What Does The Croatian Flag Look Like?

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Post author SJ

Written by our local expert SJ

Sarah-Jane has lived in Croatia for 10+ years. SJ, as she is known, has been traveling the Balkans & beyond since 2000. She now shares her passion for traveling with her husband & kids.

The coat of arms on the Croatian flag of the Republic of Croatia consists of one central shield and five smaller shields that form a crown over the central shield. It was adopted in its current form on 21 December 1990.

Balkan Flags_Croatia 2

The main coat of arms is a checkerboard of 13 red and 12 white squares sitting over a blue, red, and white band. The coat of arms is informally known in Croatian as šahovnica.

The five smaller shields represent five different historical regions within Croatia.

The Five Regions On The Croatian Flag

Coa central croatia.png
Croatia proper -The oldest known symbol representing Croatia. The oldest known example is found on the one side of the Croatian Frizatik’s (a form of currency) minted by Andrew II as Duke of Croatia.
Coa dubrovnik.png Dubrovnik region – Coat of arms of Dubrovnik. The original coat of arms is the old coat of arms of Árpád dynasty, granted to the Dubrovnik Republic by King Louis I in 1358.
Coa istria.png
Istria – Coat of arms of Istria. The goat as a symbol of Istria is claimed to be associated with Istria since ancient times. However, the origins of this coat of arms are unclear, and until the 19th century, there was no official symbol of Istria. It was in 1861 when March of Istria became the Crown land in the Austrian Empire that this coat of arms became official.
Coa dalmatia.pngDalmatia – Coat of arms of Dalmatia. Historically, this coat of arms was in use since at least 1the 4th century. First, officially recorded use goes back to King Louis I and his daughter Queen Mary who both used an earlier version of the arms as part of their personal coat of arms. Until 1526 this coat of arms was also used to represent the whole of Croatia.
Coa slavonia.pngSlavonia – Coat of arms of Slavonia. This coat of arms was derived from an earlier version found on Slavonian Banovac coins minted between 1235 and 1384. King Vladislaus II Jagiellon officially granted the coat of arms on December 8, 1496.
Photo Credits Wikipedia (where you can also find out further details)

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Comments (8)

    1. No! Good questions, I’ll be sure to ask my relatives when I am back in Croatia this week. Hmm….

      1. A lot will say that red, white and blue are probabbly standard coulours of Slavic tribes.

        But also those were colours of Croatia regions, and united against threats – here we are with The Flag!!

          1. No, thank you for encouraging people to dare to reply to the great themes of your posts! We’re been challenged!

  1. Excellent!! How appropriate that I am reading this article AS I watch Brazil v Croatia in the first game of the World Cup:).

  2. Actually, it is not certain why exactly those colors were chosen. There were several theories but evidently with lack of evidence that would back up any of those theories – as first, Croatia – Hrvatska, was part of Slavonia (now it is reversed – Slavonia is part of eastern Croatia). Hrvatska (Croatia) of that time had red color as main color (still can be seen as main on national folk costumes /Zagorje, Prigorje, Šestine…) and Slavonia had blue as main color (also can be seen on costumes as well as on county crests and flags. Although was thought that white (in the middle) was considered as color of peace between Hrvatska and Slavonia, evidence of that was never established. What was more confusing, coastal regions were using light yellow color (also described as gold) and that color wasn’t used on flag (not to mention green of Istria).
    More common interpretation is that, as many Slav countries, inherited those colors from original one – Russian (their also isn’t original btw), but in changed order to avoid similarities. It is common knowledge that Russia was huge empire and, as such, many smaller Slaven countries looked at them as example.
    But there are not enough historical information that would confirm that.
    Btw, Russian flag was copied from Netherlands, which had first tricolor flag (9th century).

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