The flag of Estonia, known as Eesti Lipp in Estonian, has three equal horizontal colors of blue at the top, followed by black and white. The ratio of its width to its length is 7:11, which is the standard flag size. Estonia adopted the flag on November 21, 1918, after gaining independence. It used the flag up until 1940 when Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union settled in Estonia illegally (1941-44). The flag was re-adopted once more in August 7, 1990. The flag is nicknamed “Sinimustvalge” to mean “blue-black-white.”

The blue color on the flag represents the sky, the sea, and the lakes, symbolizing devotion, loyalty, and faith. Black represents the soil of the country. Black is also used to represent a black coat worn by an Estonian man. Moreover, black symbolizes the dark past experienced by Estonians. The white color represents an attempt towards virtue and enlightenment, symbolizing commitment, hard work, and purity.

The Estonian Students Association (Vironia) designed the flag of Estonia. The student association established itself on September 29, 1881, and was active in Estonia at the University of Tartu. The Soviet Union took over Estonia in 1940 and banned all student organizations. However, the Estonian students’ association continued with its operations secretly. The organization had the mandate to protect the language of Estonia and its cultural traditions. Vironia endorsed the flag with the three horizontal colors of blue, black, and white. Consequently, a private ceremony was held on June 4, 1884, and the flag was officially accepted in the constitution of July 4, 1920. Besides, the Estonian flag was flown during the Russian revolutions of 1905 and 1917.

Previously, there were other versions of the Estonian flag. For example, between 1721-1918, the Russian Empire used the Flag of the Estonian Governorate within its territory. The Russian Empire gained the governorate from Sweden during the Great Northern War in 1721. The flag adopted a horizontal tricolor of green, purple, and white. Furthermore, the Russian empire used the Flag of the Livonian Governorate within its territory. The flag consisted of three horizontal bands of red (top), green, and white. Another version of the flag was the Flag of the Estonian SSR under the Soviet Union (1940-1953). The Soviet Union used a generic red flag, containing the name of the republic. Other current flags are the Flag of the President (on land), Flag of the President (at sea), and the Naval Jack used among the naval forces.

This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018

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