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Wallachia and Moldavia, 1859-61

Last modified: 2005-07-23 by rob raeside
Keywords: wallachia | moldavia | romania |
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Civil ensign, 1859/60-61

The civil ensign become the horizontal tricolour red, yellow and blue (proportion circa 1:3), with a blue flame over it. Until 1861 this flag was used together with the old civil ensigns of the two principates, so that three different flags were used by ships of the same country! On 22 June 1861 Prince Cuza, under pressure from Ottoman empire, decreed that the civil ensign for both principalities would be the tricolour, resolving this ambiguous situation.

Mario Fabretto, 10 September 1996

War flag and ensign, 1859-1861

[War flag and ensign, 1859-1861] by Mario Fabretto

On the tricolour (in the more common 2:3 proportions) were placed emblems for Walachia and for Moldavia.

On 11 December 1861 the State renamed itself Romania (which was officially recognised abroad only in 1878) and the capital moved to Bucharest. It was not until 1866 that the vertical tricolour finally became the national flag of Romania. In the meanwhile the horizontal red-yellow-blue flag was used while the war ensign in 1863 changed its emblem, replacing the old one with an eagle bearing the crowned shield of the state on his breast, holding a sword and a sceptre and with the words "HONOR ET PATRIA" on a ribbon.

Mario Fabretto, 10 September 1996


The following sources were used for the pages on the principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia:

  • CISV archives.
  • D. Cernovodeanu (1979), 'Les origines lointaines du drapeau tricolore roumain' in Acts of VIII International Congress of Vexillology.
  • D. Cernovodeanu (1987), 'Flags of the navy and merchant marine of Wallachia and Moldavia, the United Principalities, and Romania 1834-1897', Report of the 10th International Congress of Vexillology in The Flag Bulletin XXVI:1-3/120.
  • D. Cernovodeanu (1989a), 'Merchant Flags of Wallachia and Moldavia in the 19th century', Report of the 12th International Congress of Vexillology in The Flag Bulletin XXVIII:1-4/130 1989.
  • D. Cernovodeanu (1983), 'Les pavillons de la marine militaire et de la marine de commerce de Valachie et de Moldavie, puis des principautés unies, enfin de Roumanie au 19e siècle (1834-1897)' in Vexilla Belgica VII, n.7 1983.
  • G.S Benson (1970), 'The early National flags of Walachia and Moldavia' in The Flag Bulletin IX.
  • Flaggen Almanack: Flaggen mit Guidons, Cornetten und Wimpeln in alphabetisher Ordnung nebst den Cocarden aller Nationen, Hamburg: Deppermann & Ruschke (anon.1844).
  • J.W. Norie and J.S. Hobbs (1848), 306 Illustrations of the Maritime Flags of all Nations arranged geographically, 1848.
  • A. Le Gras (1858), Album des pavillons, guidons et flammes de toutes les puissances maritimes.
  • Vexilloteca n.3: Flags of Romania, (anon.1994)

Mario Fabretto, 10 September 1996