Flag of Switzerland

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Missing image

Flag ratio: 1:1
Flag of the Canton of Schwyz
Flag of the Canton of Schwyz

The Flag of Switzerland (Vexillological symbol: Missing image

) consists of a red square with a bold, equilateral white greek cross in the center of the flag. The length of each arm is 1/6 longer than its width and, though formally unestablished, the span of the cross is typically sized 2:3 or 7:10 to the span of the flag. The civil and state ensign has proportions of 2:3 but keeps the cross unchanged.

The flag is based on that of the Canton of Schwyz. The ultimate origin of the white cross is attributed by three competing legends: To the Theban legion, to the Reichssturmfahne attested from the 12th century, and to the Arma Christi that were especially venerated in the three forest cantons, and which they were allegedly allowed to display on the formerly uniformly red battle flag from 1289 by king Rudolph I of Habsburg at the occasion of a campaign to Besanon. The oldest surviving specimen of a flag of Schwyz dates to the Burgundy wars (1474–77). The illustrated chronicles show an asymmetrical white cross, drawn in greater detail, including the body of Christ, and the equilateral cross became predominant only in the later 17th century.

Use of a white cross as a mark of identification of the combined troops of the Old Swiss Confederacy is first attested in the Battle of Laupen (1339), were it was sown on combatants' clothing as two stripes of textile, contrasting with the red St. George's cross of Habsburg Austria, and with the St. Andreas' cross used by Burgundy and Maximilian I. Civilian use of the white cross as a symbol of the confederacy is attested from the 16th century. From the 17th century, the white cross was carried on the banners of all cantonal troops, on the background of the cantonal colours. General Niklaus Franz von Bachmann used the white cross in a red field in 1800 and 1815, and following this use, the symbol was adopted as national symbol in the federal contract of 1815 (see also Switzerland in the Napoleonic era). General Guillaume-Henri Dufour proposed use of the flag for the federal forces in 1840, and in 1889 the federal council defined the 1/6th proportion of the cross's members, while the ratio of the cross to the square field, or the shield in the case of the coat of arms, remained unspecified.

The flag of the International Committee of the Red Cross is based on the Swiss flag, with the colours reversed.

National flags
List of national flags | List of national coats of arms

See also: List of cantonal flags of Switzerlandde:Flagge der Schweiz es:Bandera de Suiza fr:Drapeau de la Suisse he:דגל שוויץ it:Bandiera svizzera nl:Vlag van Zwitserland ja:スイスの国旗 pt:Bandeira da Sua fi:Flag of Switzerland


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