Friday, October 1, 2010

Åland

Wow, its crazy how fast time flies....before I know it and it's Friday already again....and Im embarrassed to admit that these cards have been waiting in the draft since last Sunday....but I just havent had the time nor have been in the right frame of mind to make posts....well, we'll see how I manage today :)


Well, you know I LOVE flag cards, and the flag of Åland has got to be among my favourite ones. I just LOVE its colours...they make the flag radiate with so much warmth and passion, and the you know that as long there is blue, its already having great chances for me to love it :)


The flag of the Åland Islands (Finnish: Ahvenanmaa, Swedish: Åland) is blue with a red Scandinavian cross fimbriated yellow.
When Finland declared independence from Russia in 1917, the Åland islanders feared for their Swedish language and culture and mobilized for a reunion with Sweden. In the Middle Ages the Åland archipelago was a province of Sweden. Ecclesiastically the islands belonged to the diocese of Abo (Turku) in Finland, and so the province was lost to Russia in 1809. The issue was finally settled by the League of Nations in 1921. The islands were to be a part of Finland, but they were to enjoy autonomy.
However, a flag was not granted until 1954. Unofficially a blue-yellow-blue triband had been in use from 1922. Several versions existed, the dominating one had equal horizontal bands. Another version had a narrower band of yellow - as when the vertical yellow stripe in the cross on the Swedish flag is taken away.
Blue and yellow were naturally the favourite colours, being both the colours of Sweden and the colours of the provincial coat of arms (a golden deer on blue), Therefore, when preparing a design for adoption in the early 1950s, the favoured design was a Scandinavian cross design of a blue field and a yellow and blue cross - that is, the flag of Sweden with an extra blue cross in the middle. This proposal was rejected by the president of Finland as too similar to the Swedish flag. Alternative designs were the old blue-yellow-blue triband, the flag of Finland with an extra yellow cross in the middle, and a design where a red cross was added to the Swedish pattern.

The outcome of the process was the adoption of the blue-yellow- red Scandinavian cross design. This flag was first hoisted on the town hall in the provincial capital Mariehamn 3 April 1954. The red colour was controversial at first, because people felt it lacked a local tradition. However, the colours can be said to come from the provincial coat of arms (blue and yellow - also Sweden's colours) and the colours of the coat of arms of Finland (red and yellow). Also, experts in heraldry have found out that at one point a Swedish king hoisted a flag of exactly the same design.

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