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Serbia: Karadjordje's uprising (1804-1813)

First Serbian Uprising

Last modified: 2003-01-18 by ivan sache
Keywords: serbia | karadjordje | swords: 2 (blue) | cross (white) | crown (white) | crescent (white) | star: 8 points (yellow) | star: 7 points (yellow) | ocila | firesteel | boar |
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Karadjorje led the so-called first Serbian uprising (1804-1813) against Ottoman Turks. It is known that Habsburg monarchy provided Serbian forces with weapons and other war necessities, as well as flags. There was a flag embroidery store in Sremski Karlovci in wich these flags were made.

Ivan Sarajcic 15 January 1999

See also:

Flags from the Military Museum in Belgrade

The Guidebook of the Military Museum in Belgrade [gmb8x] describes flags from the first Serbian uprising.

On page 45 two flags are shown, The first one is the most famous flag from that period, and it was also showed on several Yugoslav stamps. It is a square banner with painted heraldical emblem consisting of two nut-shaped (mandel) coats of arms - Serbia (cross with four ocila) and Rascia (arrow pierced boars head), Below this on the page, there are some weapons including two different flags (one seems to be monocoloured, the other is red with wide white cross troughout). The flag is ringed on all sides.

The other flag showed on the same page is a banner for vertical hoisting, roughly in ratio 1:1 swallow-tailed with tongue, where indentations reach some 1/3 into the flag. It seems that the flag was yellow or white, and have painted three "Teutonic" crosses (red?) 1/3 from the top.

The text beside these pictures desn't say anything about them, apart from the caption: The banners from the first Serbian uprising. However, on page 48 there is description of the Showcase 9/Room 21, which I believe consists of the aforementioned two flags:

Banner from the early days of the uprising, 1804.
At the beginning of the uprising, the banners were borrowed from churches or some of the haiduk ["partisan" fighters of pre-uprising period] banners were used. Since 1805, Karadjordje and other outstanding leaders ordered banners from Vojvodina. The banners were without any fixed colours or heraldic signs.

Later, on page 49, Showcase 13 is described, but unfortunately there are no images accompaning it:

Banners and clothing of the Serbian regular army from 1809-1810.
The Government Council (
Praviteljstvujuöci sovjet) decided in 1808 to establish a regular army, although the people's army, which in the middle of 1813 numbered about 50,000 men, remained the backbone of the armed forces until the end of the uprising. The banners for the regular insurgent army were made in 1809. They were light yellow with painted symbols on both sides of the banner and with an inscription. The heraldic signs, a cross with characteristic symbols and a wild boar's head pierced with an arrow, were taken from the work of Hristofer Zeferovic - Stematogerfija (Stematogarphy). The cross originates from the Serbian medieval heraldry and the boar's head is an alledged coat of arms of the "Serbian Empire" (it appears for the first time in the 15th century).

On the same page there is a description of another flag:

Commander's banner.
In 1811, when the rank of
voivode was established, red and white banners, probably made in Russia, were also assigned."

Zeljko Heimer, 31 January 1998

Flag from the Valjevo Museum

[Flag from the Valjevo Museum]by Ivan Sarajcic

This flag was found in the belfry of Gracanica church, near Valjevo (Serbia). It is unusual in Serbia, horizontally divided red-blue-red with three tails. The tails are curved triangles. The central emblem contains the cross with four tilted ocila, two branches, crown, cross, and saber.

Source: Vojne zastave Srba do 1918 (Military flags of Serbs untill 1918), Vojni Muzej, Belgrad, 1983.

Ivan Sarajcic 15 January 1999

Unidentified flag

[Unidentified flag, obverse]Obverse, by Ivan Sarajcic

[Unidentified flag, reverse]Reverse, by Ivan Sarajcic

This flag with different backsides was made before 1807. It is another example of unusual colors (blue-red-blue). Besides that, it has white parts, thick red borders and unusual symbols: white crescent with yellow seven-pointed star on the obverse and eight-pointed star on reverse. It is still unindentified, and the only doubtless fact is that it flew with a little Serbian tricolor attached above on the hoist.

Source: Vojne zastave Srba do 1918 (Military flags of Serbs untill 1918), Vojni Muzej, Belgrad, 1983.

Ivan Sarajcic 15 January 1999