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Esperanto flag

Esperanta flago

Last modified: 2000-04-28 by antonio martins
Keywords: esperanto | star: 5 points (green) | canton | e | jubilea simbolo | ee | verda stelo | contest |
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[Esperanto flag]
by António Martins, 04 Jun 1999
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Esperanto accounts for more than 99% of all published material on interlinguistics, and probbably much more than 99% of the speakers of all constructed languages.
António Martins, 04 June 1999

Origin and symbolism of the flag

The Esperanto flag: green 2:3, white 1:1 canton with 0,35 radius green 5 pointed regular star pointing upwards centered on it.

According to [rod97], both a star and the green color were associated to Esperanto quite soon, following a call for it from B. G. Jonson, a Swedish Esperantist. Louis de Beaufront (who later become adept of Ido) proposed and initiated the usage of publishing books written in Esperanto with their covers green and with a star on it. The idea caught on and soon the green color and the star symbol were all over in Esperanto written books and periodicals. However nothing was fixed for the exact design of the star neither for its color — it was often golden, on the green background.

In 1893, were used the first lapel pins with a green star on a white background, by C. Rjabinis and P. Deullin, in a design used until today. The meaning of this symbol was, as usual, coined a posteriori — said to stand for the hope (green) of the five continents untited (5-pointed star) in common understanding and peace (white color)...

António Martins, 04 Jun 1999

Earlier versions

[1905 E-o flag]
by António Martins, 04 Jun 1999

Still according to [rod97], the Esperanto flag was approved during the Esperanto Universal Congress, in 1905, held at Boulogne-sur-Mer (France). Originnally the flag of the local Esperanto Club, who organized the congress, it had a design similar to the one in current use: The main differences in respect to the current flag are the proportions — it is described as being 120 cm wide and with a top hoist canton of 50 x 50 cm. Since nothing is said about the height, the image above was made in 9:12, with a 6:6 canton, which more or less coincides with my recollection of old photos. (Star in the current 70% ratio.)
António Martins, 04 Jun 1999

[1905 E-o flag proposal]
by António Martins, 04 Jun 1999

Rodríguez [rod97] says that Duchois, Michaux and Sargeant, main organizers of the congress considered the adoption of french tricolor stripe, but soon rejected it. I can see the motive for the refusal (a national, not an international symbol), but not for the proposal! I guess the original club flag lacked this stripe and the image above shows it in the bottom in short of any better idea (but this is more a yugoslavian tricolor...)
António Martins, 04 Jun 1999

The jubilee symbol

[Esperanto Jubilee symbol]
by António Martins, 04 Jun 1999

The new jubilee symbol (jubilea simbolo), was chosen in contest by the Universal Esperanto Association while preparing the first centenial of the language, in 1987. Called derogatively by some as the melono (mellon), it was designed by a Brazilian esperantist. (It is my personal theory that he was (subconciously?) influenced by a quite similar logo, used by some Brazilian communications company, I saw in an old stamp. I asked in Lusovex about it, but no one remembered, so I might be wrong.)

While it was not aimed to replace the green star, this logo grew well outside its original usage scope. Even if today it is half forgotten, it knew a quite wide usage during the 1990’ies, especialy by “modern” Esperantists — while traditionalist ones felt some discontempt towards this new logo, who “menaced” to replace the role of nia kara stelo. Since one of the “behavior” differences between these two groups was the almost complete avoidance of pins, flags and other “eccentric looking” displays by the “modernists” (contrasting with a frequently ridiculous and folkloric ornamentation used by the “traditionalists”, namely in flags), the new symbol was quite seldom used in flags, but some in-betweeners of these two tendences soon adapted the new symbol in the old-style usage. (Note that here I’ve over-simplified the quite complex micro-social situation of the current esperanto-speaking community.)
António Martins, 04 June 1999

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