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[Chopes flag]
by Ivan Sache

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From Franciae Vexilla #8/54, January 1998, notes by M. Corbic:

In the middle of the XIXth century, along with the revival of Serbian and Bulgarian, appears the idea of a Balkanic Federation. In Bucarest, the Prime Minister Mihail Kogalniceanu, supported by Prince Ion Cuza, designed in 1863 the flag of Romanian-speaking peoples of Southern Danube, a.k.a. Chopes or Torvlaks.

The flag has five horizontal stripes, red-yellow-blue- yellow-black (R/Y+/B-/Y+/N). Red stands for national freedom and culture gained by the Romanians of the North Danube, yellow for the Danubian plain, light blue for Danube which both separates and unifies the same people, and black for the darkness in which the Valach-Romanians of the South-Danube still live.

The flag was used in 1867 by the South-Danube nationalists, in 1877-1878 by the Chop volunteers during the Ottoman wars, and in 1919 for the revendication of the rights of Romanain-speaking peoples of South-Danube during the Paris conference. Later on, its use was clandestine because of Serbian and Bulgarian repression.

[The definition of the Chop people seems to be difficult and controversial and the article is not very clear. It seems that these people are spread over western Bulgaria and eastern Yugoslavia, and have lost the moravo-romanian language spoken by their ancestors, and were not recognized as a nationality by the Yugoslav and Bulgarian regimes. However, more objective data are needed, knowing the virulent anti-communism of Franciae Vexill.]
Ivan Sache, 09 October 1999

Chopes seems to be derived from 'Tchobani', the Albanian word for 'shepherds'; 'Vlakh' was the name Germans and Slavs used for Latin speaking people, in Italy, Switzerland, but also in Wallachia. Torvlak (I suppose) points at the Vlakhs near the Iron Gate in the Danube, but I might be wrong. In the very heavy L'Europe et ses Populations, by A & Y Miroglio, 1978, these tribes in the Balkans are collectively called 'Macedo-Roumains', to wit: Aroumains, Vlaques, Tsintsari, Coutzo-Vlaques, Farcherots (in French); Armani, Vlahi, Ta^ntari, Cuto-Vlahi, Pa^rseroti (in Romanian). So the Chopes may be related to the Morlaks, etc.
Jarig Bakker, 10 October 1999

I do not know much about this, but comparing the names of these people with some names given in the article from Yugoslav Encyclopedia I translated and posted not so long ago, it could be concluded that these are the same or at least very much realted people as several "Morovalachian" (I put this in quotes as there are so many names for them, and I do not remember if this one is appropriate) groups in Macedonia.

I was not aware that they were ever so numerous (and "progresive" in a sense of developed national feeling) as to make a political movement..

It is well known that in Bulgaria it was particularly strong tendency of (official) national assimilation after WWII, that it is not surprising that there are some things that were hidden for us
Zeljko Heimer, 10 October 1999

In Geschiedenis der Europeesche Volken, J. G. Kohl, 1874 (translated from German) I read this on p. 108: 'In the nationality-wars, which broke out in 1849 on the borders of the Danube the Wallachians gave the Western European watchers the magnificent spectacle of armies led by "Centurions" and "Decurions" and on their banners and flags the classical letters S. P. Q. R. (Senatus Populusque Romanus)' He quotes books of Countess Dora d'Istria, a daughter of the Wallachian Prince Ghika. She sympathized especially with the Italian freedomfighters, whom she called brothers of the Wallachians.
Jarig Bakker, 10 October 1999

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