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Poland - XIX century flags

Last modified: 2011-05-06 by andrew weeks
Keywords: poland | europe | eagle | crown | napoleon | russian empire | warsaw | saint andrew | saltire |
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Grand Duchy of Warsaw

The Grand Duchy of Warsaw was founded in 1807 (under the King of Saxony; Napoleon became Grand Duke in 1809, if I recall correctly). Included roughly the central and southeastern modern-day Poland. As Boney set it up as a restored rump Polish state, can we assume that it used the white-over-red?

In 1815 most of it became the Kingdom of Poland, which was supposed to be autonomous within the Russian Empire. I'm pretty sure that used the Polish colours until its suppression in 1830.
Roy Stilling,, 26 January 1996

Information about Polish XIX century flags on FOTW pages are incomplete. Grand Duchy of Warsaw was Napoleon's satellite state 1807-1815, but Napoleon never had been the Duke of it. The Duke was Saxonian king, Friedrich August. Grand Duchy of Warsaw had flag horizontally white-amaranth.
After Congress in Vienna 1815 Grand Duchy was divided into three parts:
Kingdom of Poland, Grand Duchy of Poznan and Free City of Cracow.
Grzegorz Skrukwa, 6 Apr 2000

It is very hard to tell what exactly flag was used in the Grand Duchy of Warsaw, but this could be rather red flag with white (silver) coat of arms - white eagle (like this one shown in Kingdom of Poland).
Peter 'Mikolaj' Mikolajski, 18 Sept 2000


Kingdom of Poland

[Kingdom of Poland] by Adam Kromer, from his website

Flag of Kingdom of Poland [Congressional] This flag was used in 1784-1787 as banner of Black Sea Trade Company. Constituted by Czar Alexander I as banner or flaf of Kingdom of Poland (flag's descriptions are not precise, because call it flag, banner or even war banner). This flag was certainly used since 1827 by two Vistula's steam ships.
Adam Kromer, translated by Peter 'Mikolaj' Mikolajski, 18 Sept 2000

"The flag of the dependent Kingdom of Poland (so nominated after the Napoleonic wars) has a a white field with the blue cross of St. Andrew, which proclaims Russian suzerainty. Upon the red canton is a crowned spread eagle." This flag is based on Laurie's flagchart (1842), as depicted on p. 71 of Wilson's 'Flags at Sea', 1986. Is this eagle roughly similar to traditional Polish eagles, like the one on their flag now? Also, there's no word on official usage - I didn't think the Russians were real big on emphasizing Polish separateness. In fact, I thought even the legal existance of the Kingdom had been abolished by the Czars at some time before this. Anyway, wouldn't Poland be de facto independent from Russia by 10/17?
Josh Fruhlinger, 17 February 1996

I don't know of any use of the blue saltire on white as a Belarussian flag as such, although it was (with a white Polish eagle on red as canton) used as the flag of "the kingdom of Poland" from 1815 to 1917 (this is the kingdom whose king was the Czar and which was somewhat autonomous until 1848)
Norman Martin, 30 Sept 1999

Was this flag (i.e. blue on white saltaire with white eagle on red canton) actually in use until 1917? All the references I checked state that the so-called Kingdom of Poland was suppressed in 1864 and the Russian-held Polish lands were officially incorporated into the Russian Empire. Was the flag continued after that date? If so, it would seem to contradict the Russian policy of obliterating even an appearance of Polish autonomy.
Edward Smith, 4 Oct 1999

Kingdom of Poland, so called "Congress Kingdom" with capital in Warsaw, was autonomous, with Russian Tzar as ruler. 1815-1831 it had flag as it is shown on this page (Russian St. Andrew's blue saltire with Polish eagle in canton). During November Uprising agains Tzar in 1831, Polish Parliament (Sejm) abolished this flag and adopted as Polish national flag
horizontal white-red bicolor. After suppression of Uprising, the Czar didn't restore the flag. Of course he also didn't accept white-red flag. Till WWI only Russian flags and Russian imperial COAs were legal. Even municipal COAs were prohibited. 1864 Kingdom was renamed into Vistula Land (Russian: Priwislinskij Kraj, Polish: Kraj Przywislanski).
Grzegorz Skrukwa, 6 Apr 2000

St. Andrew's blue saltire with Polish eagle in canton was designed for warships of Vistula fleet about 1815. This flag officially abolished in Russia 12 april 1833.
Victor Lomantsov, 7 Apr 2000

As far I know the polish flag in the national uprising of 1830-1831: the nationalists used red and white flag dividsed diagonally, with hoist lower part red and fly upper part white. Perhaps this flag was used before the ephemeral adoption of the white-red flag in late 1831.
Jaume Ollé,16 Apr 2000

History of Poland is very complicated. Poland was part of Russian Empire, but (using today's terms) was occupied by Russia. Poland has dethroned Russian Czar's dynasty but they called themselves Kings of Poland until 1918.
Peter 'Mikolaj' Mikolajski, 18 Sept 2000


Kingdom of Poland (Congressional) 1815-1830 flag

[Kingdom of Poland 1815-1830 flag] by Adam Kromer, from his website.

Czar's Ensign of Kingdom of Poland (Congressional) used on land only. This is Czar's banner rather than flag.
Adam Kromer, translated by Peter 'Mikolaj' Mikolajski, 18 Sept 2000


Flag of 1815

[Flag of 1815] by Adam Kromer, from his website.

November Uprising (1830-1831)

[November Uprising (1830-1831)] by Adam Kromer, from his website.

Flag of Poland - constituted by Polish parliament in 1831. Flag is white-amarant.
Adam Kromer, translated by Peter 'Mikolaj' Mikolajski, 18 Sept 2000


Polish revolt of 1863

[Ensign used in the polish revolt of 1863] by Jaume Ollé

According to Cronologia Enciclopédica do Mundo Moderno (Encyclopedic Chronology of the Modern World), the Poles started an insurrection at 22 January 1863 against the Russian Empire. At 8 February 1863, Prussia formed an alliance with Russia to repress this revolt and in March, Russia divided Poland in provinces.
Jorge Candeias, 21 March 1998


January Uprising (1863-1864) flag

[January Uprising (1863-1864) flag] by Adam Kromer, from his website.

During the January Uprising different flags were used (white-red flags were also used). White-crimson-blue flags were used as revolutionary flags and democratic flags. Colors were similar to colours of French Revolution, but shades of red and blue were national. Coat of arms was type which was constituted by authorities of Uprising.
Adam Kromer, translated by Peter 'Mikolaj' Mikolajski, 18 Sept 2000