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Principality and Kingdom of Montenegro (1782-1918)

Last modified: 2003-04-05 by ivan sache
Keywords: montenegro | cypher | civil ensign | cross (white) | order of independence | army flag | vucji do | lion (yellow) | eagle: double-headed (white) |
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[Kingdom of Montenegro]by Zeljko Heimer

See also:

National flag (c. 1880)

Montenegro gained independence as principality in 1852, and was proclaimed kingdom in 1910.

Until 1918, Montenegro used a horizontally divided light red-blue-white flag with a red crown and the 'letters' H.I. [in cyrillic N and Roman number 1 for Nicola I, king of Montenegro] below the crown in the middle of the blue stripe. H.I. stands for the Cyrillic letter N and the Roman number 1, for Nikola I, Prince (1860-1910) and King (1910-1918) of Montenegro. On 10 August 1910. the day of golden jubilee for his 50 years of rule and 50 years of marriage with Princess Milena, Nikola I proclaimed itself King.
According to W. Smith [smi80], the flag of Montenegro dates back to the 1880s and is based on the Serbian flag.

Zeljko Heimer & Marko Vujosevic , 22 January 2003

Internationaal Seinboek (c. 1920) shows the same flag but with the crown yellow instead of red. The Encyclopedia of Flags [zna99] also shows it on p. 117, with caption: Montenegro (1881-1918).

Jarig Bakker, 18 August 2000

State flag

[State flag]by Andrey Rukkas

The state flag of Montenegro was horizontally divided red-blue-white with a crowned, double-headed silver eagle and a golden lion.

Source: Kral' Nikola. Izbrane Diela (King Nicholas, Selected works) Cetinje: Obod, 1997 - 1000 p.

Andrey Rukkas, 19 February 2001

Coat of arms

The coat of arms of Montenegro is:

Gules, a double-headed eagle argent beaked, membered and tongued or, bearing an escutcheon: azure, a lion passant or on a champagne vert.

François Velde, 30 June 1995

Flag with Nikola I's Cross

According to FlagMaster 075/076, the other well-known flag from this period was a simplified version which had the cross of the Order of Independance with the same initials. This flag was featured during the return of the King Nikola's remains to Cetinje in 1989. It had also been proposed as the national flag for the independent kingdom reconstituted by the Italians on 12 June 1941.

Zeljko Heimer, 24 Febuary 1997

Nikola I's cross appeared on flags in Montenegro around 1860. The cross is white, with Nikola's cypher in a shape similar to the German Iron Cross. The war flags (or flags of military units) had a large cross on a red field. They had a golden or white border and were square.

Zeljko Heimer, 23 May 1999

Civil ensign

Around 1880, Nikola I's cross was placed in the canton of a red-white-red triband as the civil ensign, and soon afterwards on Montenegrin tricolour, also in canton.

Zeljko Heimer, 23 May 1999

The Encyclopedia of Flags [zna99] says: 'In 1880 Montenegro adopted a merchant ensign, a tricolor similar to that of Serbia with a white cross in the center of the red stripe. A year later the cross had been removed, and a crown with the royalcipher "H.I.", for Nikola I, placed in the center.'

Jarig Bakker, 18 August 2000

War flag

[Montenegro Army flag]by Mario Fabretto

This is the old Montenegrian Army flag, more precisely, the war flag c. 1882-1916.

Dave Martucci & Jaume Ollé, 25 April 1998

Unidentified flag

[Unidentified flag of Montenegro]by Jorge Candeias

Here is a flag from Montenegro, red with a white border and a white cross in the centre with the initials HI in red in the center of the cross.

Jorge Candeias, 20 October 1998

The fag from Vucji Do is quite similar to the above flags, but with gold cross and border.
The Montenegro Heritage website shows pictures of this flag and says the following:

"One of especially valuable exhibits kept in Historical Museum of Montenegro is a famous flag from Vucji Do. This warriors' flag, riddled with shots, symbolises a heroic struggle and victory of the Montenegrins in one of the last battles for liberation (1876), which preceded the recognition of independence of Montenegro at the Congress of Berlin 1878. As a symbol of freedom the flag waved at Montenegrin Pavilion, at the Balkans exhibition in London in 1910."

Dov Gutterman, 8 April 2000