Flag of Estonia

Flag of Estonia
Country Estonia
Population 1,322,765 (2023)
Area (Km²) 42,390 (2023)
Сontinent Europe
Emoji 🇪🇪
  hex rgb
#0072CE 0, 114, 206
#000000 0, 0, 0
#FFFFFF 255, 255, 255

The Estonian flag consists of three stripes of equal size - blue, black and white in the appropriate order. The unofficial name of the flag is "sinimustvalge", which has no hidden or symbolic meaning, but is a description of the colors that make up the flag - blue, black, white, translated from the Estonian language. The flag was approved on August 7, 1990.

What is the significance of the colors of the Estonian flag?

  • Blue symbolizes the sky, sea and lakes of Estonia, expresses faith and hope in the future of the Estonian people, and is a symbol of loyalty;
  • black reminds us of the dark and suffering past of the Estonian people, the black soil of the homeland. In poetry, black is considered a symbol of love;
  • white symbolizes the Estonian people's desire for education and spirituality, as well as white snow in winter, white nights in summer, and the white bark of Estonian birches.

The history of the Estonian flag

It was on September 29, 1881, when the blue, black and white color combination was adopted at the founding meeting of the Estonian Student Society in Tartu. It was decided that the colors of the flag should express the essence and principles of the Estonian people, convey Estonian nature and weather, and be balanced with each other.
In Soviet times, flying the blue, black, and white flag was a great act of courage, as it was usually a crime to do so. But there were still brave people, and from time to time you could see the national flag again on the roof or at the top of a chimney. The blue, black, and white flag was a symbol of the nation's hope, because then there was a feeling that Estonia was still alive. All that was left was to wait patiently for the right time.

The first public demonstration of the blue, black, and white colors took place on Good Friday, April 7, 1882, by a student Alexander Mitus wearing a blue, black, and white cap. Mityus was captured by German representatives. In the struggle, his hat flew off and was trampled on.
The first flag was made by hand in the spring of 1884 by Paula Hermann, the wife of Dr. Karl August Hermann, an honorary member of the Student Society. The flag was made in Tartu, in the kitchen of the Herrmanns' house on Veskee Street. It was forbidden to fly this flag in Tartu, as Estonia was then under the rule of imperial Russia. Therefore, the flag was consecrated at a semi-secret church service on June 4, 1884, in Otepaa. The last song of the service was "Mu isamaa, mu õnn ja rõõm" ("My native land, my pride and joy", the current national anthem). The chances of openly displaying the Estonian tricolor were limited due to the enmity between the Baltic German and Russian central authorities. Nevertheless, the flag became a favorite image not only of Estonian students, but of the entire nation. The tricolor became politically important during the Russian Revolution of 1905. On the eve of the seventh Estonian Song Festival in 1910, many houses were decorated with national flags until the local authorities demanded that they be removed. At a large Estonian demonstration and parade demanding Estonian autonomy in 1917 in Petrograd (now St. Petersburg), the blue, black, and white flags of Estonian student organizations and soldiers' units were removed. Imperial Russia granted autonomy to Estonia after this demonstration. Subsequently, soldiers and citizens could wear ribbons and tricolors.

On February 24, 1918, Estonia declared its independence under the blue, black, and white flag. On November 21, 1918, the blue, black, and white tricolor became the official flag of the provisional government of the Republic of Estonia. On December 12, 1918, the flag was first hoisted as a national symbol on the Põkk Herman Tower in Tallinn. However, the national symbols of Estonia were forcibly changed to Soviet symbols after the occupation of the country by Soviet troops in 1940. Some people were arrested or sent to Soviet camps where they eventually died, as raising the Estonian flag or even the tricolor was considered a crime. Nevertheless, the colors continued to exist in the free world.
 Tens of thousands of Estonians fled their country in the early fall of 1944 to avoid persecution and deportation by Soviet troops. They founded large communities in Sweden, Canada, the United States, and Australia. Emigrants kept the tricolor and other national symbols and encouraged their use at every opportunity. The centennial of the Estonian flag was celebrated in exile.

After Soviet perestroika, the political movement for reforms of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Estonia experienced a strong awakening of national pride. In 1987 and 1988, this led to massive rallies and open-air concerts where the national tricolor was again openly displayed. The Singing Revolution of the late 1980s and the weakening of Soviet rule in Estonia paved the way for the raising of the blue, black, and white Estonian flag to the top of the Põkk Herman tower on February 24, 1989, on the eve of Estonia's official restoration of independence from the Soviet Union in August 1991.
The fate of the very first Estonian flag was unknown for a long time, until December 26, 1991, when it was pulled out of a chimney on a farm. On July 27, 1943, Karl Aun hid it there along with other relics. On February 24, 1992, the relic was handed over to its rightful owner, the Estonian Student Union.