The flag of the Åland Islands consists of a Swedish flag defaced with a red Nordic cross intended to symbolize Finland. The flag was first hoisted on April 3, 1954 in the capital city Mariehamn. The flag resembles the flag of Sweden because the Island was once owned by Sweden who surrendered it to the Russians before it was finally captured by the British and French. It was later declared Finnish territory.

Like many other Nordic States, the flag of the Åland Islands is dominated by the Nordic Cross. The flag primarily resembles the flag of Sweden but with a red cross defacing the yellow cross. The Swedish cross resembles the island's historical relationship with Sweden while the red cross represents its association with Finland.

After Finland became independent from Russia in 1917, many living on the island feared that they would lose their Swedish culture and language. They therefore mobilized to reunite with Sweden. Sweden, Russia, and Finland all claimed the island before the League of Nations declared it a Finnish territory that would be autonomous. An unofficial blue-yellow-blue triband flag was in use between 1922 until 1954.

While several flags were developed in between 1922 and 1954, the blue and yellow colors emerged as a favorite among all the flags. The two colors were associated with the Swedish flag and the coat of arms. In 1950 a design resembling the flag of Sweden but with a blue cross within the yellow cross was presented to the Finnish president, but he rejected the proposal because it was too similar to the Swedish flag. Other alternatives included a Finnish flag with a yellow flag within the blue cross and the Swedish flag with a red cross within the yellow cross. The latter was adopted as the official flag. At first, the red color was controversial and not appealing to the people of Finland, but the government stated that the color had been adopted form the Finish coat of arms

This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018

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