Flag of Albania
The national flag of Albania
Albania , officially known as the Republic of Albania , is a country in Southeastern Europe, in the Balkans region. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea...

Albanian language
Albanian is an Indo-European language spoken by approximately 7.6 million people, primarily in Albania and Kosovo but also in other areas of the Balkans in which there is an Albanian population, including western Macedonia, southern Montenegro, southern Serbia and northwestern Greece...

: Flamuri i Shqipërisë) is a red flag with a silhouette
A silhouette is the image of a person, an object or scene consisting of the outline and a basically featureless interior, with the silhouetted object usually being black. Although the art form has been popular since the mid-18th century, the term “silhouette” was seldom used until the early decades...

d black double-headed eagle
Double-headed eagle
The double-headed eagle is a common symbol in heraldry and vexillology. It is most commonly associated with the Byzantine Empire and the Holy Roman Empire. In Byzantine heraldry, the heads represent the dual sovereignty of the Emperor and/or dominance of the Byzantine Emperors over both East and...

 in the centre. It is the only red and black flag of a recognised sovereign state.

The eagle is the national and ethnic symbol of the Albanians and was used for heraldic
Heraldry is the profession, study, or art of creating, granting, and blazoning arms and ruling on questions of rank or protocol, as exercised by an officer of arms. Heraldry comes from Anglo-Norman herald, from the Germanic compound harja-waldaz, "army commander"...

 purposes during the Middle Ages by a number of Albanian noble families, including the Kastrioti, whose most famous member was George Kastriot Skanderbeg
George Kastrioti Skanderbeg or Gjergj Kastrioti Skënderbeu , widely known as Skanderbeg , was a 15th-century Albanian lord. He was appointed as the governor of the Sanjak of Dibra by the Ottomans in 1440...

. The Kastrioti's coat of arms
Coat of arms
A coat of arms is a unique heraldic design on a shield or escutcheon or on a surcoat or tabard used to cover and protect armour and to identify the wearer. Thus the term is often stated as "coat-armour", because it was anciently displayed on the front of a coat of cloth...

, depicting a double-headed eagle on a red field, became famous when he led a revolt against the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 that resulted in brief independence for some regions of Albania from 1443 to 1478. It is generally thought that the eagle derived from the double-headed eagle of the House of Palaiologos
Palaiologos , often latinized as Palaeologus, was a Byzantine Greek noble family, which produced the last ruling dynasty of the Byzantine Empire. After the Fourth Crusade, members of the family fled to the neighboring Empire of Nicaea, where Michael VIII Palaiologos became co-emperor in 1259,...

, one of the ruling dynasties of the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...


The symbol was re-used by Albanian nationalists during the 19th century as a symbol of their campaign for the country's independence from the Ottoman Empire. On 28 November 1912, the Albanian Declaration of Independence
Albanian Declaration of Independence
The Albanian Declaration of Independence is the declaration of independence of the Albanian Vilayet from the Ottoman Empire. Albania was proclaimed independent in Vlorë on November 28, 1912.-Background:...

 was proclaimed in Vlora and the flag was adopted as the symbol of the new nation.

The flag has gone through a number of changes over the years as different regimes have modified it; for instance, royalist regimes added a crown above the eagle, while the post-war communist regime added a red star
Red star
A red star, five-pointed and filled, is an important ideological and religious symbol which has been used for various purposes, such as: state emblems, flags, monuments, ornaments, and logos.- Symbol of communism :...

 and, briefly, a hammer and sickle
Hammer and sickle
The hammer and sickle is a part of communist symbolism and its usage indicates an association with Communism, a Communist party, or a Communist state. It features a hammer and a sickle overlapping each other. The two tools are symbols of the industrial proletariat and the peasantry; placing them...

. However, the original plain design of the flag was reintroduced on 7 April 1992 after the collapse of the communist government.

Albania's civil ensign
Civil ensign
The civil ensign is the national flag flown by civil ships to denote nationality...

 and naval ensign, both maritime flags are different from the national flag. The civil ensign consists of three horizontal bands of red, black, and red. The naval ensign is similar to the national flag, except that the eagle is on a white field, and the lower portion of the flag has a red stripe. The eagle of the flag of Albania is depicted on the reverse
Obverse and reverse
Obverse and its opposite, reverse, refer to the two flat faces of coins and some other two-sided objects, including paper money, flags , seals, medals, drawings, old master prints and other works of art, and printed fabrics. In this usage, obverse means the front face of the object and reverse...

 of the Albanian 5 lekë
Albanian lek
The lek is the official currency of Albania. It is subdivided into 100 qindarka , although qindarka are no longer issued.-Names:...

 coin, issued in 1995 and 2000.

The flag of Albania is also widely though unofficially flown in Kosovo
Kosovo is a region in southeastern Europe. Part of the Ottoman Empire for more than five centuries, later the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija within Serbia...

 by the country's ethnic Albanian population. It was the symbol of the unrecognised Republic of Kosova
Republic of Kosova
The Republic of Kosova was an secessionist state proclaimed in 1991 by a parallel parliament representing the Albanian population of Kosovo, recognized only by the Republic of Albania...

 during the 1990s. The current independent state of Kosovo uses a different flag
Flag of Kosovo
The flag of the Republic of Kosovo was adopted by the Assembly of Kosovo immediately following the declaration of independence of the Republic of Kosovo from Serbia on 17 February 2008. The flag is the result of an international design competition, organized by the United Nations-backed Kosovo...

 that was designed to avoid any symbols associated with a particular ethnic group.

History of the flag

See also

  • Emblem of Albania
    Emblem of Albania
    The coat of arms of Albania is an adaptation of the flag of Albania. It is based on the seal of Gjergj Kastriot Skanderbeg. The emblem above the head of the two-headed eagle is the helmet of Skanderbeg, surmounted with billy goats' horns....

  • The Tale of the Eagle
    The Tale of the Eagle
    The Tale of the Eagle is an Albanian folk tale that explains how Albania and Albanians received their indigenous name:A youth was hunting in the mountains. An eagle flying above him alighted on top of a crag. The eagle was especially large and had a snake in its beak. After a while, the eagle flew...

  • Religion in Albania
    Religion in Albania
    The most common religions practiced in Albania include Islam and Christianity. There is a strong unifying cultural identity which has been solidified historically by the common experience of struggling to protect their culture in the face of various outside conquerors...

  • List of flags of Kosovo

External links

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