted officially by Mecklenburg-Schwerin 23 December 1863, by Mecklenburg-Strelitz 4 January 1864. Used as Landesflagge by both states 1921-1935. Readopted 1946, but abandoned 1952, with the abolition of states in the German Democratic Republic. Readopted as flag of Mecklenburg portion of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania 1991.
Norman Martin, 3 March 1998

Mecklenburg Flags 1918-1935

Znamierowski 1999 labels this flag "Mecklenburg civil flag 1863-1935".
Santiago Dotor, 3 October 2000

[Mecklenburg after 1918:]
Mecklenburg: blue, yellow, red flag adopted 24th May 1923.
Mecklenburg-Schwerin: from November 1918 to 1919: blue-white-red. Later blue-yellow-red.
Mecklenburg-Strelitz: from 1919 to 1923: blue-yellow-red.
Jaume Ollé, 24 August 1998

The history of flags of Mecklenburg is quite complex. After the proclamation of the republic in 1918, Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Strelitz became two separate entities, for the first time with different coats of arms. The traditional flag of Mecklenburg was the blue-yellow-red one, used in the past by both entities, and kept in use by both after 1918 (approved 24th May 1923 for Mecklenburg-Strelitz). In 1933 they were unified again. Mecklenburg-Schwerin was a coastal province and, as in the past, a civil ensign was adopted with the colours blue-white-red, which were the colours of Rostock — thus with a different origin with respect to the colours of the State flag. So the flag for both Mecklenburgs was the blue-yellow-red (and it always had been so), while Mecklenburg-Schwerin had also a blue-white-red civil ensign (...).
Mario Fabretto (?), 24 August 1998

Mecklenburg Flaghistory

My oldest source is 'Flags of the world 1669-1670, a manuscript published by Kl. Sierksma in 1966. In  it Mecklenburgs harbourtown of Rostoch has a red-white-blue flag. >There seems however according to Sierksma to exist an older drawing of the town of Rostock by Vicke Schorler (from 1578-1586) in which the flag is shown.

'Der Geöffnete See-Hafen, Hamburg 1705 shows a flag for the Mecklenburg harbour of Rostock which is blue-white-red. This would follow then the Rostock arms which show a shield with a blue upper half (with a golden griffin in it) and a lower half parted in white and red.
This same flag is shown on 'Flaggen aller seefahrenden Potenzen und Nationen in der gantzen Welt' by Johann Baptist Homann (Nurenburg, mid-18th Century)

Threehundred and six Illustations of the Martime Flags of all Nations, J.S.Hobbs FRSG, London, 1848, gives for Mecklenburg a blue-white-red flag with the Mecklenburg bullshead in the white stripe.

'Flaggen und Banner. Landesfarben aller zivilisierten Staaten der Erde' (Band I 6. Abteilung von Siebmacher Grosses Wappenbuch) von A. Maximilian Gritzner, Nürnberg 1878 gives four flags of Mecklenburg.
The Standard of the grandduke of M-Schwerin (3.75m high; 5.625m long) is blue-white red. In the middle is a white quadrant (1.75m high and 2.00m wide). In it are the middle arms of Mecklenburg (so the shield with crown and supporters, looking out in the drawing).
The 'Landes- und Handelsflagge' of M-Schwerin and as it seems of M-Strelitz is given as plain blue-white-red. Gritzner remarks however that it is now (1878) only used as Landesflagge by M-Strelitz.
For M-Strelitz he gives a standard blue-yellow-red with just the Mecklenburg shield in oval shape in the yellow stripe, somewhat to the left.
As Landesflagge of M-Strelitz he gives plain blue-yellow-red.

According to 'Die Orden, Wappen unf Flaggen aller Regenten und Staaten' published by Moritz Ruhl Verlag, Leipzig 1887, the Flag of both duchies is blue-white-red. The 'Landesfarben' however blue-yellow-red. While as Cocarde he gives yellow-red-blue (from the outside in).

Hugo Gerhard Ströhl then gives a granddukal standard as the arms. For other members of the grandukal house there exists an official standard laid down in a 'Verordnung' from 23-12-1863 blue-yellow-red with the arms in the yellow stripe. It was according to Ströhl never used however.
According to Ströhl the 'Seeflagge' for the grandduke and the members of his house was blue-white-red with the middle arms in the white stripe. It was also used on inner waters.
The grandduke of M-Strelitz according to Ströhl used a standard blue-white-red with a white quadrant in the middle showing the middle arms.
Further Ströhl states that by Verordnung of 25-3-1855 the Seeflagge von
Mecklenburg is blue-white-red.
As Cocarde Ströhl gives blue-yellow-red (from the outside in).
Then he states that the colours of Meckleburg have been changed many times.
In 1813 both duchies united their soldiers with cocardes of red, blue and gold, later gold, red and blue, he says.

The Landesflagge for both duchies was laid down in a Verordnung (23-12-1863) for M-Schwerin and 4-1-1864 for M-Strelitz) as being blue-yellow-red.
Theo van der Zalm, 21 Jul 2002