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Flag of Denmark

The Flag of Denmark (Danish: Dannebrog Danish pronunciation: [?danb?o?]) is red with a white Scandinavian cross that extends to the edges of the flag; the vertical part of the cross is shifted to the hoist side. On the Danish flag, the cross design, which represents Christianity,[1][2][3] was subsequently adopted by the other Nordic countries; Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland, Aland Islands and the Faroe Islands, as well as the Scottish archipelagos of Shetland and Orkney. During the Danish-Norwegian personal union, Dannebrog ("Danish cloth") was also the flag of Norway and continued to be, with slight modifications, until Norway adopted its current flag in 1821. Dannebrog is the oldest state flag in the world still in use by an independent nation. Danish literature of the 13th and 14th centuries remains quiet about the national flag. Whether the flag has its origins in a divine sign, a banner of a military order, an ecclesiastical banner, or perhaps something entirely different, Danish literature is no help before the early 15th century. However, several coins, seals and images exist, both foreign and domestic, from the 13th to 15th centuries and even earlier, showing flags similar to Dannebrog. In the 19th and early 20th century, these images were used by many Danish historians, with a good flair of nationalism, trying to date the origins of the flag to 1219. However, if one examines the few existing foreign sources about Denmark from the 13th to 15th centuries, it is apparent that, at least from foreign point of view; the nation

l symbol of Denmark was not a red-and-white banner but the royal coat of arms (three blue lions on a golden shield.) This coat of arms remains in use to this day. An obvious place to look for documentation is in the Estonian city of Tallinn, the site of the legendary battle. In Tallinn, a coat-of-arms resembling the flag is found on several buildings and can be traced back to the middle of the 15th century where it appears in the coat-of-arms of the "Die Grosse Gilde", a sort of merchant consortium which greatly influenced the city's development. The symbol later became the coat-of-arms of the city. Efforts to trace it from Estonia back to Denmark have, however, been in vain. The national Coat of Arms of Estonia, three blue lions on a golden shield, is almost identical to the Coat of Arms of Denmark, and its origin can be traced directly back to King Valdemar II and Danish rule in Estonia 1219-1346. [edit]Earliest undisputed link Page 55 verso in the Dutch Gelre Armorial. Displaying the earliest known undisputed coloured image of Dannebrog The earliest source that indisputably links the red flag with a white cross to a Danish King, and to the realm itself, is found in a Dutch armorial, the "Gelre Armorial" (Dutch: Wapenboek Gelre), written between 1340 and 1370 (some sources say 1378 or 1386). Most historians claim that the book was written by Geldre Claes Heinen. The book displays some 1,700 coats-of-arms from all over Europe, in colour. It is now located at the Royal Library of Brussels (the "Bibliotheque royale Albert Ier").