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Aargau canton (Switzerland)

Last modified: 2002-01-12 by pascal gross
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[Flag of Aargau]
by António Martins
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Description of the flag

Per pale, dexter: sable, a fess wavy argent, charged with two cotises wavy azure; sinister: sky blue, three mullets of five argent.

Vertically divided into equal parts: The hoist is black with a central white wavy band divided into three parts by two thin wavy blue lines. The fly is light blue with three five-pointed white stars. In correct heraldic practice, there is no distinction between shades of blue.

Symbolism of the flag

The black in the hoist is the good fertile earth of Aargau, through which runs the river Aare. (A fess wavy normally represents a river.) The two blue "cotises" represent the Reuss and Limmat rivers which drain into the Aare. The fly's three stars in a blue sky denote the three major regions making up the new Canton: the County (earldom) of Baden, the Free Bailies, and the Frick Valley.

History of the flag

Until the 15th century the region of Aargau was under Austrian control. In 1415 the Swiss Confederation conquered it, with most of the towns coming under Bernese control. The other seven Cantons jointly administered the remainder under bailiffs. In 1712 the catholic cantons lost their control and the region was divided between Zurich and Bern. In 1798 Aargau was created as a Canton of the Helvetic Republic, and in 1803 it became one of the six new Cantons of the restored Confederation.

The flag was designed in 1803 by Samuel Ringier-Seelmatter with no reference to previous heraldic devices of the region. Earlier versions of the "blazon" did not specify two blue cotises, and the flag was often represented with the white wavy fess divided into four parts by thin black wavy lines. The blazon also did not specify the position of the mullets in the fly, so there were several interpretations. The current design of two above and one below was established by law in 1930, and the stars were specified as five-pointed. In Swiss heraldry, stars normally have six points.

T.F.Mills, 02 November 1997

Variations of the flag

[Flag of Aargau]
by António Martins

This variation has the sinister field in the prescribed "pale blue", leaving the cotises in azure. António Martins, 02 January 1998

[Flag of Aargau]
by António Martins

This is the black three cotises variation. (Based on Todd's excellent text posted 97.11.03)
António Martins, 02 January 1998

Other variations refered to by Todd, especially on the arrangement of the stars and the number of their points, I couldn't gif properly due to lack of precise descriptions.
António Martins, 02 January 1998

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

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