The flag of Monaco is one of the principality's national symbols. The current design of the Principality of Monaco's flag was adopted on April 4th, 1881, during the reign of Prince Charles III. The origin of the design can be traced back to the early 14th century, making it one of the oldest flags in the world. The original flag of Monaco was similar in design to its current flag, but also featured the nation’s coat of arms.
Description and Symbolism of the Flag of Monaco
The description of the flag of Monaco is explicitly outlined in Title I of the Constitution of the Principality of Monaco. The flag has a horizontal rectangular design with a width-to-length ratio of 4:5. Another legally accepted width-to-length ratio is 2:3. The flag is made up of two horizontal stripes of equal size. The top stripe is red, while the bottom stripe is white. Like many national flags, the colors on Monaco's flag are symbolic. Red and white are the traditional colors of the House of Grimaldi, which established the Principality in 1339. These colors are claimed to represent positive human values, as red is believed to represent the flesh of the human body, while white represents purity in spiritual life.
The flag of Monaco is exceptional in its design, and is unlike any other national flag in Europe. However, Monaco's flag is similar to Indonesia's, but differs in terms of its dimensions. The two nations have had disagreement in the past regarding the similarity of the two national flags. Monaco refused to recognize the flag of Indonesia after the country adopted it in 1945, with Monaco demanding that Indonesia changed the colors on its flag. Indonesia refused Monaco's request, arguing that its (Indonesia’s) choice of colors was based on the country’s history, which it claimed predated that of the Principality of Monaco. Indonesia adopted the flag despite resistance from Monaco, and its original design stands to date. The flag of the German state of Hesse also bears resemblance to the flag of the Principality of Monaco. Other flags that are similar in design to Monaco's include the flags of Poland, Germany’s state of Thuringia, and Singapore.
Coat of Arms
Monaco's coat of arms is another national symbol, and its origins dates back to the principality's establishment in the 14th century. The coat of arms features two monks bearing swords who support the fusily, argent and gules. The emblem is surmounted by the crown of the Prince of Monaco. The symbolism of the two monks with swords represents the 1297 Conquest of Monaco, when Grimaldi, the principality’s founder, led his soldiers to capture Monaco while dressed as monks. The fusily, argent and gules on the shield are composed of red and white diamonds, which represents the House of Grimaldi.