Flag of Greece

Picture of the Flag of GreeceThe Flag of Greece consists of nine blue and white alternating horizontal stripes with a blue square on the top left that contains a white cross.

According to the popular belief, the blue and white colors of the flag represent the color of the sea and waves that engulf the country in all sides but the north. The stripes are nine, as many as the letters in the greek word for freedom (eleytheria). According to anohter popular belief, the stripes of the Greek flag represent the syllables in the phrase "eleftheria h thanatos" (Freedom or Death) which became the soundbite of the Greek war of independence against the Ottoman empire. The cross represents the country's deeply rooted tradition in orthodox christianity.

During the war of independence against the Othoman empire, Andreas Londos raised the first Greek flag over the town of Vostitsa in the Northen Peloponnese at a date around March 25th (Julian Calendar). Vostitsa was one of the first towns to be liberated a few days after Kalamata, and this Greek flag was comprised of a black cross over a red background (Brewer, David. The Greek War of Independence: The Overlook Press, 2001).

Very soon afterwards, this original flag was replaced by one that had no stripes, and insted it featured a white cross from edge to egde on a blue square background. You might still see this flag flying around in Greece today, but the striped version has all but replaced it.The flag used by the independence army in the 1820's had the same configuration, but the oposite colors: blue cross on white.

Next: History of Greece


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