The history of modern Romania and its flag dates from 1859, when the Danubian Principalities, Moldavia and Wallachia, entered into a personal union under Prince Alexander John Cuza. The personal union was converted into a unitary state in 1862, called the United Principalities of Romania. The Danubian Principalities has long been tributary states of the Ottoman Empire and the United Principalities continued to acknowledge Ottoman suzerainty until declaring independence 1877. In 1881 Romania proclaimed itself a kingdom under Charles of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, a German prince who had replaced Cuza in 1867. The Kingdom of Romania lasted until 1947, when the monarchy was abolished and the country became a communist people’s republic. The communist regime was overthrown in 1989 and since then the country has been styled the Republic of Romania.




Principality of Moldavia


Principality of Wallachia



Wallachia   •  Flags of the 1848 Revolution

United Principalities of Romania  •  National Flag  •  1859-66

Numerous flags and banners are associated with Moldavia and Wallachia; the two shown above were used in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The state and princely flag of Moldavia was a banner of the princely coat of arms, whose principal charge was the head of an ox. Variants of this flag existed, e.g. a naval ensign with the charges in white instead of yellow. The black eagle or raven was long associated with Wallachia, usually being depicted standing on a juniper branch and holding in its beak a two-barred cross. The various raven flags with red, blue and white fields were adapted from the princely arms. The variant depicted above was known to be in used in the eighteenth century.

In 1848 Wallachia rose in revolt against the Ottoman Empire. The provisional revolutionary government adopted a horizontal tricolor of blue, yellow and red. n the yellow stripe appeared the words Justice and Brotherhood in Wallachian and Moldavian characters respectively. Why the colors blue, yellow and red were chosen is not entirely clear but they did figure in the design of past military flags and princely banners. The arrangement of the stripes was later changed from horizontal to vertical. When the two principalities were joined in personal union in 1859 the horizontal tricolor with red uppermost was made the national flag.


National Flag & Civil Ensign  •  1866-1947


Royal Standard  •  1922-47


Standard of Marshal Ion Antonescu  •  1940-45


Ministers of the Government


Transylvania  •  1765-1918


Transylvania  •  Independence Flag  •  1918

The United Principalities of Romania adopted the vertical blue-yellow red tricolor as its national flag in 1866. This flag was retained when Romania became a kingdom in 1881, the new constitution specifying the plain blue-yellow-red tricolor as the national flag and civil ensign. The tricolor with the full achievement of the royal coat of arms on the yellow stripe was specified as the war flag, naval ensign and royal flag. In 1922, however, the royal flag depicted above was adopted; it displayed the lesser royal arms. This coat of arms quarters the arms of Wallachia, Moldavia, Banat-Oltenia and Transylvania with the arms of Dobruja at the point and an escutcheon of the arms of the royal House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. Ministers of the government other than the Minister of War were entitled to display a square tricolor. The standard of the Romanian dictator, Marshal Ion Antonescu, was made in Germany on the occasion of his official visit to that country in 1940.

At the end of the Great War in 1918 the former Austro-Hungarian provinces of Transylvania, Banat and Bukovina and the former Russian province of Bessarabia, all of which had substantial Romanian populations, were annexed by Romania. Many variants of the Romanian tricolor, including the traditional horizontal blue-red yellow flag of Transylvania, appeared at this time. The Transylvanian flag dated from the mid-eighteenth century but was never official, such manifestations of nationalism being outlawed by the Hungarian authorities. Transylvania was briefly independent between October and December 1918 and during that time a horizontal red-green-white flag was apparently used.


People's Republic of Romania  •  National Flag •  1947-51


People's Republic of Romania
National Flag •  1951-65


Socialist Republic of Romania
National Flag •  1965-89


Socialist Republic of Romania  •  Presidential Flag  •  1965-89


Flag of the 1989 Revolution

In 1947 the monarchy was abolished and Romania became a People's Republic. The new state coat of arms, a typical example of communist heraldry, was placed on the yellow stripe of the national flag. The initials of the state appeared on the tricolor ribbon. These arms were amended in 1951 by the addition of a red star for communism and they were changed again in 1965 when the name of the state was changed to the Socialist Republic of Romania. The presidential flag used from 1965 to 1989 was a square, fringed version of the state flag within a white/red frame.

In 1989 widespread unrest led to an uprising against the despotic regime of President Nicolae Ceaușescu. As a gesture of defiance, rebels tore the communist arms from the state flag and this "flag with a hole" became the symbol of the revolution that overthrew the communist regime.




National Flag & Ensign


Presidential Flag


Prime Minister's Flag

Following the 1989 revolution, Romania readopted the plain blue/yellow/red tricolor as its national flag. Because of its similarity to the national flag of Chad there have been proposals to modify the Romanian flag by adding the state coat of arms, which resemble the royal arms used from 1922 to 1947 but so far nothing has come of this. The president and prime minister of the republic have square, fringed standards. Versions without fringe also exist for use at sea.