Flag of Montenegro

Flag of Montenegro
Country Montenegro
Population 626,485 (2023)
Area (Km²) 13,450 (2023)
Сontinent Europe
Emoji 🇲🇪
  hex rgb
#C40308 196, 3, 8
#D4AF3A 212, 175, 58
#1D5E91 29, 94, 145
#6D8C3E 109, 140, 62
#B96B29 185, 107, 41

The flag of Montenegro is a red cloth with a gold border around the outline and a gold double-headed eagle in the center. There are two versions of the Montenegrin flag in use: a horizontal version, which is mostly used outdoors, and a vertical version, which is mostly used indoors.

Meaning of the flag of Montenegro

With the exception of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and North Macedonia, all former republics have a tricolor flag with three stripes in blue, white, and red Pan-Slavic color combinations, as in Croatia, Serbia, or Slovenia. Thus, the flag of Montenegro stands out from all other countries in the former Yugoslavia. Even some countries in the Balkans, such as Bulgaria or Romania, use the tricolor.

This difference is mainly due to the fact that Montenegro is a multinational country. A little less than half of the country's inhabitants are Montenegrins, a third proclaim themselves Serbs, and the rest are divided between Croats, Bosnians, and Albanians.

  • Three Christian crosses show the importance of religion;
  • the double-headed eagle is a symbol of ancient Byzantium and some modern Orthodox patriarchates. One head symbolizes the material world and the other the divine. Both heads together symbolize the representative of God on earth; 
  • The lion is a traditional symbol of religious power and reflects Montenegro's history as an ecclesiastical principality.

History of the Montenegrin flag

The flag has always been one of the most important symbols of the state, people, and tribe. Since ancient times, the snake, as an Illyrian totem, has been a symbol of this territory until it was replaced by the Roman eagle. The Byzantines pushed back against it, introducing the double-headed eagle as a symbol of united secular and spiritual power. The Slavic medieval states followed suit, including the Crnojeviches, the last feudal lords of Zeta. The Montenegrins spent a significant part of their struggle for freedom under the rule of Venice, perhaps their only ally in the fight against the Ottoman Empire, so many Montenegrin tribes flew the flag of St. Mark as a symbol of belonging and alliance with the Venetians. However, with the development of the awareness of national liberation and the creation of the first institutions of the modern state, Montenegro began to fly its own flags.

In Montenegro, a banner with a red cross on a white field was introduced as the national flag during the reigns of Bishops Peter I and Peter II. This flag symbolized the theocratic system of government in the country. However, the revolutionary movement of the "Spring of the People" in 1848 led to a change in the national flag. Under the influence of the Pan-Slavic idea and their congress in Prague, Montenegro adopted a tricolor flag - red, blue, and white. This flag became a symbol of civil revolutions and was introduced as a new national flag. As a result, flag bearers appeared, who were part of the army and were valued by the people. The national flag had the symbol of a cross on a spear and was placed on a white field with a red border. Thus, the development of the Montenegrin flag is linked to historical events and the influence of Pan-Slavic ideology.

The Ukrainian Church, represented by Bishop Mykola Negosh, was cautious about Pan-Slavism and its symbols. Negosh did not support the movement, which was led by the Russian Empire and aimed at the subjugation of other Slavic peoples. He was concerned that this movement could lead to a threat to Montenegro's individuality. For this reason, the national flag of Montenegro remains unchanged, but the role of the tricolor is diminished, denoting a general involvement in a political current under Russian control. When Prince Daniel ascends the throne, the state symbols will remain unchanged. The flag with a red cross on a white field will continue to reflect the name "Crusader Army," which dates back to 1854.
In Montenegro, before the Battle of Grahovca in 1858, a new flag with a double-headed eagle was introduced, which became a national and dynastic symbol. Other flags were also used, including the Crusader flag. After independence in 1878, official state symbols were established, including a flag with a double-headed eagle, a military flag with a white cross, and a navy flag with red, blue, and white fields. These official flags were used until 1918. It is important to note that the tricolor flag is not part of Montenegrin tradition and does not reflect its values. The current official flag of Montenegro is a single symbol.