Last modified: 2002-12-28 by ivan sache
Keywords: crete | kriti | state flag | naval ensign | star (white) | cross (white) |
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by Santiago Dotor
The following information on flags of Crete comes from exhibits in the Historical Museum in Iraklion (Heraklion), and the Cretan Naval Museum in Hania (Chania).
Crete was part of the Byzantine Empire
from A.D. 395-1204; ruled by Venice from
1204-1669; ruled by the Turkish Ottoman
The Greek mainland, but not Crete, had become independent in 1833, and for the rest of the century the ethnic Greeks in Crete fought for union (enosis) with Greece. In 1898, the island, while still nominally part of the Ottoman Empire, gained autonomy (unilaterally proclaimed in 1908), and in 1913 became an integral part of the Greek state.
Enosis was proclaimed at a flag-raising ceremony in Hania, which is still ceremonially repeated every Sunday.
The following flags were displayed and described in the Naval Museum in Hania, which is located in the fort where the 1913 flag-raising occurred.
Bruce Tindall, 20 May 1996
The flag divided by a white cross, like that of the Dominican Republic. Three of the quarters are blue; the canton is red with a white star inside it. In a couple of pictures of the flag (e.g., one painted on a commemorative porcelain plate along with a portrait of the statesman Venizelos), the star is yellow and/or has one point (pointing towards the upper left corner) longer than the other points. This flag, as well as the Greek plain cross flag, appears on some locally-woven textiles, displayed in the museum, that depict Cretan soldiers and civilians parading with flags.
Bruce Tindall, 20 May 1996
My book of Greek flags [kok97] lists it as the flag of autonomous Crete, 1898-1908. Crete was occupied by the big powers(led by Britain) a little more than 100 years ago and after some discussion became an autonomous province of the Ottoman Empire with Prince George of Greece as governor. It united with Greece in 1908. I don't know if the flag has any legal status now (I doubt it), but I did see it several times being used for Greek patriotic purposes when I was in Greece last year.
Norman Martin, 16 June 1998
This old flag of Crete is shown in an image from a German cigarette card in The World of Flags [cra90]. The author notes that "[Crete and the Ionian Islands] are now integrated into Greece," implying that their flags are no longer in use.
Nick Pharris, 16 June 1998
The naval ensign of the Cretan Principality (1897-1913) was with blue and white stripes - like the Greek flag - but with a white star on a red field in the canton.
Phoevos Panagiotidis, 19 May 1998