Saturday, January 7, 2012

Italian Flag Day

Original flag of the Cispadane Republic
It was on this day, January 7, in 1797 that the XIV Parliament of the Cispadane Republic voted to make the green-white-red tricolore their official flag. Because of that, January 7 has long been celebrated as the official birthday of the modern Italian flag. The Cispadane Republic was founded in the wake of the conquests of Napoleon Bonaparte in northern Italy and was later merged with the (probably more well-known) Cisalpine Republic which adopted a modified version of the original tricolore similar to the one we know today. It was modified further when the Cisalpine Republic later became the Italian Republic and then the Kingdom of Italy (Napoleonic). The green-white-red tricolore later emerged again as the flag of Italian unity and nationalism during the Risorgimento, carried by the famous Red Shirts of Giuseppe Garibaldi. In 1848 it was officially adopted as the flag of the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia by King Carlo Alberto with the addition of the royal coat of arms of the House of Savoy in the center. Similar versions of the tricolore were adopted by the other regions of Italy before all came to share the same national flag, for the first time, under the Kingdom of Italy of the House of Savoy in 1861. It was retained by both Mussolini's Italian Social Republic and, of course, the modern Italian Republic with the royal Savoy arms removed from the center.

Flag of the Cisalpine Republic
Flag of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy
Flag of the (Savoy) Kingdom of Italy
Flag of the Italian Social Republic
Flag (ensign) of the present Italian Republic

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