Željko Heimer held a lecture titled »Historical Origins of Modern Croatian Municipal Flags« on Wednesday 13 March 2018 at the Society »Brotherhood of Croatian Dragon« tribune in the Dragon Tower over the Stone Gates in Zagreb.
The lecture presented historical and, as a rule from them derived, contemporary flags of 24 croatian cities and communities. While the oldest written sources mention city flags in use, e.g. during the Siege of Zadar in 1202, these were, as a rule, not described nor preserved. However, municipal flags of the Adriatic coastal cities appear on maritime navigational charts (portolans) since 14th century. Inlands, flag are known from preserved examples only from the 17th and 19th century, that were made as civic military unit flags, afterwards used as city flags. During the 19th century, flags of various civic societies use city flags as design base, while the election of Croatian parties in Dalmatian cities and communities resulted that the municipal flags were adopted in form of Croatian tricolors with the municipal coat of arms in the center. In the 20th century parts of the modern Croatian territory was left under foreign rule, where some cities gained flags in accordance with the rules and customs of these states. In the second half of the 20th century, under the influence of the socialist ideology, but also the modern graphical design and accelerated urban development, there appear for the first time flags of smaller cities. After the independence and the administrative reform in the Republic of Croatia, majority of cities and communities adopted a coat of arms and a flag. Some who had historical flags – adopted them using those as patterns, while others did not, adopting the flags in accordance with the rules set by the central state authorities. These symbols witness various historical circumstances different local communities had found themselves in during more than eight centuries and on continuity of local symbols, as important part of the national identity.
The lecture is an enlarged version of the paper presented by the author at the 27 International Congress of Vexillology in London 2017.