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Flag 1916-1917 (Thailand)


Last modified: 2005-12-03 by eugene ipavec
Keywords: siam | stripes: 2 (white) |
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[Siam 1916-1917 (Thailand)]
by Mark Sensen

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The story goes that during the 1916 flood the king of Siam —since 26th June 1939 called Thailand— saw the national flag —red with a white elephant— hanging upside down. Because of the distress a new flag was adopted that couldn't be hung upside down. Initially it was a red field with two white bands, but on 28th September 1917, the middle stripe was changed to blue to show solidarity with the Allies during the First World War. The name of the flag is therefore Trairanga, meaning tricolour. The proportions of the flag are 2:3, while the stripes are arranged 1-1-2-1-1. Sources: Crampton 1992; Jos Poels 1990; Crampton 1991.

From contributions by
Roy Stilling, 21 February 1996
Jan Oskar Engene, 3 October 1996 and
Mark Sensen, 3 March 1997

The story is popular among vexillologists but I have not found the story in Thai flag books.

Nozomi Kariyasu, 23 July 2004

From the Singha Beer source:

After a while the white elephant flag was changed to a striped flag with two horizontal stripes —one red, the other white— flanking a blue stripe running across the middle. In B.E. 2460 [1917 AD], the King issued a decree in which he christened the new national flag —the one that has been in use ever since— the trairanga or tricolor.

Santiago Dotor, 26 October 1999

During the reign of King Vajiravut (1910-1925) the flag was changed to the 5 stripe flag — red and white from 1916-1917. In 1917, the middle red stripe was changed to the blue stripe to make the flag look much better and the blue colour is for Friday — the day King Vajiravut was born (1st January 1880). On 28th September 1917, the Flag Law of 1917 was promulgated and stated that the national flag became the trichelon [sic] flag the one we use today.

Wisarut Bholsithi, 29 October 1999

Civil Ensign 1910-1917 ?

[Civil Ensign 1910-1917 (Thailand)]
The blue border matches the original source's background and is not part of the flag
from the Singha Beer source

From the Singha Beer source:

Khakhai (Merchant-Marine Flag) [ie. Civil Ensign]
This is a rectangular flag with two white parallel stripes on a plain red background.

The flag was first used following an amendment to Royal Decree (R.S.129) issued in B.E.2453 [1910 AD]. Later on however, it was abolished following another amendment, a Royal Decree —Article Two— issued in B.E.2460 [1917 AD].

The image above could well be an ill rendering of the 1916-1917 flag. The only question remains as to the year of approval, 1910 or 1916. Perhaps it was approved in 1910 as a civil ensign and in 1916 as national flag?

Santiago Dotor, 12 November 1999